Friday, 2 March 2018

Knowing a bit of your Pearl...

Pearl has long been a symbol of beauty and purity. They are contemporary classics, and now there far more fashionable options to choose from than the strand of pearls you remember hanging from your grandmother's neck.

Pearls are formed when irritants (usually a microscopic organism - not a sand) find its way into the shell of a mollusc. In reaction, the mollusc begins to produce layers of nacre around the irritant. In natural pearls, the irritant generally comes from the water its surrounded by, while cultured pearls a piece of tissue is inserted by people to get the process started. In both cases, the nacre quality will dictate the quality of the pearl's luster and shine. This is the key to both its value and its beauty. The pearl's surface should be free of marks and smooth. The shape itself may be round, misshapen (ones are referred to as baroque pearls), or pear-shaped.

Because the pearl is the gem of queens and the queen of gems, below are worth knowing.

History Lesson
A long time ago, to an ancient Egyptian legend, Cleopatra dissolved a pearl in wine to prove her love for Marc Antony (a Roman politician and general, was an ally of Julius Caesar) and to show him that she could consume that wealth of a nation in a matter of minutes.

Bride to Wear
It is a tradition for a bride to wear pearls on her wedding day because the gem is believed to signify purity and beauty. This has been a tradition since the time of the Ancient Greeks who believed that pearls were the tears of the gods. Brides wore pearls so they wouldn't cry on their wedding day.

June Girl Celebrant
Pearls are the birthstone for people born in the month of June

On the clock
It takes 5 years for an oyster to produce a medium-sized pearl.

The Truth
About 95% of pearls harvested are cultured or cultivated pearls. This means that molluscs are artificially implanted with small seeds and tended to in a farm.

Perfectly imperfect
No two (2) pearls are exactly alike and no pearl is perfect; all have some sort of imperfection.

Jewel intentions
Jacques Cartier traded a double-stranded natural pearl necklace valued at $1.2M for a mansion on 5th Avenue in NYC where he opened the Cartier flagship store in 1916.

Breakfast at Tiffany's
Holly Golightly's iconic pearl and diamond necklace from breakfast at Tiffany's is estimated to be worth over $50,000.00.

The mother of pearls
The most famous pearl is the "La Peregrina," this pearl is pearl-shaped and its previous owners include Mary Tudor, Napoleon and most recently, the Elizabeth Taylor.

Royal favorite
Virtually every major empire of antiquity, especially ancient Rome, valued pearls for their beauty and powerful symbolism. However, it took Persian Gulf pearl traders in the 18th and 19th centuries to bring the gems to the attention of India's Mughal emperors, who festooned tunics, ornamental with ropes of the silver baubles, forever imbuing pearls with lavish, upper-crust associations.

Pink Slip
Four out of every 54,000 conch shells yield a cotton candy-colored conch pearl.
At First Bite
The tooth test is a method of determining if a pearl is genuine or not. Gently slide it across the front of your teeth; the real thing will feel slightly gritty, not smooth.

High demand
By the 1900 demand for the natural sea-born treasures was so high that scientists in Japan and Australia(areas are surrounded by seas with large pearl-producing oyster populations) began to experiment in ways to intervene the process. In 1893, Kokichi Mikimoto, the son of a noodle maker, perfected a method of culturing pearls, a process in which a spherical bead or piece of mantle tissue is implanted in the mollusc, stimulating nacre formation. Mikimoto's marketing savvy changed the arc of pearl history.

Jackie knows best
Jacky Kennedy is known for her signature strand faux pearls which are on display today at the National Museum of American History.

The Royal line
Elizabeth I was said to have 3,000 gowns decorated with pearls, as well as 80 wigs festooned with them. It is an embellishment that has been embraced by fashion designers, especially in recent years.

The heavy hem
At the peak of the Romans' obsession with pearls, during the first century BC, women upholstered couches with them and sewed so many into their gowns that they trampled their own pearl-embroidered hems. In 2015 Lupita Nyong'O revived the look with a pearl-encrusted Calvin Klein dress.

The true beauty of pearl lies within the eyes of the beholder. Whatever virtue this gem has, the emotion and holistic aspects it bears, the only thing I for sure, it captures everyone's eye.