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Pearls - June's Birthstone

“The pearl is the queen of gems and the gem of queens.”

Pearls, June's birthstone, a bead like gem that is formed in a living mollusk. Pearls come in different shapes, sizes and shades. We love working with pearls because they are simply classy and elegant. The different types of pearls we will talk about are:

Natural pearls: this is the most expensive and rarest type. Here the pearl is naturally formed in the shell due to an accidental intruder. A natural pearl is made out of 100% thin layers of calcium carbonate and conchiolin. For a natural pearl to become a decent size it can easily takes decades.

Cultured Pearls: the difference between cultured and natural pearls is that tiny pieces of mantle tissues are planted by man into the shell, sometimes even a few pieces, from which calcium carbonate layers will start forming around. Some cultured pearls are ready to be harvested in only six months. There are fresh water and salt water pearls. Fresh water pearls come in different shapes where as salt water pearls are often round.  

Mother-of-pearl: also called nacre, is the iridescent layer of the shell lining of many molluscs. Mother-of-pearl is often used on buttons, watches and furniture. Beads are also available but those will not have a shiny layer right around the bead. It will be a mix of shell material and nacre.

Shell Pearl: are cut out of big mollusk shells. Once they are shaped round the white bead-like shell material is coated artificially to simulate the look of a pearl. They are cheaper than pearls and are loved for their big sizes.

South Sea: are also cultured pearls but large in size 9 – 20mm. They come in various shades and are expensive but beautiful.

Tahiti pearls: are natural black pearls. They are cultured and expensive.

Imitation pearls: are either out of plastic or glass with a thin film of an iridescent layer to imitate pearls. This layer will easily come off if scratched.