Pearl
 
 
June Birthstone (natural).   30th Anniversary Representation and Modern Gift; 12th Anniversary Modern Gift; and 3rd Anniversary Gemstone.    The Pearl is unique in that they are found in the water rather than in the ground.    Pearls are organic gems, created when an oyster (or other mollusk) covers a foreign object with beautiful layers of nacre, which is the substance which makes up their shell.   Natural Pearls are nearly 100% calcium carbonate and conchiolin.
 
Pearls have been treasured for their lustrous, creamy texture and subtle iridescent reflections since the creation of man.   Long ago, Pearls were important financial assets, comparable in price to real estate.   Very few matched strands of natural Pearls exist.   Those that do often sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.   In 1917 A.D., the well-known jeweler, Pierre Cartier, purchased his Fifth Avenue mansion (which is now the New York Cartier store) for a matched, double strand of natural pearls that he had been collecting for years, valued at the time at $1 million USD.   King Henry VIII is shown wearing his White Pearl studded vest.
Pearls are unique in the world of colored gemstones since they are the only gemstone formed within a living creature.    A "natural pearl" or "wild pearl" is one that forms without any human intervention, in the wild, and is very rare.   Many hundreds of Pearl oysters or Pearl mussels have to be gathered and opened, and thus killed, in order to find even one wild Pearl.  For many centuries, that was the only way Pearls were obtained.   This was why Pearls fetched such extraordinary prices in the past.   Because natural Pearls are so rare and difficult to recover from the ocean's depths, a technique of culturing salt and freshwater Pearls from mollusks carefully seeded with irritants similar to those produced naturally has been developed.
 
Cultured Pearls are grown and harvested in many parts of the world including the fresh waters of the Tennessee River in the United States.   The majority of cultured Pearls come from Japan, China and the South Pacific.
 
The unique luster of Pearls depends upon the reflection, refraction, and diffraction of light from the translucent layers.   The thinner and more numerous the layers in the Pearl, the finer the luster.   The iridescence that Pearls display is caused by the overlapping of successive layers, which breaks up light falling on the surface.  Cultured Pearls come in many beautiful colors (i.e. gold, yellow, champagne, pink, peach, lavender, gray and black) and hues (i.e. peacock, silver, cream).   Cultured Pearls come in many shapes and sizes and can be acquired in both graduated and uniform strands.   They can be purchased singly or in pairs for rings, pendants and earrings.
 
Due to demand for perfectly matched white Pearl strands, cultured fresh and saltwater Pearls are often bleached to achieve a uniform color.   They may also be polished in tumblers to clean and improve their luster.
 
Dyes, heat treatment, and irradiation are sometimes applied to produce a wide range of hues such as yellow, green, blue, purple, gray, and black in freshwater and Akoya cultured pearls.   Some South Sea cultured Pearls are bleached to lighten their hue, but most South Sea and Tahitian cultured pearls are not subjected to enhancements to create or improve their color.
 
 
Tahitian Pearls
 
The Tahitian Pearl, frequently referred to as Black Tahitian Pearls, are highly valued because of their rarity; the culturing process for them dictates a smaller volume output and they can never be mass produced because, in common with most sea Pearls, the oyster can only be nucleated with one Pearl at a time, while freshwater mussels are capable of multiple Pearl implants.   Before the days of cultured Pearls, Black Pearls were rare and highly valued for the simple reason that White Pearl oysters rarely produced naturally Black Pearls, and Black Pearl oysters rarely produced any natural Pearls at all.    Mary, Queen of Scots, is shown wearing her rope of famous Black Pearls.
 
Since the development of Pearl culture technology, the Black Pearl oyster found in Tahiti and many other Pacific Island areas has been extensively used for producing cultured Pearls.   The rarity of the black cultured Pearl is now a "comparative" issue.   The black cultured Pearl is rare when compared to Chinese freshwater cultured Pearls, and Japanese and Chinese Akoya cultured Pearls, and is more valuable than these Pearls.   However, it is more abundant than the South Sea Pearl, which is more valuable than the black cultured Pearl.   This is simply because the Black Pearl oyster Pinctada margaritifera is far more abundant than the elusive, rare, and larger South Sea Pearl oyster Pinctada maxima, which cannot be found in lagoons, but which must be dived for in a rare number of deep ocean habitats or grown in hatcheries.  In fact, Black Pearls are very rarely black: they are usually shades of green, purple, aubergine, blue, grey, silver or peacock (a mix of several shades, like a peacock's feather).   Black cultured Pearls from the Black Pearl oyster – Pinctada margaritifera – are not South Sea Pearls, although they are often mistakenly described as black South Sea Pearls.   In the absence of an official definition for the Pearl from the black oyster, these Pearls are usually referred to as "Black Tahitian Pearls".
 
 
Keshi Pearls
 
Keshi Pearls, although they often occur by chance, are not considered natural pearls.   They are a by-product of the culturing process, and hence, do not happen without human intervention.   These pearls are quite small; typically a few millimeters in size.   Keshi pearls are produced by many different types of marine mollusks and freshwater mussels in China.
 
Pearls require special care because they contain calcareous crystals that are sensitive to chemicals and acids.   To care for your cultured pearls, avoid using perfume, hairspray, abrasives, solvents, and nail polish removers while wearing them.   Like your skin, cultured pearls contain water and may dehydrate and crack if exposed continuously to arid conditions.
 
 
 
 
GB Jewelers, Inc.
Under the Clock Tower
675 SE Marlin Avenue, Suite 1  /  PO Box 999
Warrenton, OR 97146
800-869-1481

Latitude:  46.159033 / Longitude: -123.9055280
 
 
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Copyright 1974