Fashion is a constant never-ending cycle. So does this mean pearls have made their way back or did they ever really go away? Known as ‘the world’s oldest gem’, pearls have been around for more than 4,000 years. Taking an active role in history.
These gems are mentioned in many cultures throughout time. They are an accidental beauty. Being formed by a lodged piece of shell, or other matter, in an oyster. The oyster then protects itself from the foreign object by building a layer of a hard crystalline substance around it, known as nacre. Time and layers of nacre soon transform the foreign object into a beautiful pearl.
By the early 1900’s, a Japanese entrepreneur by the name of Kokichi Mikimoto picked up on this natural process and created the world’s first cultured pearl. Pearl cultivation has made pearls more available. Man becomes nature by placing the small irritant inside the oyster which begins the formation of a pearl. Few nucleated oysters produce a fine-quality cultured pearl.
Many things can go wrong limiting their survival, and not all that survive are able to produce a marketable pearl. Once harvested the quality pearls must be sorted through and then prepared to be made into a fine piece of jewelry.
Finding ones of the exact size, shape, and color to pair together is a tedious process. If not drilled with exact precision, a pearl will crack and no longer be of any value.Only the most talented and experienced can create a beautiful strand of pearls for a necklace. Even with the process of cultivation pearls are still rare. Natural, beautiful process making their popularity understandable.
Classic Pearl Necklace
By the 1990’s, pearls had become a bit outdated. Commonly referred to as ‘your Grandmother’s jewelry’. But with saggy jeans and belly button rings, I wouldn’t consider this fashion era one of America’s finest. If they were gone, we can thank our lovely first lady Michelle Obama for bringing them back. This 21st-century style diva displays her “pearl glam” with a modern twist.
Pearls are her signature and like everything else about her. She carries them with utmost elegance. Angelina Jolie, Rhianna, Katherine Heigl and Jennifer Lopez are other celebs that can all be spotted on the red carpet sporting their pearl pieces. Even Coco Channel was hip to the power of pearls. She never left the house without them. Everyday wear is one of the most valuable assets of a pearl piece. They have the ability to be dressed up or dressed down. Jackie Kennedy said it best when proclaiming, “Pearls are always appropriate.”
A strand isn’t the only way to wear pearls. There are many designs and pieces to choose from to compliment your style. If a whole strand isn’t for you. Keep it simple with a piece like the South Sea pearl pendant necklace with diamond accents. When most of us think about pearl jewelry, what comes to thought, is a pearl necklace or pearl earrings. The same can be thought as that pearls are always white. Both are a common misconception.
Pearls can be an assortment of colors. Freshwater pearls can be white, black, pink or purple. Tahitian pearls are black and South Sea pearls are cream colored, a golden yellow or silver. Pearl jewelry has come to be associated with stylish simplicity, but there are many options to avoid settling for the simple. The Cartier Tahitian black pearl and diamond ring is a statement piece veering from the ‘traditionalist’ thinking of pearl jewelry. The Stylish Keshi pearl bracelet is another fine piece that trends more towards unconventional.
When I graduated from college my Grandfather bought me a beautiful pearl necklace. I say beautiful now but at the time I was horrified. Out of all things I thought. Pearls ….Ewww! Now I couldn’t be more appreciative! They have taken an active role in my wardrobe. Not that they’re worn often, but when the time is right, the outfit just wouldn’t be the same without them. And when asked that inevitable question, I’m honored to announce, “Yes, they’re real!”
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but everyone needs a break every now and again, even if it is from your bestie. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner. This is the year to spoil her with a new pearl piece.
At Gray & Sons, we have an in-house jewelry repair department. Our highly-trained technicians can handle small repairs to complete restorations. You can be sure that your valuable jewelry will be in good hands. Contact us for a consultation.