June has three birthstones. Pearl is the most popular. Pearls are the only gemstones made by a living creature. Mollusks produce pearls by depositing layers of calcium carbonate around microscopic irritants, such as a grain of sand that is lodged in their shells.
Created by a Living Animal
Pearls are the only jewels created by a living animal. A natural pearl of value is found in less than 1 in 10,000 wild oysters. All pearl oysters are born male, but then transform into females at three years of age.
There are three main types of saltwater cultured pearls:
- Tahitian, and
- South Sea.
These pearls account for approximately 5% of the global pearl population. Although they share many of the same characteristics, they look vastly different. This is because each pearl is sourced from a different species of oyster.
One pearl at a time is made.
Freshwater pearls account for approximately 95% of the global pearl production. These pearls are much less valuable than saltwater pearls. China produces the overwhelming majority of freshwater pearls in pearl farms. These farms range from a small personal fishpond, to massive lakes filled with millions of mussels. A single freshwater mussel can produce between 30 and 50 pearls at a time.
What to Know About Pearls: Pearls Facts
Even with farming, South Sea pearls are rare. For comparison, diamond production each year is 10 times greater than the annual Australian South Sea pearls harvest. Pearl oysters are used for their shell, known as mother-of-pearl, and their meat. Recently, a 2000 year old pearl was found in Western Australia. “La Peregrina” is one of the most famous pearls in the world. This 500-year-old pearl is pear shaped and the size of a large pigeon’s egg. Its previous owners included a King of Spain, Napoleon Bonaparte and Elizabeth Taylor. In the early days, pearl divers were faced with the threat of shark attacks, and the crippling effects of the bends with every dive. In the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, the mortality rate for divers was 50%. Today, there are strict regulations and protocols regarding industrial diving to reduce these risks.
Here are Joseph’s Jewelry, we have made custom pieces around pearls. With statement rings, brooches, and bracelets, we are able to cater to everyone’s desired look. We carry numerous elegant pieces catering to every budget, and desired style. We are here to help you find your perfect jewelry piece, complete a set, or make a custom jewelry design as unique as you are! We will also repair and restore your jewelry pieces whether or not they were purchased through us. Come in anytime to check out our unique gold and diamond rings, pendants, bracelets, earrings, and watches in stock for a celebration, last-minute gift, or spontaneous surprise.
Everybody knows what a nice strand of pearls looks like! Pearls were a sight of elegance and class portrayed across the silver screen for decades and before! Some pearls are obviously more valuable then others but in the scheme of things all natural pearls are gorgeous! What most people don’t understand is how much work even nowadays goes into producing and harvesting pearls! Regardless pearl jewelry has stood the test of time and are still considered a high fashion piece!
“Akoya cultured pearls have been produced on the eastern shoreline of Australia since approximately 1999 using Pinctada imbricata fucata mollusks native to New South Wales. Unlike many of their Japanese counterparts, Australian akoya cultured pearls are harvested after 18 months of growth and marketed without any post-harvest treatments involving dyes or bleaches.”
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Joseph’s soft pink hue of a pearl exudes elegance. Ranging qualities can give a white, pink, yellow, blue, green, or even black appearance. Josephs Jewelry carries a wide variety of pearl jewelry including fresh water cultured, Tahitian, and Akoya pearls. Although pearls are beautiful, they are also quite delicate. A common saying with Pearl jewelry is “Last piece on, first piece off.” Joseph’s Jewelry is the premier location for Pearls on the Treasure Coast. From custom creations to designer favorites, we can take care of your every need.
Check out our website for more information Pearl jewelry design, and repairs from the Number 1 voted jeweler on the treasure coast.
Freshwater pearls are the “odd man out” of cultured pearling as they are not produced by the oceanic Pinctada family of pearl oysters.
“In fact, they are not produced by an oyster at all. In China, most cultured pearls are farmed in varieties of freshwater mussels such as Hyriopsis and Cristaria. Each shell can produce up to 100 pearls simultaneously. Although originally produced in Japan, over 90% of the world’s freshwater pearls now come from China. Most freshwater cultured pearls are nucleated with pieces of mantle tissue – rather than a round nucleus, which is placed directly into a mussel’s mantle to initiate nacre production. Mantle tissue is shell material that is recycled into the formation of new pearls. As with Akoya pearls, Freshwater pearls are not always marketable for jewelry in their natural state, and require clinical enhancements such as bleaching, coloring, and polishing. Traditionally, most cultured freshwater pearls grow in irregular shapes from near round to oval, between two and five millimeters in length. With improving production techniques, China now produces round white freshwater pearls up to 12 millimeters that compete with Akoya pearls for size and general appeal.
New farming and pearl-enhancement technology has enabled the Chinese to produce more round pearls and a whole new array of colors. Supply is plentiful and quality is highly variable, with the volume of production measured in hundreds and sometimes thousands of tons. Consequently the price of freshwater pearls is much lower than other cultured pearls.”
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