What are Pearls?

Lido Collection are very passionate about pearls, the way they look and the overall meaning of pearls. Divine in their own way, here at Lido Collection we decided that Pearls deserve a page dedicated to them. Read the following article to find out all about Pearl information, why we love Pearl Jewellery so much, and why Pearl Necklaces and Pearl Earrings are Lido's centrepiece.

What do Pearls mean to Lido?

Pearls have been symbols of love, happiness and good fortune for centuries. Both natural and cultured pearls form when an irritant is embedded in an oyster, clam or mollusc. Prior to the late nineteenth century, all pearl jewellery was made from natural pearls. In 1893 the era of pearl farming was born when Kokichi Mikimoto was first able to induce pearl growth by manually implanting the irritant into the oysters. This first success was a single semi-round pearl.

Types Of Pearls

Akoya Primarily cultivated in Japan and China, these saltwater pearls typically range in size from 6 to 8 millimeters, they can however be grown as small as 2mm or as large as 10mm. Most pearls are white to cream but they can naturally occur in yellow, grey and blue. The Akoya pearl generally takes 6 to 18 months to form. South Seas These saltwater pearls are larger in size than the Akoya, typically 8mm to 18mm and range in colour from white to golden. They are farmed principally in Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines and generally take 24 months to produce the pearl. Tahitian Along with the South Sea pearl, the Tahitian pearl is one of the most prized in the pearl family. They range in colour from white to black to other colours including green and purple. The average size is from 8mm to 14mm. It takes approximately 18 to 20 months to produce a Tahitian pearl. Freshwater Today's freshwater pearls bear little resemblance to the freshwater pearls of a decade ago. The Chinese have developed a pearl that rivals the Akoya pearl. The sizes range from 2mm to 12mm. The freshwater pearl also comes in various other shapes and sizes. The primary sources for freshwater pearls are China and the United States. They are cultured in both saltwater and freshwater. They can take between 1-6 years to grow. Mabe Mabe pearls are blister pearls that have been filled with epoxy resin and glued to a mother-of-pearl backing.

Pearl Values

Size Pearl sizes are stated in millimetres. For round pearls this indicates the diameter of the pearl. If it is another shape such as teardrop then the length, width and depth are usually given. Shape There are three basic shape categories for pearls: Spherical - round or near round, Symmetrical - drop, oval or button, Baroque - which refers to any oddly shaped pearl. Round pearls typically command a higher price. Colour Pearls come in many colours, white, cream, pale peach & shades of pink are the most common natural colours. Many other colours are available by using various methods of dying & irradiation. Lustre Lustre is defined by the light reflections from the surface of the pearl. The more lustrous a pearl the more valuable and beautiful it is. Blemishes Since pearls are a naturally grown gemstone, no two are alike. Natural conditions such as water temperature and pollution impact the smoothness of the surface of the pearl. Some blemishes affect a pearl's appearance & value. Nacre Quality Nacre is the surface layer of the pearl. It is the result of the oyster coating the irritant with a substance that hardens and thickens with each layer. The deeper the layers or nacre, the more lustrous and durable the pearl. Matching Matching refers to the uniformity of appearance of the pearls in a piece of jewellery or strand. The more closely matched the pearls, the more pearls had to be sorted through, and therefore the more expensive the item.

Protection & Care Of Pearls

Pearls are a chemical and organic gem that require specialized care. They can deteriorate if they come into contact with chemicals like household cleaners, perfumes, cosmetics, and hair care products of all kinds. A good rule is that your pearls should be "The last thing you put on when dressing and the first thing you take off when you get home" Never clean pearls in an ultrasonic cleaner & never keep pearls near heaters or in places that get strong sunlight as they will dry out. Periodically wipe pearls with a soft damp cloth. Pearl strands should be stored separately from other jewellery because the pearl's soft surface could easily be scratched by other gems.

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