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Varieties of Cultured Pearls

  • Akoya
  • White South Sea
  • South Sea
  • Freshwater
  • Mabe Pearls
  • Keshi Pearls

Distinguishing fine quality cultured pearls need not be a mystery for consumers. Jewellery Information Center advises consumers to consider several factors that will help them buy the best quality cultured pearls they can afford.

Lustre

The first thing to look for is lustre. Lustre is the brilliant sheen and deep inner glow that gives a pearl its appeal and, most importantly, its value. Pearls that look too dull or chalky are a sure sign of poor quality.

Clean Surface

The second criteria is a clean surface. Since cultured pearls are grown by live oysters, it's rare to find a pearl whose surface is completely free of any type of blemish. Blemishes often appear on the surface of a pearl as bumps, cracks and indentations. The less blemishes on the face of a pearl, the prettier and more valuable it will be.

Shape

The shape of a pearl is equally important. It's difficult for an oyster to produce a perfectly round pearl, so naturally those pearls are rare and quite valuable. However, slightly off-round pearls can appear to be round from a distance of two feet or more and are a perfectly acceptable substitute. Baroque cultured pearls, or irregularly shaped pearls, have a uniquely interesting look in their own right, and can cost a fraction of what one would pay for a perfectly round pearl. Knowing the criteria that determines cultured pearl quality will help shoppers feel confident selecting pearls that will give them the most beauty and best value for their budget and personal styles.

Caring for your Cultured Pearls

Pearls are more fragile and delicate than any other gemstone or metal, they need special care to ensure they will remain clean, bright and lustrous for years to come. There are some elements that may cause harm to your pearls such as cosmetics, perfume, moisturisers and hair spray. Even acids present in the body oils and perspiration may have a damaging effect, however to ensure you get the best use of your pearls here are a few suggestions to preserve their beauty.

  • Pearls should always be put on after application of cosmetics, perfume and hair spray. After they are worn, a soft, damp cloth may be used to wipe them free of any of these harmful elements. Cultured pearls should be washed periodically with mild soap.
  • Pearls must be kept totally separate from hard or sharp objects that could scratch them. They are best to be stored in a soft cloth bag or a separately lined segment of a jewellery box.
  • If pearls are worn regularly cosmetics and body oils can damage the silk or nylon thread the pearls are strung on. Therefore, it is best to have them re-strung every year by your local jeweller to avoid breakage.
  • Ever wondered why pearls are knotted in between? This is in case the silk or nylon thread were to break the pearls would not go rolling across the floor. It also helps in separating the pearls slightly to prevent them from scratching against each other and becoming damaged.

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