If you are looking for jewelry with peculiarity, you cannot avoid pearls. Whether it is pearl earrings, magical pearl necklace, or as a beautiful pearl ring, pearl jewelry is stylish, noble, decorative, and of almost fairy-tale elegance. But How Are Pearls Formed? Let’s find out.
Many legends and stories are tied to pearls, the most precious piece of jewelry. The Greeks believed pearls were dew from the moon; for the Romans, they were the fruit of the goddess of love Venus. The ancient Persians called them the Tears Of The Gods.
How Are Pearls Formed
Mollusks like shells and snails in salt and freshwater have the ability to produce pearls. But only a very few mussels and snails form pearls. Most of these pearl-like structures do not consist of mother-of-pearl, but a porcelain-like, calcareous, often blunt substance that is similar to the material of the shell and snail shell.
Only the pearl oysters of the Pinctada shell species, form pearls made of iridescent mother-of-pearl, which means that the material appears in a different color depending on the incidence of light. The oysters are considered the most famous pearl supplier.
Pearl oysters live on mussel beds near the coast at a depth of 15 to 20 meters. They form pearls to defend themselves against parasites and foreign bodies that enter the animal. But that is just a theory.
But a foreign body alone is not enough for the shell to form a pearl. A decisive factor for the pearl formation is a piece of the mantle tissue called the epithelium, which sits directly under the shell. It has to penetrate the interior of the shell with the foreign body, to trigger the pearl formation.
Only the epithelium causes the penetrated body to be covered with mother-of-pearl layers again and again. The foreign body is thereby killed, and the mussel is no longer threatened by the intruder.
WHAT IS MOTHER OF PEARL?
This fact about the natural way of creation is what makes pearls so special. The pearl is organic and not a man-made or naturally found gem. It consists of the same components as mother-of-pearl, which is also used to make jewelry.
Key components of the mother of pearl are Aragonite (carbonated lime) and Conchin (a substance related to horn).
If a shell tends to form pearls, a more or less round mother-of-pearl structure is formed layer by layer. This process of formation of pearls can take up to seven years.
Shapes and colors of pearls
The surface of the pearl
High-quality pearls have a smooth and perfect surface. If you can see more than just slight growth features, such as dents, scratches, or stains, this drastically reduces the value.
The size of the pearl
The value of a pearl depends largely on its size. Freshwater pearls can grow up to 10 mm. With increasing size, the value increases disproportionately due to the rarity.
The color of the pearl
The color is not a quality characteristic of pearls. Pearls are now available in a whole range of colors that are no less inferior to those with classic white. The available color spectrum ranges from white to cream, apricot, and pink to black.
The color decision depends solely on personal taste. However, white-pink or light cream-colored pearls work best on fair skin and are high in demand.
Many of the pearls found do not meet the expectations or standards. They often resemble a grain of sand, are yellowish to gray and have no shine. There are not many types of shells in which you can find fine, round pearls.
The long development times and the fact that you always have to find the appropriate shells first pushes the prices for natural pearls to exorbitant heights.
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The processing of pearls into jewelry or other valuable objects is just as old as the attraction of pearls to humans. From antiquity to the present day, pearls have been an unbroken status symbol; for a long time, they were reserved for the rich and powerful.
Naturally grown pearls are extremely rare and could only be brought to light by difficult and dangerous pearl fishing. Pearl breeding was the first to enable a broad class to acquire and own jewelry. However, pearls can still be a very expensive affair today.