Most people know that pearls come from oysters, but they may not know exactly how they form. Pearls begin to when an irritant such as a piece of sand becomes lodged in the shell of an oyster. The oyster then begins to secrete a semi-translucent substance that surrounds the irritant and eventually forms a pearl.
Natural versus Cultured Pearls
Pearls are classified into two categories depending on their formation. Pearls are either classified as natural or cultured. Natural pearls form when the irritant encounters the oyster naturally and then forms a pearl. However, due to the large amount of pearls that have been harvested for use in necklaces and bracelets, there are not enough naturally occurring pearls to sustain the demand of the industry. As a result, there are now oyster farms where irritants are introduced intentionally and then harvested once the pearl forms.
How to Buy Pearl Jewelry
There are several guidelines to consider when you embark on your search for the perfect pearl. First, you must consider the luster of the pearl. Luster is defined as the sharpness and intensity of the reflections that are on the surface of the pearl. As you look into the pearl, you are looking at the image that appears in the pearl. The closer the image is to a mirror image, the greater the luster of the pearl. The size of the pearl is the next characteristic to consider when you are shopping for pearls. Larger pearls are usually considered ideal for necklaces, and smaller pearls are used in bracelets and earrings. Finally, look at the similarity of the pearls in the completed piece of jewelry. The colors and shapes of the pearls should match as closely as possible in order to create a balanced appearance within the piece.
Before you head to the store to purchase your next set of pearls, take the time to understand the traits that make a pearl a valuable piece of your jewelry collection. Consider the luster, the size, and the similarity of the pearl before making your selection. Look for a balanced piece that will add beauty and flair to your wardrobe with every new selection.