A Guide to a Pearls Qualities......(3 x minute read)
The Lustre of a pearl is the most important feature of all:
This is the outside orient of the pearl or the thickness that you can see. The lustre of a pearl will sometimes show an amazing reflection within the pearl layer itself.
Sometimes these lustres appear to have a pinky or silver hue. The lustre of a pearl can also pick up colours of an item that you are wearing or standing near, thus characterising itself to it's owner, creating the conception of "the pearl chooses you" as they say in the pearling world.
The shape of a pearl varies a greatly. The following shapes can be cultivated from a nucleated shell:
Round - perfect round (they can roll effortlesslly across a flat surface)
Oval - has a definite shape and tapered at one end
Teardrop - is pointed or tapered at one end more than the other
Keshi - seedless pearls (non nucleated) and odd shaped but very high in lustre
Button - a round that is flat on one side
Circle - definite circles imprinted on the face of the pearl. One, two or sometimes more circles on each pearl.
Baroque - this is a nucleated pearl that has also the appearance of a Keshi Pearl. This pearl can be examined under a special light to determine whether it carries a bead nucleus to conclude that is in fact a Keshi or Baroque Pearl.
Mabe - This is a different process whereby the "shape" of the pearl is stuck onto the inside of the shell itself, whereby the shell fish will then "coat" the foreign object creating eventually the Mabe Pearl.
The Complexion of a Pearl is the "face" or "surface"....
If a Pearl is flawless it is considered highly valuable however, most pearls, being of an organic nature, can exhibit one or two or sometimes more tiny indentations on their surface. A medium to high grade pearl can have a high lustre but may also appear to have some small imperfections on it's surface. A slightly lower grade pearl may have a low to medium lustre but may not have any indentations at all. In consideration of the above, again the lustre is the most brilliant feature of the Pearl.
The South Sea Pearl or Broome Pearl:
Australian South Sea Pearls are the biggest pearls in the world. They are cultured by inserting a nucleus into the Mother Shell (Mother of Pearl or Pinctada Maxima). It may start it's reproductive life on a pearl farm with a 8mm nucleus which is inserted by a trained technician. This nucleus is made from the Freshwater Muscle Shell. After two years of careful cultivation the size of the pearl will be around 8mm+. If this particular shell is of a high reproductive standard, it will then be used again for another two years with a slightly bigger nucleus; around 10mm, then so on and so on until the shell may produce a 20mm pearl at it's height of reproduction (although this is a very rare size).
The Cultured Freshwater Pearl:
Over the years the Cultured Freshwater Pearl has evolved from a "rice" looking, low lustre pearl to recently, a high grade perfect round, which can command a high price tag almost to that of an Australia South Sea Pearl.
These pearls now feature the sought after "high lustre with the pinky hue", all shapes and sizes, colours, even reaching around 16mm perfect round pearls. One of the best things about these pearls is that they look amazing and don't have the huge price tag of the South Sea Pearls, ultimately meaning that they are fantastic value for money.