Gemstone Index: Pearls

Pearls are June's most-popular birthstone, and are a favorite in bridal jewelry and couture. Cultured freshwater pearl beads come in several shapes and colors, making it easy to add elegance to a wide variety of jewelry designs - pearls aren't just for bridal designs, weddings and proms! Pearls are organic gemstones, formed when a foreign object (like a tiny stone) makes its way into an oyster (or similar mollusk's) shell. Over time, the mollusk covers the intruding object with 1,000's of layers of nacre. "Cultured" pearls are pearls in which people, rather than nature, implant the foreign particle, and care for the mollusks at a pearl farm while the pearls develop.

Nearly all pearls available today are cultured. Natural pearls are very rare (and valuable!), so the word "pearl" should be assumed as "cultured pearl". Pearls formed by saltwater oysters are commonly known as oriental pearls and those produced by freshwater mollusks are called freshwater pearls.

White cultured freshwater pearls provide classic pearl looks. Whether you're creating accessories for formal wear, or for business attire and everyday chic, white freshwater pearls are a good choice. Jacqueline Kennedy brought pearl strands to the height of modern fashion during her reign as the US First Lady, and white pearls are still a staple of the fashion world today! Choose from several white cultured pearl beads including rice crispies, rice ovals, potato pearls, tip-drilled pearls, keishi pearls, and more!

Black pearls are a staple of Vice President Kamala Harris' attire. We rarely have black freshwater pearls (and when we do, they are dyed), but we do have Swarovski and Preciosa crystal pearl beads in durable, shining shades of black!

Rich, ivory-colored cream pearls provide you with a soft muted hue, and timeless allure. The shade of cream pearls may vary, and white pearls sometimes cross the line into cream pearl shades.

Pink  and peach freshwater pearls:
We do our best to purchase only natural pink pearls that have been untreated, but we can't guarantee that all of our pink pearls are undyed. The shades of our pink pearls range from peachy-pink to violet-pink. We occasionally also have peach pearls, which can vary from a pale orange-pink to a rich juicy peach color, and rose pearls, which are more of a dusty-pink shade, perfect for prom jewelry, bridesmaid accessories, business attire, art jewelry and everyday wear.

Peacock cultured freshwater pearls display a deep shades of blue, purple and/or deep green that sometimes also provides lovely iridescence. Use striking peacock cultured pearls to add texture and color to everything from formal wear to office attire to fun and funky art jewelry! Cultured peacock pearls are typically dyed, and the dye made fade over time.

Rice pearls: Small oval pearls are often called "rice pearls" of "rice krispies" because the smooth oval pearls look like grains of rice, and the bumpier tiny pearls resemble the famous breakfast cereal. Both styles tend to have small holes that fit best on 26-gauge wire (or occasionally 24-gauge).

Potato pearls are rounded pearls that aren't perfectly round; they are often slightly oval, or have too many gentle bumps to be called "round". They normally have nice luster and good color.

Faceted pearls have a faceted seed (instead of a smooth seed) underneath the pearl layer. The angles caused by this, give the pearls extra shine as your jewelry is worn, or as customers walk past your jewelry booth, and light catches the angles.

Genuine pearls like these are sensitive to acids, dryness and extreme humidity, so be sure to treat your pearls with care.

Feb 22nd 2023 Rings & Things Staff

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