They say that diamond is a girl’s best friend but what about pearls? They are just as pretty and are considerably lighter for the pocket. A pearl earring looks so elegant and classy when paired up with the perfect outfit. According to me, pearl earrings can be little tougher to work with but when you find that perfect dress that goes with your pair of gorgeous pearls, nothing can compete with that. That elegant piece of thing reminds you of so much. Maybe it was your mother’s or even your grandmother’s, maybe you don’t wear it anymore, but you definitely should.
Most people seem to know about the fact that pearls come from the sea, but a relatively less number of people happen to know that pearls are found in shapes other than round and colours other than white or cream. There are so many types of pearls that can be used for making earrings:
Natural pearls: These pearls are naturally made by the oyster itself; no chemical is induced and the process is left to run in its natural course.
Cultured pearls: These pearls are not made by the natural process; usually a small amount of irritant is inserted in the shells and they are then opened after an advised period of time.
Imitation pearls: These pearls, as the name suggests, are not actually pearls. They are usually made of either glass or plastic and are cheaper in price compared to the other kinds. As they are not naturally formed they can be made of any size and shape.
Freshwater pearls: This is the most affordable type of pearl that is available in the market, they usually come in shades of white and are mostly pastel, and it has a relatively softer lustre. An average freshwater pearl can range from 5 mm to 20 mm.
Akoya pearls: Found in Japan this kind of pearl is the oldest kind of pearl and has been around for centuries. They have a perfectly round shape and a high lustre. Silver blue, gold is the colours that are common in this range.
South Sea pearls: These kinds of pearls are the largest saltwater pearls that are harvested today. They have a majestic shape and are perfectly round, colours range from shades of gold to white.
Tahitian pearls: These dark and exotic pearls are also known as black pearl as they come in a blackish green colour. Unlike the other kind of pearls, these have various shapes from round, oval, drops etc. The size usually ranges from 8 mm to 15 mm.
You really cannot choose the one type of pearl that is best from the list. Each variety of pearls has its own pros and each looks stunning than another. They come in so many sizes and shape that finding the perfect match for you won’t be a herculean task. Also, they vary greatly in price such as a Tahitian pearl or a black pearl is much costlier than a cultured pearl; whatever your budget is there is a pearl for you.
How are pearls cultured for earrings?
Pearl has been used for centuries by both men and women to adore them. For the first half, pearls were rare and expensive so only the richest of the rich and royals wore these, the common man could never afford a pearl. But now with the advancement of science pearls are not kept so rare. Man is an impatient creature and thus it also made ways to produce more pearls in lesser time. A pearl merchant puts a small amount of irritant inside the shell of the oyster and sends it back to the water. After waiting for a prescribed amount of time it is taken out and pearls are formed inside. Man cannot force an oyster to produce pearls and thus this artificial method helps to make more pearls making it more affordable for the common man. Contrary to popular belief cultured pearls are just as beautiful and they are natural as at the end of the day the pearl is still produced by the oyster.
Pearls are the perfect gift because it is harvested around the world. Unlike diamond, it is soft and susceptible to the elements and thus pearls make such a wonderful gift. Unlike any piece of jewellery that can be tossed in a jewellery box, a pearl needs extra care to retain its shape and not getting chipped.
Here are some basic guidelines that will help you to take care of the pearls of your earring.
- It should be stored in a cloth or a box.
- It should not be stored with other gems as it might get scratches.
- Avoid your pearls from coming in contact with any perfume.
- Do not submerge it in detergent water.
- Use a damp cloth to clean your pearls.
- You cannot use ultrasonic or stem to clean your pearls as they are very heat sensitive.
- Do not use toothbrushes to clean a pearl.
- Don’t use any cleaners with vinegar ammonia or chlorine in it
- Don’t store your pearls away for long, regular wear will improve its lustre.
How to choose the right pearl earring for yourself?
Quality: There are so many kinds of pearls that can be chosen from; often we don’t realise that not all pearls are made the same and their prices will vary accordingly. There can be four types of pearls, A grade, B grade, C grade and D grade. While A grade pearls have minor amounts of defects a D grade pearl will have over 60% defect. It can also have a minor scar on its body.
Colours: The most common type of pearls is off-white or white. Pink, blue, silver, black can also be found.
Lustre: The most important feature in a pearl is its lustre. Higher the reflective index of the pearl higher will be the lustre of the pearl. The lustre of the pearl can fade out with time if not taken care of well.
Shape: The shape of pearls differs, from oval to round to other weird shapes pearls can be found in so many forms.
Size: The size of the pearl differs; usually freshwater pearls are smaller in size while South Sea pearls can reach up to 20.00 mm.
Similarity: While looking for pearls look for similar ones, even the slightest difference can make a huge difference. Closely matched pearls will be of a higher price.
Pearls can be used in various jewellery items; necklaces, earrings, bracelets etc can be made from pearls. One of the most common forms pearl jewellery is pearl earrings. Pearl earrings look classy and gorgeous with dark coloured clothes and make a fashion statement. The best thing about pearls is that it can be paired with any material, from gold, diamond to silver, pearls will match all and any material. Due to its soft surface, it can be easily attached to gold silver and platinum.
As pearls are found in many shapes and sizes a lot of intricate as well as bold patterns can be achieved with this element. Kundan is one such example where different sizes of pearls are used to achieve intricate designs. Different types of pearls can be mixed and matched to get different and totally unique results.
Silver is one of the most common elements used with pearl. The silver colour complements the whitish piece of gem. It also looks really good with platinum pieces. A pearl if taken proper care of can last years without cracks or discolouration and can be handed down generation to generation.
Earrings themselves come in so many designs; some of the most common ones are mentioned below:
Traditional: These are your traditional and widely worn designs with a conical oval top consisting of a round base with usually a dangling piece of pearl.
Crescent: With a relatively new design these earrings have taken the market by storm. They consist of a crescent-shaped piece and a round piece on top, the pearls usually placed at the end of the crescent-shaped pearl.
Stud: These consist of a very less number of stones (usually one) and they basically sit on the earlobe.
Hoops: These are circular or semi-circular in design. It generally looks like a ring that can be opened from one end and slipped on.
Drop: It is usually attached to an earlobe and a chain hangs from it.
Dangle: It is designed to flow from the bottom of the earlobe.
Different women have different preferences when it comes to earrings. A 7.00 to 8.00 mm pearls are the epitome of classic earrings; of course, you can choose something a little bigger or smaller if you wish to. A 6 mm pearl is best-suited to be the main stone for the earring while a 5 mm pearl can be the secondary stone of the earring.
A pearl earring can have various price indexes. It depends upon the base material used to make the earring and most importantly what kind of pearl is used during the making of these earrings. A golden based earring will be costlier than silver based one and freshwater pearl will cost more than a south sea pearl.
The colours of pearls you can have in your earrings:
White pearls: These are the most commonly found classic pearl; sometimes the shades of pearls vary from champaign colours to shades of silver. You can find such colours in almost every type of pearl.
Natural white Akoya: These are the kind of pearls that originally come in a white colour; no bleaching or any form of chemical treatment is done to them.
Black pearl: The second most common type of pearl is the Tahitian pearl or the black pearl; these pearls usually come in greenish black colours.
Golden pearls: These pearls have a golden undertone to them that adds an element of richness to them. South Sea pearl usually has such warm undertone to them and these pearls are usually larger in size.
Pink and lavender: These colours usually occur in freshwater pearls. These subtle shades are usually not a result of bleaching. These colours do not fade or chip.
Chocolate pearls: Natural chocolate pearls are usually very rare but their demands have been high in the recent times, so the pearl merchants use two hues of dyes to achieve this colour.
How to choose an authentic pearl earring?
- Real pearls can never chip or fade in colour so if you see your pearls losing their lustre then your pearls are not authentic.
- No two natural pearls will be exactly identical; if pearl earrings are real then one will have a slight difference from the other.
- Natural pearls are much cooler in temperature than faux pearls.
- Look at your pearls under natural light; natural pearls will appear more glowing and shiny.
- The best way to determine the authenticity of a pearl is by rubbing it on your tooth. If you feel a slightly gritty texture your pearls are original. If it is feeling quite smooth, it is probably a fake one.
- Real pearls usually come in a knotted thread to protect them from friction.
Finally, choose the colour of the pearl according to the colour of your skin; while white pearls are universally flattering, other shades like green or lavender can be a little tricky to pull off. A pearl has to match your skin and your natural undertones. If you have a warm undertone go for shades of gold and if you have a cooler undertone pink and lavender pearls will complement you the best. These beauties will last you a lifetime if taken proper care of and investing in them is really a good idea as unlike gold their prices rarely fluctuate. So next time you see one of these you go ahead and buy one. With the best care hopefully, even your next generation will be able to enjoy your buy.