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PEARLS 101: A Guide to Nature's Timeless Beauty

Nestled within the depths of the ocean, pearls emerge as one of nature's most exquisite treasures. Defined as organic gems, pearls have captivated generations with their lustrous beauty. In this exploration of pearls, we'll delve into their origins, types, and the art of caring for these delicate gems.

Pearl Chain Drop Earrings

How are pearls made?

Pearls are formed within mollusks when foreign material enters the shell. As a natural defense response, the mollusk will encase the foreign object and over time, this will create a pearl. Ninety-nine percent of pearls are cultured, meaning a pearl sac is manually placed within a shell at a regulated and monitored facility. Natural pearls are much more rare and occur without human intervention. These aquatic organisms, including saltwater oysters and freshwater mollusks, serve as the canvas for these stunning jewels. The host mollusk and environment, alongside varying degrees of hardness ranging from 2.5 to 4.5, contribute to the distinct colors pearls can exhibit.

Types of Pearls

Akoya Pearls: Typically range from 6-7 mm in size, with occasional rare specimens ranging from 3-7 mm or an extraordinary 9-12 mm. Colors span from white to cream with hints of pink or green. Primarily sourced from Japan, China, and Vietnam.

Freshwater Pearls (Spice Pearls): Vary in size from 4-14 mm, with exceptional specimens reaching up to 16 mm. Available in a diverse spectrum of colors, primarily sourced from China, with additional production in Japan and the USA.

South Sea Pearls (Golden Lip): Ranging from 8-16 mm, with exceptional specimens reaching 20 mm. Exhibiting white or golden hues, sourced from Indonesia, Burma, and Thailand.

Tahitian Pearls (Black Pearls): Typically 7-12 mm, with some reaching 16 mm, displaying a captivating array of colors, including gray, green, blue, and purple. Sourced primarily from French Polynesia.

Keshi Pearls: Solid nacre byproducts of cultured pearls, varying in size, with distinctive high luster.

Pearl Drop Necklace

Pearl Grading

The value of pearls is tied to factors such as size, weight, shape, color, luster, surface quality, and nacre thickness. Grading encompasses factors like shape (spherical to baroque), color, and luster, with Akoya pearls having sharp and reflective luster as a unique category.

Care and Cleaning

Caring for these delicate gems requires a gentle touch. Wipe down pearls with a soft cloth, use a slightly damp cloth when needed, and restring them when they begin to move between knots. Store pearls in a soft pouch or lay them flat, avoiding contact with alcohol or bleach. Their delicate nature demands cautious handling to preserve their timeless allure.

In the world of fine jewelry, pearls showcase the harmonious collaboration between nature's wonders and human craftsmanship. When we dive into the depths of pearl knowledge, the beauty and elegance of these gems come into sharper focus, with each type being a unique expression of nature's artistry.


Shop our full Pearl Collection (including our new Pearl Station Necklace!) and discover their timeless luster encapsulated in our unique earring and necklace designs.