Get cultured about these exquisite, always in style, Valentine’s Day faves.
A stylish array of colors, shapes, sizes, and price tags make cultured pearls the perfect way to accessorize just about any outfit. Stunning strands of pearls are created with a little human help, by placing a bead into an oyster or mussel. After the shell closes, the mollusk slowly covers the bead in nacre, the crystalline substance responsible for a pearl’s iridescence, to protect itself. The value of a particular type of pearl is determined by such factors as luster, nacre, size, lack of surface flaw, and symmetry.
TYPES OF CULTURED PEARLS
|South Sea Pearls||Black Tahitian Pearls||Akoya||Freshwater Pearls||Keshi or Poppy Seed Pearls|
|Origin:||Saltwater oysters from Northern Australia and Southeast Asia||Black-lipped oysters from the warm waters of the South Seas.||Saltwater oysters from China and Japan||Freshwater mussels primarily from China||Salt or fresh water|
|Size:||9 mm to 18 mm||8 mm to 15 mm||3 mm to 10 mm||2 mm to 16 mm||Extremely small and not fully formed|
|Colors:||Silver, gold, and white||Dark hues of black, grey, silver, green, blue, and purple||White or cream with rose, cream, or ivory overtones||Pale shades of white, black, pink, peach, lavender, plum, purple, and tangerine||Various; can be dyed|
|Shapes:||Round, near round and button||All||Round, semi-round, baroque, drop||Oval, button, and baroque—but rarely round or semi-round||Various|
|Cost:||$10,000 to $30,000||$8,000 to $25,000||$800 to $5,000||$100 to $500||$25 to $200|
|Pearl of Wisdom:||The most expensive pearl on the market due to its rarity and luster.||The only type of pearl to achieve its black color naturally||Used in the classic white pearl necklace, these typically have the greatest shine and highest luster of all cultured pearls||Not as lustrous as other types, they offer the widest range of options for pearl buyers in terms of size, shape, and color||Typically used in commercial and fashion jewelry, they are formed when the oyster rejects and spits out the implanted nucleus material before culturing is complete.|
*Prices noted are for a 16- to 18-inch necklace