Addendum Pearls


Pearly are formed within the shell of certain mollusks. The finest pearls are produced by the Pearl Oyster. The pearl is composed of conchiolin and calcium carbonate that is secreted by the MANTLE (the film of tissue that surrounds the body of a pearl oyster and separates it from the shell), of a mollusk and is deposited as "NACRE" in a very thin concentric layers to surround a foreign particle which has been inserted by man to form a cultured pearl.

Typical lengths and styles are: Graduated (pearls are gradually increasing), Choker (14 to 16"), Princess (18" in length), Matinee (20 to 24"), Opera (28 to 30") and Rope (31 to 40").

Pearls are graded using seven basic components: Color, Luster, Nacre, Thickness, Shape, Blemishes and Uniformity (or make).

Color: Pearls come in a almost infinite variety of hues and shades ranging from pink to fold through green, blue, silver, and black. The most important color for any woman is one that flatters her the most. Rose tones compliment a fair complexion and darker shades are the best for creamy or olive skin tones.

Luster: Ranging from Very High, with bright, sharp reflection, to Very Low, having weak to non-existent reflections. Luster is the appearance of the smooth pearl surface due to the reflection of light striking the surface. Generally, the more coatings of nacre the deeper and more brilliant the luster. The most common luster is "medium", with fairly bright reflections that may not be very clear or distinct.

Nacre: Nacre is the material that is a component of a pearly and of Mother of Pearl. It is the secretion from the MANTLE, that forms the outside of a round pearl and the inside of a Mother of Pearl. Ranging from Very Thick, at least .05mm thick, to Very Thin, .025mm or less on most pearls.

Shape: A pearls shape ranges from all Round, where all pearls are round and drilled "on-center", to Baroque, an irregularly shaped pearl formed by a pearl oyster around an irregularly-shaped intrusion. The most common are Mostly Round, where most pearls look round with minor variations; to slightly off round, where some may be slightly elongated, flattened or drilled off center.

Blemishes: Pearls range from Flawless, which must appear blemish free to the unaided eye, to heavily spotted, those pearls with obvious blemishes on all, or almost all of the pearls. The most common being lightly spotted to spotted.

Uniformity: Ranges from Excellent, when all pearls are uniform in appearance and size, to Poor, when more then 1/3 of the pearls show noticeable variation in size and appearance.