Jewellers of Birmingham - Diamond Engagement Ring and Wedding Ring Specialists

Pearl - June birthstone

Mohs Hardness  3 to 4

Source   French Polynesia, China, Japan, Philippines, Australia

Species   Pearl

Pearl Types  Natural Pearls : Saltwater and freshwater.

Cultured Pearl : Akoya, Tahitian, South Sea, Freshwater

Colour  White, black, grey, yellow, orange, pink, lavender, green & blue.

Natural Saltwater & Freshwater pearls can be almost any body colour, but usually they are white or light yellow, and modified by using a pink, green or blue overtone. Surface lustre varies from dull to nearly metallic, depending on nacre quality. Uneven fracture with dull to pearly fracture lustre.

Cultured Akoya pearls can range from neutral to near-neutral whites and creams with rose or green overtones, but sometimes can be yellow, pink (sometimes dyed) or blue.

Cultured Tahitian pearl colour can range from near-neutral silver, cream or brown to black, grey and blue-green to yellowish green or purple with green, blue or rose overtones.

Cultured South sea pearls can range from near-neutral white, cream or silver to yellow, yellowish orange or blue with green, blue or rose overtones.

Cultured Freshwater pearls colour ranges from neutral to near-neutral greys, whites and creams to yellow, pink and purples with blue or green overtone and orient.

Chemistry  CaCo3 Calcium carbonate and water.

Treatment  Good quality natural pearls are extremely rare and do not require any treatment. Cultured pearls are a natural product which has been produced with man made help.

This is through inserting a shell bead and tissue from the mantle of a pearl into the cell lining of the mollusc. The tissue grows around the bead to form the pearl. Pearls are bleached with hydrogen peroxide to lighten and improve their uniformity of colour. Dye is also used on lower quality natural and cultured pearls this enhances their colour and irradiation treatment produces black grey or blue grey colours.

Cleaning & Care  Never put pearls in a ultrasonic or stem cleaner as high heat can burn cultured pearls or cause discolouration, splitting or cracking. It is advised to wipe cultured pearls with a very soft cloth after each wear. Intense light can cause dehydration and nacre cracking. Many chemicals and all acids will attack pearls, which include hair sprays, perfume, cosmetics and even acid perspiration. Visit us on a yearly basis for a FREE clean and polish service.

Storing Your Pearls  When you are not wearing your pearl jewellery place it in a cloth pouch or in a separate compartment to other gemstone jewellery ( i.e diamond is 10 on the Mohs scale ) and this could easily cause scratches to the surface of your pearls.

Interesting Facts  Pearls are treasures from the Earths streams, rivers, lakes, seas and oceans. They have always embodied the mystery, power and life-sustaining nature of water. In ancient china pearls were believed to guarantee protection from fire and fire breathing dragons. In Europe they symbolised modesty, chastity and purity. Natural pearls can be separated from cultured pearls by taking x-rays to reveal their inner structures. Imitation pearls are smooth when rubbed against your teeth, while natural or cultured pearls have a slightly rough texture.

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