Pearls - the basics

Different types of pearls

I came across an account on Instagram recently that shows pearls being harvested from their shells. It is truly addictive to watch! Take a look @pearlaura001

 I love the variety that pearls offer and use a range of different types in my work.

Natural Saltwater Pearls

Natural saltwater pearls are the holy grail of pearls and incredibly rare to find and so worth hundreds if not thousands of pounds. Most pearls are therefore "cultured" or "farmed".  Even cultured Saltwater Pearls are more expensive than their freshwater counterparts because the oyster only produces one pearl at a time. 

Cultured Pearls (freshwater and saltwater)

Round Cultured Pearls tend to be what comes to mind when we think of pearls and especially pearl jewellery. I use a variety of these in my work from the more conventional pearl studs to drops and necklaces. They tend to be for those after a more classic look that never goes out of style. They can be a multitude of colours (either naturally or because they have been professionally dyed).

Have a look at my range of pearl jewellery here

Whilst the most valuable pearls are perfectly round because these are the most rare or difficult to farm, pearls can also be other shapes too. I love drop pearls for the softness they can bring to a piece. 

Baroque Pearls have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years and have given the pearl a more modern and desirable positioning. They can be really fun with their irregular and textured form. 

Rice Pearls 

Rice Pearls are named literally because they look like a grain of rice or a piece of puffed rice. They are elongated freshwater pearls. Because they are small, they are often drilled and used as beads. I use them interspaced with gold chain and I think they look great with a really simple t-shirt of layered with other necklaces. I don't use any catches in this space so that the continuity of the design isn't interrupted.

Mother of Pearl  

Mother of Pearl is actually the inner lining of the shell produced by some molluscs. Just like the "nacre" of pearls it has a wonderful iridescent quality. I use Mother of Pearl in my Stellar collection because you can have them cut as round flat discs. 

Black Pearls 

As a lover of the colour black and black jewellery I'm a huge fan of these. The only naturally occurring black pearls are Tahitian Pearls. They are quite rare and so quite expensive to purchase. The more perfect their nacre and their round shape, the higher the price.  As the planet gets warmer, these are becoming even more rare. 

 I do a lot of bespoke work with Pearls so you can choose the size and type that is "you". 

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