Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Pearl ~

Pearls have a long and colourful history as sought-after jewels. 

Most are 'cultured' rather than naturally occurring, which means that they have been formed from beads implanted into the shells of living molluscs which then coat them with secretions of nacre

Gem-quality natural pearls, termed 'wild' pearls, are rare and of a different value altogether.

The method of harvesting them does mean that the shellfish who have created them are killed in the process.



Both stands of pearls pictured here are cultured, and the pink strand has probably been dyed.


The beautiful lustre of pearls is soft so care must be taken to prevent them from scratching.  Never wear them with metal chains however harmless they seem, and store them in their own special case or bag.  

Good quality pearls will be strung on a knotted thread which shows the beads off best, and prevents them from rubbing against each other.  

The time-honoured method for testing if pearls are real, be they cultured or wild, is to run them over your front teeth, not that you'd be likely to do that in a jewellers shop though!  If they're plastic, they'll feel smooth, whereas if they're real they will feel very slightly gritty.  True!

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