- Posted by admin
- On May 28, 2015
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- Betty Sue King, pearl, Scheherazade Jewelers
Like the traditional “little black dress” every woman has or should have at least one classic strand of pearls to make the perfect fashion statement. Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn, icons of style, were defined by their signature fine pearl jewelry. Queen Elizabeth has an enormous collection of them. Women in politics wear them because they evoke feelings of trust, class, savoir-faire and luxury.
Before cultured pearls were introduced in the early 1900s, natural pearls were extremely rare and so expensive, only clergy and the very rich and powerful were able to enjoy them. Of course, we’ll never know exactly when pearls were first discovered or who were the first to appreciate them, but a famous American gemologist, George Frederick Kunz, believes an ancient fish-eating tribe discovered pearls when they opened oysters for food.
Nature and Nurture – Natural and Cultured
Natural pearls are created, not from a grain of sand as many first thought, but from a parasite, piece of shell or food particle that gets trapped in the oyster’s soft body. The oyster senses the irritant and coats it layer by layer to protect itself using the same substance it uses to coat the inside of its shell. The result is a magnificent iridescent, shimmery round, although never perfectly smooth gem we know as the pearl.
Cultured pearls are formed in almost exactly the same way, although by human hands by carefully implanting the irritant inside the oyster and then setting them free in fresh or saltwater to allow the very same phenomenon to occur over a period of two years.
Pearls are cultivated and harvested all over the world including Mexico, Tahiti, the South Seas, Japan, China and the United States. While the classic round pearl is still everyone’s favorite, today diamond, oval, square, rectangle, petal shapes and more are created when a small shell of that shape is cut and inserted using the same culturing methods.
Pearls of a Different Color
While white is the universal color of pearls, China is famous for its freshwater pearls in natural flower colors of peach, pink and lavender. Gold, light gray and white are indigenous to South Sea pearls from Australia and the Philippines. And black, blue-gray, green and peacock originate from Tahiti.
Pearls can also be dyed in every exotic color imaginable and appeal to a wide variety of tastes and styles. There really is no end to what’s available in the world of pearls.
The Pearls of Scheherazade
On June 16th, 6pm to 9pm, Scheherazade Jewelers is presenting an exclusive Pearl Roundtable Event (seating is limited, contact Scheherazade for details, 952.926.2455). Betty Sue King, recognized nationally as “The Pearl Goddess”, will make a special personal appearance at this event.
Betty Sue’s passion for pearls and the depth of her knowledge includes more than 35 years of experience sourcing the finest pearls from around the world.
The Pearl is the Birthstone for June
If you’re lucky enough to have a June birthday, the pearl is your birthstone. Let the pearl experts at Scheherazade help you choose the perfect gift of pearls in a stunning ring, earrings or strands.
The La Peregrina Pearl, the most famous pearl in the world, was purchased by Richard Burton for $37,000 at Southeby’s Auction and given to his wife, Elizabeth Taylor. At one point the pearl went missing and Elizabeth found it inside the mouth of one of their puppies busily chewing on it.
According to some historians, one of the reasons Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55 B.C. was to obtain freshwater pearls.
You can differentiate a real pearl from a synthetic by rubbing two of the pearls together. The real pearl will feel gritty and the artificial pearl will feel smooth and slippery.
Pearls should be stored in a soft cloth sack, separate from metallic necklaces and jewelry. They should never be placed in plastic or cleaned with chemicals or detergents or even baking soda.