Pearls are organic in origin, making them different from most other gemstones. They are formed inside the shells of marine and freshwater molluscan bivalves. On the Mohs scale of hardness, they have a value of 2.5-4.5.
TYPES OF PEARLS:
Freshwater pearls are cultivated in freshwater farms. Freshwater pearls come in a variety of sizes and shapes (round, oval, baroque). Freshwater pearls are usually pure white.
Akoya pearls can be found in China, Vietnam and Japan. They grow to a size of 5-9 mm depending on the water temperature. Akoya pearls tend to be pure white with warm highlights. They are round.
Tahitian pearls come from French Polynesia, where they are cultivated by a special kind of oyster. Tahitian pearls are dark grey-green with a metallic lustre and are round.
South Sea pearls are found in Australia, Myanmar and Indonesia. These pearls are white to honey gold and rarely also have a pink, green or blue tinge. They range in size from 10-20 mm and are round.
VALUE: The value of pearls is based on how regular their shape is (except for baroque pearls), their lustre, the smoothness of their surface, as well as their size. The surface and lustre of a pearl ranges from AAA to B, with AAA being the highest quality. The price also increases with size (the size is listed as the diameter of the pearl in mm).
CARE: Pearl jewellery benefits from contact with the skin, so frequent wear is desirable however their surface is very delicate. Avoid contact with cosmetic products (perfumes, hairsprays and creams). Don’t wear them to the pool, sauna or sea and clean them with a soft, damp cloth.