The Diamond Gallery has a new collection of pearl jewellery. Freshwater pearls, Akoya pearls and Black Tahitian pearls are being featured this season all starting from $59 in yellow or white gold. Strands of pearls starting from $99 with a gold clasp. Visit our gallery to see the fabulous new designs.
Lisa Malbranck has studied pearl grading at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), and would be happy to help you select the perfect earrings, bracelet or necklace to suit you and yours.
Far below the surface of the sea, nearly half a world away, a miraculous event is taking place — the birth of a cultured pearl. Born from the womb of mother oysters, cultured pearls are truly a gift of nature. Unlike other precious gemstones which are cut and polished to release their inner beauty, cultured pearls come into the world naturally radiant. They emerge miraculously with a shimmering iridescence, lustre and soft inner glow which is unlike any other jewel on earth.
A natural pearl occurs when a foreign object, such as a parasite or bit of broken shell, accidently lodges itself in the soft inner body of an oyster, where it cannot be expelled. The oyster attempts to protect itself by secreting a smooth, hard crystalline substance around the irritant. This substance is often referred to as “nacre.” For as long as the irritant remains, the oyster will continue to secrete layer upon layer of nacre around it. After few years, the irritant has become totally encased. The result is a lovely and lustrous pearl. Nacre is composed of microscopic cystals, aligned perfectly, so that light passing along the axis of one is reflected and refracted by another to produce a warm and inviting glow of light and subtle colour.
The nacre found in cultured pearls is formed by oysters in a nearly identical manner. The only difference is that man surgically implants the irritant — a small, round bead of polished shell, or in the case of a freshwater pearl, a small piece of body tissue from another mussel. Then it is up to the host oyster and Mother Nature to create their miracle.
Since the dawn of man, pearls, with their mysterious glow and shimmering iridescence, have been one of the most highly prized and sought after gems in the world. Once known as the gem of the moon due to its close resemblance to the celestial body, pearls over the ages have come to symbolize the virtues of beauty, purity and love.
Long ago, before man unlocked the secret of coaxing pearls from oysters, pearls were considered such rare and valuable gems that they were reserved for only those of royal status and vast wealth.
Since the advent of pearl culturing at the turn of the twentieth century, pearls are no longer just for the rich and famous. Cultured pearls have become within the reach of all who seek to possess the gem of unique charm and unmatched beauty.
The Diamond Gallery is your best source for cultured pearls. We can explain how to look for the best quality within your budget. Pearls should be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:
- Luster — The combination of surface brilliance and a deep, almost three dimensional glow, the luster of a good-quality pearl should be bright, and not dull. You should be able to see your reflection on the surface of the pearl. Any pearl that appears too chalky or dull indicates low quality.
- Surface — Cleanliness of the pearl’s surface refers to the absence of organic spots, bumps or indentations. Try to avoid pearls with cracks or chips as they will only get larger over time. Look for such damaging blemishes near the drill-hole of a pearl. A pearl that has a cleaner surface generally will be more valuable than a pearl with a more blemished surface.
- Shape — Since cultured pearls are grown by oysters and subject to the whims of Mother Nature, it is rare to find a pearl that is perfectly round. While round pearls command the highest prices, asymmetrical, or baroque pearls have a unique charm at a more moderate price.
- Colour — Cultured pearls occur in colours from white to black, and just about every colour in between. Usually colour is not a true indicator of the pearl quality, though some colours command premium prices. The choice of colour should be determined by the wearer’s personal preference or individual taste.
- Size — Generally the larger the pearl the more valuable it will be. Sizes of cultured pearls range from 1mm for a very tiny Keshi pearl to as large a 24mm for a baroque South Sea cultured pearl. The average size pearl sold around the world is about 7mm.
More delicate than any other gemstone or precious metal, cultured pearls need special care to ensure that they will remain clean, bright and lustrous for generations to come. Cosmetics, perfume and hairspray all contain chemicals that may dull the luster of a pearl is subject to heavy and prolonged exposure. Tips for wear and care:
- Pearls should be put on after the application of makeup, perfume and hairspray. It is always preferable to wipe down your pearls every week with a soft, moist cloth to remove any traces of these harmful elements.
- Cultured pearls should be kept away from hard or sharp jewellry that can scratch them. Pearls are best stored in a soft cloth pouch or a separately lined compartment of a jewellery box.
- Body oils, cosmetics and daily wear can weaken the silk thread on which your pearls are strung. If your pearls are worn often, it is best to have them re-strung at least once a year, making sure there is an individual knot between each pearl.