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.