A Short Guide to PearlsEvery woman's must-have
The pearl is probably one the most feminine of all gems. It has been a symbol of elegance and class for hundreds of years.
“Pearls are always appropriate” – Jackie Kennedy
Almost all pearls available on the market are cultured pearls, because natural ones are almost impossible to find nowadays. There are many types of pearls available ranging in value, quality, size, shape and colour. Starting from the most luxurious and expensive, Southsea and Tahitian pearls, to the more affordable Freshwater pearls.
Tahitian pearls have a natural dark hue that is deep, rich and attractive. High quality Tahitian pearls have excellent lustre, which is sometimes so high, that it has a metallic sheen. These dark and mysterious pearls consist of multitudes of overtones from peacock green and silver grey to lavenders and blues. They are cultivated from the black-lipped variety of the Pinctada margaritifera cumingi oyster, which is found in the Tahiti and French Polynesia areas. A gift of Tahitian cultured pearls makes an extraordinary present.
Widely known as the “Queen of Pearls”, the Southeast pearls are the most luxurious type of cultured pearls available on the market. Their smoothness, roundness and beautiful lustre are unmistakable and range in colour from gorgeous golden shades to white and almost silver. They the largest of all pearl varieties and as the name itself indicates, they originate from Southeast Asia, but are also found in Northern Australia. Because of the rarity and sensitivity of this type of oyster, cultivation of these pearls is very difficult, making them more expensive.
They are ideal for statement jewellery (as seen on Grazielle Camilleri).
Akoya pearls are sought after for their round shape and are the most popular among jewellery customers. Cultured off the coast of Japan, they have a brilliant lustre and come in a variety of natural colours ranging from white, pink and cream with rose or ivory overtones. The small size of the Akoya oyster means that it can only produce 1-2 pearls at a time and this limited production increases their value, however they are still the most abundant of the saltwater pearls.
Originally, freshwater pearls were marketed as a lower quality, inexpensive alternative to Akoya pearls and become widely used by jewellery designers around the world. However, since 1990s, a class of freshwater pearls that are round and lustrous emerged, rivalling the Akoya in both quality and value. Cultured in freshwater lakes, ponds and rivers in the Far East, they offer the widest range of options for pearl buyers in size, shape and colour. They have become widely accessible due to their harvesting abilities – each mollusk can produce dozens of pearls, unlike others, which only grow one pearl per shell. For this reason, they are much more affordable.
“A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls” – Coco Chanel