Pearls - always a classic - is enjoying a new found popularity. You may have noticed young stylish women wearing them in all varieties - long, short, mixed with gold or silver chain or links, white or colorful. That is a sure sign they are not just for stately, mature women any more. Beads of all colors and varieties have been revived but pearls are now and have always been the "Queen of Beads".
Unlike diamonds, the value of a pearl is based largely on its size, usually stated in millimeters, and the quality of its nacre - the coating that gives it luster. Pearls are also graded on how well the strand matches, drilling, how round they are and how few blemishes they have. Pearls are the only gem that comes from living sea creatures: they require no faceting or polishing to reveal their natural beauty. Pearls are typically bleached in hydrogen peroxide to remove dirt and stains.
There are several types of pearls. Natural or "real" pearls are made by mollusks, while cultured pearls are also grown by mollusks, but with human intervention (an irritant is introduced into the shell to make the pearl grow). Natural pearls are very rare; since the 1920's, most pearls used in jewelry are either cultured or imitation, so it pays to know precisely what you are buying. To the untrained eye, the difference between real and faux can be indistinguishable, but the discrepancies in price and value are anything but subtle. There are Akoya pearls (also called salt water cultured pearls) and fresh water cultured pearls. Pearls come in a variety of colors as well: pink, yellow, black, brown, gray, etc. and in nature, pearls get their color from the shell in which they grow. Pearls can also be dyed different colors but natural colors have greater value. At Laney’s, we’d be happy to explain and show these differences to you and to assist you in choosing the best pearls to suit your personal taste and budget.
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Thanksgiving through Christmas
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5121 Center Street, Suite 103
Williamsburg, VA 23188