Pearl is the oldest known gem, and, for centuries, it was considered the most valuable. To the ancients, pearls were a symbol of the moon and had magical powers. Pearls have also been symbolized purity and innocence. From all the designations, pearl is known as “Queen of Gems.”
According to the legend, different ancients had different believes in pearl, but with the common impression of precious and majestic. In Latin, word for pearl means “unique”, which attests to the fact that no two pearls are identical. In the Americas, both the Incas and Aztecs prized pearls for their beauty and magical powers. In ancient Rome, pearl jewelry was considered the ultimate status symbol. It was so precious that Julius Caesar passed a law limiting the wearing of pearls only to the ruling class. In the Dark ages of ancient China, knights often wore pearls on the battlefield, believing that the precious gemstones would keep them safe.
Pearls can be found, or cultivated, in freshwater or saltwater and there are several different types of pearl. Cultured freshwater pearls are produced mainly in China and, due to their abundance, they are more affordable than their saltwater cousins. The typical sizes of fresh water pearls range from 2.5 mm to over 13 mm. Saltwater pearls include the Akoya as well as Tahitian pearls. South Sea pearls hail from Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines. The latter is the largest of all the pearl varieties and come in white, cream or golden hues with sizes ranging from 9mm to 20mm. A Tahitian pearl is also known as a black pearl, although its color spectrum also includes grey, blue, green and purple. Akoya pearls are sourced in Japan and its well-known characteristic is the round-shaped. The average sizes are between 2 mm and 10 mm.
“Baroque” is the term described natural irregular shape of pearls. This term applies to both freshwater and saltwater; however, it is more common in freshwater pearls.
Pearls are different from other types of gems as there is no universal standard for grading system. However, there are some main factors for evaluation, such as luster, skin, and surface. However, please note that different types of pearls will need different criteria.
Freshwater pearls and Akoya pearls will be graded into A, AA, and AAA. The ladder for each grade is the luster and surface cleanliness. To grade the South Sea pearls, we are more interested in the surface cleanliness as South Sea pearls are born with higher luster, comparing to Freshwater pearls, and thick nacre (skin of the pearls).
It is very important that you take care of your pearls to ensure they remain bright and beautiful for generations to come.
- Keep it away from cosmetics, sun block, perfume, and hair spray, all contain chemicals can dramatically dull the luster of a pearl.
- Best to put it on at least 30-minutes after applying any personal care products. A good rule of thumb to remember is that pearls should be the last things to put on and the first things to take off.
- Wiping the pearls with a damp, soft cloth after wearing them.
- Always keep your pearls separated from hard jewelry items such as rings or bracelets to prevent them from being scratched.
- Best kept in a soft-cloth pouch or a soft-lined jewelry box.
- Never store your pearls in an airtight environment such a zip lock bag, it will cause them to become brittle and damage the luster.
- Restrung once a year to prevent strand breakage.
- Use 100% organic product for pearl care.