The Makings of a Pearl
The story pearls started when a grain of sand or another piece of pearl got into an oyster’s shell and the oyster shell, to protect itself from this foreign object, secreted multiple layers of a calcium carbonate substance called as nacre, a combination to form after many years a silky outer layer coating known as pearl.
Both natural and cultured pearls are born and grow inside live oysters only, but the difference between the two types of pearls is that natural pearls are formed by nature, or by chance, and cultured pearls are man-made by injecting an irritants into the oysters. We can find that these days, most pearls are man-made cultured pearls only.
How to Buy Pearls
On a pearls buying spree, then consider the following six key factors:
LUSTER – Luster is the brightness, sheen and/or glow of the pearl. What constitutes a bright luster is the combination of surface quality and the inner glow of the pearl. With high quality pearls a glow will seem to emanate from within the pearl, especially when light reflects from its surface. Pearls that appear dull, too white, or chalky are not high quality pearls.
– Usually, those pearls have SIZE greater value which has larger size.
SURFACE – A clean surface is a sign of a high quality pearl. The more flawless a pearl is, the greater value it will have. A pearl should be pristine clean of any bumps, cracks, and blemishes.
– Pearls are widely available in the shapes of round, oval, pear, half round, button-type (one axis flattened), circled, or baroque and we can find that to have a perfectly round shaped pearl is very difficult as the chances of an oyster producing the same SHAPE is very low. Accordingly, other shapes like asymmetrical and “baroque” pearls are mad to be produced and these are comparatively less costly to use for jewelry making.
– Pearls are available in a wide range of colors and depending upon the color complexion and suitability of it, numerous shades of the same can be chosen. People with a fair skin can opt for pink and silver colored pearls to perfectly blend and compliment their fair complexion. People with COLOR comparativelydarker and wheatish skin tones can make use of white cream and gold colored pearls to stand out and look well. Some others can also make use of color shades like green, blue and even red.
UNIFORMITY –Another essential aspect of pearls is its uniformity of the characteristic to be produced under a strand or pair and the more uniform the pearls are, the more value it gets.
Types of Pearls
Akoya Pearls – Akoya pearls are those pearls that come from Japan or China, and this is a type of salt water cultured pearl.Akoya pearls has the lowest survival rates of only about 5 out of 10 to survive the nucleation process and thus are the most difficult to be grown.
– These are very lustrous and Baroque Pearlsattractivename irregularly shaped cultured pearls available at a low cost.
– The first cultured pearls without Biwa Pearlnucleus or with an organic nucleus, these pearls are obtained from a freshwater mussel and are named after a lake in Japan
Freshwater Pearls – These are those kind of pears which are cultivated from fresh water mussels and not from the usual salt water oysters. As these pearls are huge in quantity, the price of these pearls is inexpensive. The most famous type of freshwater pearl is the Biwa pearl, mostly grown in Japan, China, and the United States.
- Keshi pearls are sub-products of a pearl that range in size from very small to tiny and are formed accidentally on many cultured pearl oystersKeshi Pearls.The word Keshi in Japanese means “poppy seed”, and thus these kind of pearls are very small and minute just like poppy seeds.
– Mabe Pearls are mostly used in settings that hide their flat back and reverse side and are largely Mabe Pearlsgrown Japan, Indonesia, or Australia. The differentiating aspect about these pearls is thatthese pearls are not grown within the oysters body, but are grown inside of the shell of any kind of oyster.
South Sea Pearls (also called White SouthSea Pearls) –The diameter of these pearls usually ranges from 9 to 14 millimeter and these pearls are generally cultured in warm salt water in tropical or semi-tropical oysters in the South China Sea to include regions like the Polynesian Islands, Borneo, Australia, Indonesia, and other Pacific countries, etc.
South Sea Shell Pearls –South Sea Shell Pearls are hand-knotted pearls with perfectly round shape and beautiful AAA surface quality. Made from 100% South Sea oyster shell, these cost economical pearls with the weight, feel, and luster of genuine South Sea and Tahitian pearl.
South Sea Tahitian BlackCultured Pearls – Highly expensive and of larger size, South Sea Tahitian Black Cultured Pearls are those pearls found in the waters of French Polynesia. These pearls are large in sizes ranging from 8 to 14 millimeters and their color shades range from gray to black with green or blue with iridescent overtones.
Care of Pearls
As pearls are very soft and tender, they warrant special care and attention. The jewelry box used for storing pearls should not be the same as that of the other jewelries, as by mixing the same, it can happen that other jewelry may cause the rubbing off of the outer white coating of the pearls. So, pearls are to be kept in a fabric lined box or in a simple fabric pouch.
On regular use, our skin tends to generate and accumulate sweat and acids, so as a routine, after wearing and before putting off the same in the box or pouch, it must be cleaned with a soft and dry cloth. Olive oil and those jewelry cleaners which are marked safe can also be used for the purpose of cleaning of the same.
Also, never consider to make use of ultrasonic cleansers, toothbrushes, or any other abrasive materials, dish or wash detergents, bleaches, baking soda or ammonia based cleansers to clean your pearls as these are too harsh to cause damage to the outer coating of the pearls.
Additionally, remove your pearls before putting any cosmetics, hair spray, or perfume and avoid in direct contact with heat and dry air because as this would cause pearls to turn brown, dry out, and even crack.
How to Buy Silver
In its purest form, silver is soft as gold and therefore, must generally be mixed and alloyed with another metal like copper to ensure that it becomes unbreakable and to add strength and thus cannot be purchased as such.
Usually, silver or sterling silver must be 92.5 percent pure to be considered as real and authentic silver and make sure before purchasing, that you are not allergic to metal silver as sometimes, people may find skin irritation on wearing silver jewelry.
On the aspect of the finish of silver jewelry, itis of the high qualitynot even to match the finish of metal platinumand can be given different textures like polishing, matte or brushed, sandblasted, oxidized, or antiqued to make a fine jewelry.
Rhodium Plated – a tarnish free finish
Care of Silver
As the metal silver reacts to pollutants in the air oncontact with moisture and heat, the coat of the silver jewelry can get tarnished to warrant high maintenance. This wearing off and tarnish can be removed by making use of a chemical tarnish removing solution for cleaning and wiping off the same.
The words used for diamonds is brilliance and so are its characteristics. Being, the hardest of all substances on earth, diamonds are highly resistant to heatwith its shine and sheento remain undiminished in the long run. Normally, a diamond does not break off easily, unless a very hard blow to the girdle can cause its chip to break away.
How to Buy a Diamond
There are 4 C’s to always keep in mind when purchasing a diamond:
CARAT –Generally, the size and weight of a diamond is denoted by carats and points with one hundred points to make up one carat. A diamond that weighs less than one hundred points is identified in point size like a .55-carat diamond is titled as a 55-point diamond. Usually, when diamonds are mined, larger stones are found a lot less frequently then smaller stones making larger diamonds more valuable and expensive. The more carat a diamond has, the more will be its price to cost more.
Clarity is that aspect of diamond CLARITY –whichdetermines its brilliance, sparkle, and value and the greater the clarity with fewer and lesser inclusions, the most sought after and expensive those diamonds become. The cardinal aspect of most diamonds is that they have inclusions which are in essentially scratches, trace minerals, or any other tiny flawed imperfections which diminishes the natural beauty and shine of the diamond. Diamonds that are classified as flawless have nil inclusions and thus are highly rare and sought after for their sheer brilliance of shine.Diamonds with extremely tiny inclusions follow flawless diamonds in quality, because the larger and the more visible the inclusions, the lower the quality and rarity, forcing the value of that diamond down. The number, type, color, position, and size of surface and internal inclusions affect the value of the diamond as the presence of large inclusions causes disruption in the path of light to directly pass through the stone, reducing its glow and dazzle. Diamond clarity ratings are marked as FL for flawless, IF for internally flawless, VVS1 and VVS2 for very very slightly included, SI1 and SI2 for slightly included, etc.
Another aspect which determines a diamond’s brilliance and sparkle is its cut in the form of the roundness, depth, width, and uniformity of the facets of the stone. The way a diamond is cut dictates the entering and exiting the passage of light to have a great impact on its glow and twinkle. If a diamond has been cut too shallow, light is lost through the sides to cause the diamond to diminish its brilliance and shine. If a diamond is cut too deep, light will escape through the bottom causing the diamond to appear dark and dull. The proportions of a diamond, specifically the depth compared to the diameter, and the diameter of the table compared to the diameter of the diamond, CUT –governsas to how light will reflect and refract within a diamond. While mother nature bestows upon a diamond the color, clarity, and carat weight, it requires great craftsmanship to unfold a diamond’s innate beauty and brilliance. Generally, when a diamond is cut well, light reflects from one mirror-like facet to another and radiates through the top of the diamond to emit a very heightened glow.
COLOR –The brilliance aspect of diamonds is also its color to act as prism, to divide light into a spectrum of colors and reflect this light as colorful flashes called fire. Amongst the types of diamonds, those diamonds are graded the highest which are colorless, highly rare and in top quality. Grading of colors is done by the letters of the alphabet, D being the greatest color quality and Z being the lowest color quality.
Asscher Cut Diamond Shape: The Asscher cut diamond is a diamond having cropped corners and is often called as stepped square cut or square emerald cut and was developed in 1902 by the Asscher Brothers of Holland. When a television show named Sex & and the City featured stars like as Kate Hudson receivingAsscher-cuts diamonds as engagement rings, the popularity of these diamonds got heightened with more and more people opting for this type of diamond cuts.
Definitions you should know:
Girdle: The narrow band around the widest part of a diamond.
Diameter: The width of the diamond measured through the girdle.
Table: The largest facet of a gemstone.
Crown: The top portion of a diamond extending from the girdle to the table.
Care of Diamonds
Though the old adage is that a diamond lasts forever, in order to maintain the sparkle and luster of a diamond, its periodical cleaning must be undertaken. To clean diamonds, a solution of one part ammonia and six parts water can be used. Additionally, once in a year checking by a diamond professional of the stone ensures that it’s fitting in the clasp is firm & secure and not wavering to fall off.
Precious gemstones – Some examples of precious gemstones are Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald and some examples of Semi-precious gemstones areAgate, Alexandrite, Amethyst, Aquamarine, Beryl, Citrine, Garnet, Opal, Spinel, Tanzanite, Topaz, Turquoise, Tourmaline, Zircon, Peridot, etc.
When buying a gemstone there are the five characteristics to consider:
COLOR – The most defining feature of a gemstone is its color described inn terms of its hue, tone, and saturation. We can find that the highest quality gemstones have their color as green, red, or blue hue, a medium to dark tone, and saturated color. Generally, the most valuable gemstones exhibit a pure color and only slight hues of other colors in addition to their primary color. Color tone represents the depth of the color, ranging from colorless to black and is described as “light”, “medium-light”, “medium”, “medium-dark”, and “dark”. Color purity, or saturation refers to the degree in which the gem is free of brown or gray hues and the gemstones that are most sought after show little gray or brown and are referred as having vivid or strong color saturation.
CLARITY –Generally, gemstones are formed under unique circumstances comprising of a combination of trace minerals to create identifying marks or inclusions. Those gemstones that are called flawless are very rare and valuable and thus are very expensive to purchase.
SIZE –The size of a gemstones can be round, square, oval, or pear. On the aspects of weight, the carat weight of a gemstone is not necessarily an accurate gauge for a gemstone, because all gemstones have different densities. It might so happen that, two gemstones that have the same carat weight may actually have a different weight.
ENHANCEMENTS –We can find that almost all gemstones that are available have been enhanced and those gemstones that have not been enhanced are very easily recognizable due to their very high cost. Without enhancements, the shine and brilliance of the gemstone does not come forward and thus enhancements form as an essential to the polishing and finishing process of jewelry making.As part of the enhancement process is the heating wherein every ruby or sapphire has been given heat treatment to bring forth hues of colors of blues and reds. Furthermore, placing of emeralds in oil has been an active tradition from the long ages to fill any tiny fissures and to make them more beautiful and grand.
– A greater color saturation requires a shallow cut, while less color saturation requires a deeper cut. Unlike diamonds, we can find that gemstones do not have an ideal cut that is geometrically configured for brilliance. To ascertain the quality of a gemstone, we have to check its setting as to whether they have symmetrical facets or not. An asymmetrical cut crown in a gemstone indicates poor quality. A well-cut gemstone is symmetrical and reflects light evenly across the surface with its CUT polishsmooth without any nicks.
CABOCHON - a highly polished, convex-cut, un-faceted style
Care of Gemstones
Gemstones should be cleaned in warm water with an ammonia based detergent, and a small soft brush and pat dry with a soft towel.
Jewelry made of gemstones should be separately kept in a soft pouch to avoid scratching and breaking of the stonesby coming in contact with each other.
Use the chart below to learn about some of the unique qualities and ancient folklore associated with modern birthstones:
January Capricorn Garnet - As per the ancient folklore, January Capricorn Garnet stone is believed to have magical properties to assure its wearer love and faithfulness. The color of this birthstone is deep red.
- In ancient Greece, February Aquarius Amethyst stone is believed to protect one from the effects of wine! This February Aquarius Amethyst stoneis a relative of quartz and is generally found in varying purple tones.
March Pisces Aquamarine - Reminiscent of the clear blue ocean, gazing into this lovely stone, it is believed that this stone has the power to transport people to remote island beaches.March Pisces Aquamarine stone is of the same family of Beryl stones as emeralds and is characterized as the resplendent of the color of a clear blue ocean.
– Originating from the Greek "April Aries Diamondadamas," meaning indomitable, these April Aries Diamondsare believed to offer protection and strength in the face of adversity.Those people whose birthdays fall in April have the opportunity of claiming these stones as their diamonds.
- Sacred to the Goddess Venus, this May Taurus EmeraldstoneMay Taurus Emerald has been believed to bring fertility and creativity and are hugely admired for their bold green hues imitating the natural world.
-Considered in the past as symbols of innocence in ancient Greece, these daysJune Gemini Pearl,June Gemini Pearl are believed to represent tradition and simplicity.June Gemini Pearl stones are highly unique sets of pearls found inside the shells of mollusks.
July Cancer Ruby–From time immemorial, rubies have been highly revered for thousands of years as they are associated with royalty and power of life. Generally, rubies are derived from the mineral corundum and are considered more valuable than diamonds.
- The August Leo August Leo PeridotPerido stone is found in lava to make electric green of August's birthstonejewlery.August Leo Peridot stone is associated with the planet sun and is considered to be endowed with mystical powers.
- A stone associated and owned by people with zodiac sign Virgos to enjoy by its wearing better vision, purity, and spiritual enlightenmentSeptember Virgo Sapphire.September Virgo Sapphire is the most traditional and intoxicated blue stone, considered as the cousin of ruby.
October Libra Opal - Highly valued for their shocking beauty, October Libra Opal is a white stone with rainbow color hues to dance around various multi colors.
–The month November offers a choice between two beautiful stones, citrine November Scorpio Citrine and Topazand topaz. According to ancient folklore, it is believed that citrine connotes a sense of balance and well-being and Topaz, originating from the Sanskrit word "tapas," is inferred to give huge to its wearer.
–Apart from turquoise, an additional stone to celebrate the month December, this birthstone December Sagittarius Tanzanite is a striking, purplish-blue stone, discovered in December Sagittarius Tanzanite1960s in Tanzania.
Gold is a soft, malleableprecious yellow metal highly popular for making jewelry as it has the properties of being tarnish free, non-toxic, anti-corrosive and hypo-allergenic. Generally, yellow gold is alloyed with zinc, nickel, palladium, copper or silver to make rose or white gold to make the metal firm and sturdy as gold in its pure form is very brittle and easy to break off.
- Pronounced "Vermeilvermay," vermeil is a French word describing sterling silver that has been electroplated with at least 100 millionths of an inch of karat gold.
How to Buy Gold
If on the pursuit of purchasing a gold jewelry, check for the carat hallmark to identify its real worth and authenticity. Generally, pure gold consists of 24 carats and is too soft and brittle for its use as a jewelry. Hence, 18 carat gold is used for carving jewelry as it is harder and less brittle than pure gold to contain only 75% pure gold. Most popular carat metric used in the United States is the 14 carat quality of gold and nothing less than 10 carat gold be legally valid to be sold here. However, jewelry made of lower carat gold are popular in other countries of the world.
Care for Gold
Always keep gold jewelry in a separate fabric lined case separate from other jewelry. For cleaning gold jewelry, care to never use a harsh chemical and only use a mild soap or detergent. Professional assistance can also be taken to repair if the setting of the gold jewelry breaks from its hold.