Pearl Jewelry Types and Care Tips
Pearls have a natural luster and charm that sets them apart from other popular gemstones, and pearl jewelry is one of the few types of jewelry that can be worn in just about any setting at any time of the year. However, picking a strand of pearls or a pearl pendant is no easy task, and you want to be sure that you're prepared to find the best choice for both your budget, aesthetic, and lifestyle. Take a deeper look at this naturally occurring gem and see what type of pearl jewelry is the best choice for you.
Types of Pearls
Pearls are naturally occurring phenomena which are birthed from the inside of mollusk shells after an irritant has been coated in a nacre that the mollusk secretes. What results from this irritation is the beautiful, silky textured pearl that many people have come to know and love. With both freshwater and saltwater varieties, pearls come in a number of different types, each of which is brilliant in its own way.
- Freshwater Pearls - These are the most common pearls that are sold today, and they come in various sizes, colors, and shapes. They're the most inexpensive of all the pearl varieties.
- South Sea Pearls - These pearls originate from the Pacific region surrounding Australia and are well known for their substantial sizes, making them the most expensive of all the peal varieties.
- Akoya Pearls - These pearls are the most common saltwater pearls currently on the market and help craftsmen create simple, sophisticated jewelry.
- Tahitian Pearls - These pearls are harvested from French Polynesia and are multi-colored, coming in many different hues like black, brown, pink, purple, blue, and even green.
Mother of Pearl vs. Pearl
Made from the same nacre that creates pearls, mother of pearl is found within the shells of these oceanic mollusks. The major differences between mother of pearl and pearl is that the mother of pearl adopts a much more colorful, warped affect because of the way that the nacre layers itself over the ridges of the mollusk's shell. Due to its thinness, mother of pearl is often used for inlay rather than to be strung for use in necklaces and bracelets like regular pearls are. However, mother of pearl is another great option for those who love pearls and want to branch out into jewelry that has a more unique and original style to it.
Caring for Pearl Jewelry
No matter which type of pearl you gravitate towards, all of them need to be expertly cared for to ensure that they last for a long time. Given that pearls are soft - only ranking a 2.5-3 on the Mohs hardness scale - it's vital that you keep your pearls stored away from other jewelry and hard items that could potentially scratch or dent your pearls. Similarly, it's important that you only clean them using a mild soap and water mixture and not an ultrasonic cleaner or steam cleaner; these rougher methods of cleaning can easily damage a pearl's surface to the point of total disrepair.
Wearing Pearls the 'Right' Way
There's no right or wrong way to wear a string of pearls, but choosing the right type of pearl jewelry for yourself is important when you're planning on how to make it blend seamlessly into your look. You can easily dress up pearl jewelry by choosing strands of pearls for bracelets or necklaces and wearing evening wear with them, or dress the jewelry down by pairing a simple pearl pendant with your favorite jumper and pair of jeans. Either way, make sure to always be cautious when wearing pearls, as they can be easily knocked out of their settings if you're not careful.
Dress Yourself in Silky Sophistication
Pearls are a truly a timeless accessory which have risen to iconic status due to their presence in high fashion editorials and popular films, and you'd be doing yourself a favor by having at least one piece of pearl jewelry that you can whip out when you need a little something extra to help dress up your look.