Pearls - June Birthstone

Pearls - June Birthstone
I would like to devote this issue to pearls, the birthstone for June and the traditional gift for the bride.

Pearl is an organic gemstone. Ornamental materials produced by biological processes, whether animal or vegetable, come under the heading of “organic” gems. There are four main “organic” materials normally regarded as distinct from precious stones but considered alongside these more prestigious “precious stones” because of their appearance. These materials are pearl, coral, ivory and amber.

Pearls form when a foreign body such as a grain of sand or parasite finds its way into the mollusk. The mollusk deposits layer after layer of pearl over it to protect it from the intruder. Even freshwater mollusks form pearls but they are generally less valuable.

Cultured pearls or the cultivation of pearls, which now accounts for the vast majority of pearls issued on the market each year, involves introducing mother-of-pearl beads into the tissues of certain types of mollusks, which deposit concentric layers of nacre around the foreign body. Australian or “South Sea” cultured pearls are worth much more than others partly because of their size (10 millimeters or larger) and their thick layer of nacre. These are also called “Tahitian” or “Black” pearls.

Another type of cultured pearl is the non-nucleated cultured pearl. In this case the pearl produced has no artificial nucleus inside, but only the small cavity left after the fragment of tissue grafted from another mollusk has decomposed. These pearls are very small and resemble a chubby grain of rice. They are known as “freshwater, rice or biwa” pearls (named after Lake Biwa in Japan where they were originally produced.

The value of pearls is based on luster- the single most important factor created by light traveling deep into the pearl’s layers of nacre resulting in an exquisite display of iridescence. Complexion refers to the flawlessness of the pearls surface. Size refers to the actual millimeter size and in the case of a strand the “uniformity” of the size is the determining factor in value. Color is determined by nature and the colors of the “mother-of-pearl” oyster in which it forms. Pearl colors range through the full spectrum of the rainbow.

The typical strand of pearls suitable for the bride would be a 16” to 18” uniform or graduated strand with white, pink or silver colors. Our knowledgeable staff at Rakhman’s can show you an excellent assortment of cultured pearl jewelry as well as loose “South Sea” pearls and unique faceted pearls.

In caring for your pearl jewelry occasionally clean them gently with a soft cloth dipped in alcohol diluted with warm water or in mild soapy water. Rinse the cloth and wipe the pearls clean. Dry them with a soft cloth. Do not put on your pearl jewelry until after applying makeup and hairspray.

3165 S. Alma School Rd., Suite 21 Chandler, AZ 85248 Phone : 480-857-9707
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