Pearls of wisdom

With the introduction of our exciting new range of

freshwater pearl jewellery

 at

Designed to Sparkle

, I wanted to explore the world of pearls and share this with you. On my journey I have certainly picked up a few pearls of wisdom along the way and hope that you too find out a few things that you never knew about pearls!

Selene freshwater pearl pendant necklace

As with all of my blog posts I have create a

Pinterest

board to share my favourite pearly things with you,

'Pearls of Wisdom'

.

Pearls to me are synonymous with style and elegance, with beauty and luxury. Pearls are timeless; from Coco Chanel’s signature pearls

Coco Chanel wearing her signature Pearls

To the iconic pearls worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Audrey Hepburn wearing pearls in Breakfast at Tiffany's

And the elegant double strand of pearls often worn by Jackie Kennedy.

Jackie Kennedy in her often worn double strand of pearls

To more modern day jewellery such as the pearl earrings often worn by the beautifully stylish Duchess of Cambridge,

Duchess of Cambridge wearing beautiful pearl drop earrings

and the stunning contemporary pearl jewellery made by big names such as Chanel and Bulgari

Bulgari Pearl and Sapphire flower ring in 18ct gold

These beautiful moon like jewels span the ages and are as stylish now as they were many years ago. Buying a piece of pearl jewellery is an investment that will keep paying back for years to come.

When searching for pearl jewellery the world is your oyster (if you will pardon the non-intentional pun…!) A good place to start is to understand the different types of pearls and their price range - which is vastly different from one type to the next!

Natural pearls

These are the most expensive and also most rare type of pearl because so many oysters have to be caught in order to find just a single pearl.

Created naturally (as the name suggests!) by an oyster in saltwater when an irritant enters their shell, the oyster coats the foreign body (often a grain of grit or sand) building up layer upon layer of beautiful nacre to create the well-known lustre of a pearl.

Found mainly in the Persian Gulf, most of the oysters producing natural pearls have been over harvested leaving very few left to find.

The natural pearls available to buy today are often set in antique jewellery and normally come with a hefty price tag to match their rarity.

A prime example is a double strand of natural pearls collected by the famous Jeweller Pierre Cartier. Worth over $1 million dollars back in 1917 (approx. $23 million in 2013), the strands of pearls plus $100 cash were exchanged with Mr Morton F. Plant for his Fifth Avenue mansion as a gift to his wife Maisie. At this time strings of natural pearls were seen as a statement of wealth and social standing. The converted mansion is still to this day the flagship New York Cartier store.

Cartier Fifth Avenue store as it still stands today

South Sea or Tahitian pearls

These pearls are also found in saltwater, but the oysters which produce them are carefully farmed or cultivated rather than harvested in the wild.

Although they are cultivated, these pearls still command a high price tag due to the exquisite range of colours which are naturally created as they grow.

Stunning South Sea Pearl Pendant worth £650

Freshwater pearls

These are the pearls that most people know, and are also the most popular for modern jewellery. For many people if they think wedding jewellery, they think freshwater pearls.

FreshwaterPearls.jpg

Beautiful freshwater pearls

Grown in freshwater mussels, these beautiful pearls are carefully cultivated to produce the wonderful lustre and shine that we all know and love.

Often more than one pearl is produced per shell making their price much more accessible to many more people to buy.

Freshwater pearl Candra necklace £60

Available in colours ranging from pastel pinks and peaches through to rich plum, the most popular colours still remain the cream and white shades.

Synthetic pearls

The final type of pearl are those that are purely man-made and created to resemble real pearls. These are popular in modern jewellery for many reasons, the most common being the price, the uniformity of shape, and the colours that they can be created in.

Even with synthetic pearls there is a price range; directly dictated by the quality and durability. 

Crystal pearls:

A crystal is used as the centre seed of the pearl and powder layers are carefully built up to create a uniform shape with a beautiful lustre just like a real pearl. These pearls are very hardwearing due to the process used to create them and can be made in a wide variety of colours.

Crystal pearls are made by Swarovski who have a patented technique for creating the beautiful coating around their world famous Swarovski crystal core.

Cordelia Swarovski pearl and Swarovski crystal necklace

Glass pearls

Created in a similar way to crystal pearls except a glass centre seed is used. The coating is less hardwearing than crystal pearls, but the range of colours is just as wide, and the price is lower again.

Plastic pearls

The cheapest of all types of 'pearl', these are the least durable, but widely used in fashion jewellery.

Even plastic pearls have their place ;-)

From famous auction houses and Royal Weddings, to your own Wedding day or special occasion, pearls in their many shapes, sizes and types remain an elegant firm favourite of many.

Why not browse our range of

Swarovski Pearl

and

Freshwater Pearl

jewellery to add that final sparkle and shine to your day!

With love

Fiona

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