South sea pearls are exceptionally rare and are known for their large size, magnificent luster and unusual colors. It can take years to produce one gem quality pearl. Problems due to climate change, natural disasters, and chemical spills can destroy years of cultivated pearls in the ocean.
Pearl Origin and Color:
These special pearls are only found in Australia, Polynesia and Indonesia. Each location has a very large mollusk (or oyster). In Australia and Indonesia it is called the Pinctada Maxima and in Polynesia the Pinctada Margaritifera. The white to silvery white pearls come from the Australian white lipped mollusk; the grey, black, and silver with peacock green and purple over-tones come from the Polynesian black lipped mollusk; and the golden to orangey/gold pearls come from the Indonesian golden lipped mollusk.
Pearl Size and Shape:
The size of South Sea pearls ranges from 9.00mm upwards to 20.00mm and possibly larger! Most necklaces are graduated, with larger pearls in the front graduating to smaller pearls towards the back. This is because larger pearls are more expensive due to their rarity, and the smaller pearls will keep the cost of a piece lower. Because it can take years to match pearls of the same color, size, luster, and shape, uniform size necklaces are very rare and extremely expensive. Shape can also be a deciding factor on price. Baroque pearls, or pearls that are not round, can cost less then the perfectly round ones.
Pearl nacre, the shiny beautiful skin of the pearl, is very soft, and can be easily damaged if not cared for properly. Pearls should be the last thing you put on before you go out, and the first thing you put away when you return home. Keeping your pearls away from chemicals such as perfume, hair spray, and lotions will help keep your pearls looking beautiful for years to come. So, please wait 20 minutes after applying your body lotion and perfume before putting on your pearls.
The best way to clean your pearls is to take a damp wash cloth and gently wipe them, that’s it! Also, store your pearls alone, without other jewels that may scratch them, in a soft pouch or pearl folder. If you wear your pearls all the time, it is a good idea to have them re-strung every six months, and if you don’t wear them often, once a year.
Pearls are timeless and elegant, can be worn day or night, and are perfect for any occasion!
By: Hope G. Meyer, Graduate Gemologist http://hgmjewelry.com