Natural pearls are rare, extremely rare and would be very expensive. Today, nearly all pearls sold are cultured, they can be cultivated in sea water or fresh water.Sea water pearls, perfectly round, cream color and lustrous, are higly prized. Mostly found in the seas of Japan.
Consider the famous Japonese Akoya Pearl, grown inside the oyster in cold water over a period of 8 to 24 months. These when finally harvested will become a stunning strand of pearl necklace or earrings.
Less perfect in shape are the fresh water pearls, they won't have the same luster either and are farless expensive. They are on the other hand very durable and perfect choice in designing pearl jewelry.
Sea water pearl is bead nucleated,and the bead nuclei helps as guide and forms a perfectly round pearl. Fresh water pearls is created by introducing a tiny piece of mantle tissue from a mussel,injecting it into the mollusk and returned to its natural habitat.
Characteristics of the pearl with which it is graded are: luster, surface clarity, nacre thickness,color, shape, and size. Pearls are graded against each other, for example South sea pearls are not graded against Akoya pearls.
Luster: is often spoken of when describing pearls, luster is the deep inner glow, the most important factor in evaluating a pearl's quality. Experts consider luster the heart and soul of a pearl.
Surface: refers to the abundance or absence of physical blemishes. The fewer the better, and more expensive.
Color: From silvery white to black and a rainbow of colors inbetween. Color is a personal preference. Color rarely affects the price.
Shape: simply put, the rounderand more spherical, symmetrical the pearl, the more valuable.
Size: measured by their diameter in millimeters. It can as small as one mmandaslarge as twenty mm.
Matching: You know moretimewas spent on matching the pearls when you see 2 or more pearls lookingmore uniform and aesthetically pleasing together. And this time to match pearls is reflected on the cost.
How should you care for your Pearls:
-Never toss them next to or on top of other gems in a jewelry box. Put your pearls in a jewelry pouch.
-Wipe your pearls with soft cloth to slow the process of your pearls loosing their luster due to skin acid absorption.
-Avoid storing your pearls in a safe deposit vault, as dry air can damage them.
-Try not to hold the pearls themselves but handle the clasp instead when putting them on and taking them off.
-Perfume, vinegar,lemon juice, ultrasonic cleaners, dish washing detergents,amonia based cleaner, toothpaste are all bad for pearls. Avoid them.