Many of us now know now that pearls are formed in shellfish such as oysters or mussels. A natural defence against an irritant, (such as a grain of sand) creates a secretion by the mussel (argonite) and layers of nacre, secreted around the irritant build up like onion layers to gradually create the solid pearl. Over the centuries the skills to aid in the cultivation of pearls has been handed down through the generations. The process remains a delicate one. Highly skilled lab attendants cause the the mollusk to produce a pearl by insertion of a foreign body. It takes a few years of growth, depending on the diameter of the pearl required. As early as the 13th Century the Chinese created cultured mabes (blister pearls) by placing tiny objects (such as Buddhas) on the inner wall of the mollusk shell, (see my January 29th post) so they would become covered with pearl material. The full pearl however is created in the flesh (lips) of the oyster (see image below). The iridescent lustre, is referred to as the “Orient of Pearl”. Freshwater pearls are river pearls and Seawater pearls come from the ocean. A South Sea pearl is usually over 10mm. Depending on the sand in the area of cultivation the pearl result is Silvery White – Australia, Golden – Indonesia, and Black – Tahiti, although Australia has seen the beginnings of keshi-like (large black/green pearls) “in the rough” like “baroque” pearls, coming from a region in West Australia. Nearly all colours in freshwater pearls, other than the white, whitish pinks, some blues and creams are all “colour assisted” pearls, which makes them “Cultured Fresh Water Pearls”. A simple way I explain it, is, the irritant is saturated before insertion with a natural colouring agent (such as beetroot or spinach) and the nacre built up after this insertion is colour all the way through. It’s a bit unfortunate actually to see, that some lovely natural colour pearls are painted but these pearls end up having no value. Most stark white pearls are bleached, and although at a distance these pearls look striking, this process causes the once divine lustre to diminish. As a lover of pearls I like the natural baroque pearls best although the almost round have a place in the world for sure and are the most in demand. And sadly it seems the larger the better.
Some of the images below are from my Gemstone “Bibles”, Gemstones of the World – Walter Shcumann and Gem Stones – Cathy Hall
You too could have a lovely pearl cuff like Kylie Gillies was wearing on The Morning Show today. This design just never dates and continues to make a simple outfit just shine with a pop of pearl. Pearl Cuff Bracelets just keep on looking fabulous when you don’t want to wear too many accessories. Here are some images of Kylie and of the bracelet.
I wrote a little article many years ago..and after being asked about the type of pearl we use in the Marissa Peacock Blue earring..I thought I’d like to share it
The mabe or blister pearl is an ancient method of pearl harvesting. The stunning effect created, looks like half a huge pearl. However it is a blister created by the oyster with the help of man (cultured pearling). To form a Mabe or blister pearl, a small base usually a dome or in some instances, tiny figures like the little Buddhas seen below, are placed delicately on the shell of the oyster or muscle or mollusk, rather than within the flesh, as with most spherical pearls. The irritation acts exactly the same as that of the creation of solid pearl. The intruder soon gathers nacre in many layers, (pearl surface). The created nacre looks like a blister. The blisters are painstakingly removed and again delicately placed over a resin support. This cultured pearl dome or Buddha is then backed with a mother of pearl sheath. Voila the Mabe is BORN!
Amounts or weight of sterling silver used in any one pearl earring can shed a light on the amount being asked, for the item, yet in these hard economic times, “the value for money” is getting the “genuine article” for the smallest amount possible. Hard on makers and designers but great for the consumer. Using less and getting more is the mantra for makers now. Compare the thinness or the thickness of the hook of the earring alone, this could (previously) show immediately the generosity of the maker for their products. A good close up picture for the item says it all. Nothing to hide there. A sterling silver and pearl earring can contain a very thin hook (usually with “imported” items) yet still be sterling silver and still have a high price tag. Yet a designer pearl earring from a small jewellery operator can be far more generous and precious and have much more sterling silver “weight” to their pearl and sterling silver earring. The battle continues for quality over cheap and nasty, yet price seems to be the winner.
The missing ingredient for pearl earring purchasers on line is that it is not tangible, and it must solely rely on images to sell the product. Pearls and indeed all jewellery has always been a “touchy- feely” thing, no more, now there is eBay. When you can see great quality from the outset with heavier weights of silver content in each design, then there you will have a winning combination. Here are examples of designer jewellery pearl earrings with sterling silver (using very generous weights of sterling silver and pearl in their products and are starting at remarkably low prices, as they must compete with the imports and copies.
Wanting some gorgeous Julleen designer earrings for incredible prices? visit us on Ebay! We are clearing some discontinued earrings that are pretty lovely, for amazing starting bids to get you in the mood.We now offer two ways of postage. Our Star treatment with Julleen packaging and via Express Post with tracking for $15 or regular no fuss post for $3 in a plain padded envelope. If that doesn’t get you happy to shop we don’t know what will. See you there! (top one below sold out!)
It amazing, even though we say “start your own trends and be original” there is no better feeling than having been copied. They say it’s the best form of flattery. Three years ago we began making a lemon quartz cocktail ring. So popular that we sold out in no time. We saw loads of cheap and nasty copies out there however they could not match the quality of workmanship and design that we do at Julleen. Finally after many requests, this Summer we created even more fruity, and super cool colours for a broader choice. Here they are all grouped together. These are worn on the forefinger (or index finger) and look beautiful any time any where.
Julleen Pearl Jewellery often donates to charitable causes. May 25th 2012, there was a fundraising event held at the Bayswater, by Sera Taylor. The Bayswater is one of Perth’s oldest and most popular hotel venues. Julleen particpated by donating some pearl jewellery for the night and raised a sizeable sum for the evening we are very pleased to say.