Pearls are one of the most loved gemstones of all time whether natural or cultured. The natural pearl forms around a microscopic irritant within the mollusk. Cultured pearls form from the deliberate insertion of an irritant the mollusk and it coats it in nacre.
The most familiar color of a pearl is white and cream. Black, gray, and silver are also fairly common. But the palette of colors comes in almost every hue. The main body or body color is often modified by additional colors called overtones, typically pink, purple, green or blue. Some pearls show the iridescent phenomenon known as Orient.
Larger pearls with unusual shapes are usually used in creative designer jewelry.
There are four types of cultured pearls
- Akoya—This type is most familiar to many jewelry customers. Japan and China both produce saltwater Akoya cultured pearls.
- South Sea—Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines are leading sources of these saltwater cultured pearls.
- Tahitian—Cultivated primarily around the islands of French Polynesia (the most familiar of these is Tahiti), these saltwater cultured pearls usually range from white to black.
- Freshwater—These are usually cultured in freshwater lakes and ponds. They’re produced in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colors. China and the US are the leading sources
In 2206 BC a historian writes about pearls for the first time.
In 1917 Pierre Cartier traded a double strand of natural pearls for a mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York.
In 1893 Mikimoto successfully cultures a pearl. Pearls with a high luster have a sharp bright reflection on the surface. The number of blemishes is evaluated to judge the quality of the pearl. Spherical pearls are the most valuable but symmetrical pearls are also sought. White is the most classic, but there has been increased interest in the colored pearls. For a strand of pearls how well matched the pearls are affect the value of the strand. Round is the most difficult shape to culture.
. Melo Melo pearls are orange to tan to brown in color (with orange the choicest shade) and are found in the South China Sea and west to the Andaman Sea off the coast of Burma. The rarity and exclusivity of the Melo-Melo colors in the field of gem pearls enhances their value, as well as their exotic allure. The prices for these pearls is staggering, but this is a stunning gemstone.