City Pearls Portfolio - CapMan
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By Cassie Crofts 03 March The white lustrous orbs have secrets to tell. Follow Share Tweet. Pearls are the only jewels created by a living animal. A natural pearl of value is found in less than 1 in every 10, wild oysters.
All pearl oysters are born male and transform into females at around three years of age. There are three major types of saltwater cultured pearls: Akoya, Tahitian and South Sea. Although they share many of the same characteristics, they can look vastly different as each pearl is sourced from a different species of oyster.
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These oceanic oysters typically grow only one pearl at a time. China produces the overwhelming majority of freshwater pearls in pearl farms that may range from a farmer's fishpond to massive lakes filled with over a million mussels. A single freshwater mussel will typically produce between 30 and 50 pearls at a time.
Even with cultivation practices, South Sea pearls are incredibly rare. By way of comparison, the weight of diamond production each year is about 10 times greater than the weight of the annual Australian South Sea pearls harvest. Pearl oysters are also used for their shell known as mother-of-pearl and their meat. The earliest record we have of pearls as precious objects are artefacts from Mesopotamia dated to around B. Recently, a two thousand year old pearl was found in an Australian Aboriginal archaeological dig in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
In the early days, pearl divers regularly faced the threat of shark attacks as well as the dreaded crippling effects of the bends with every dive. In the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, the mortality rate for divers was as high as 50 per cent. Today, there are strict protocols and regulations regarding occupational diving to reduce these risks. Email Share Tweet. And I want industry leaders as well as shoppers understand what makes a pearl valuable.
When my children ask me if I believe in miracles I tell them I look at them daily and know that miracles exist.
An irritant enters the soft tissue body of a mollusk and, in order to protect itself it covers that irritant with the same material mother of pearl it uses to create its shell. Now, in nature, the mollusk does not wish to keep this pearl within its body. The mollusks are then placed into a net which both protects the mollusk from predators and keeps it from being able to open its shell wide enough to eject that pearl!
So, this sounds super easy, right? We should have pearls galore! Not so fast! Here is where the magic comes in… not all of these mollusks do as they are told and produce a pearl. Many of them die. Diseases may come through the water and kill the mollusks. This is nature and alot of natural events can occur to cause the pearl not to form. In 18 months and up to 5 years! What does that pearl look like?
What does the surface of the pearl look like? Are there bumps, scrapes and divets? What is the color? Is the color uniform throughout the surface of the pearl? What is the quality of the nacre, that mother of pearl that it used to coat the irritant? How big is it? Is it even round? Pearls can look many different ways and depending on how good it looks, the value of the pearl can change. Step one in what makes a pearl valuable is how it looks when it is harvested. Because although there are post-production treatments that are sometimes done to pearls usually the way that pearl looks when it is born cannot be improved upon much!
Technicians are on hand to give a grade to the pearl. And what is that grade based on? Later, we also grade that pearl in how in matches in a piece of jewelry. Seems easy, right? Get a pearl, get the grade, and know the value of your pearl. The grading is subjective! This is an interpretive grade and there is no universally accepted standard to grading pearls. So, no one is handing out certificates for the valedictorian in the pearl harvest!
It sort of reminds me how I was a star student at my small town elementary school.
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But, by high school, I realized I was just a really big fish in a very small pond. When the pond got bigger, my own A pluses began to falter, too! Good news for all of us, you can use this bit of knowledge to figure out the value of your own pearls. Do they look chalky and pale, have they lost their shine? That will affect its value. How is the nacre of her pearls? Is the surface of the pearls brittle and dry?
Once again, your value just isnt going to be there. Maybe they look amazing after many many years.
Pearl Buying Guide
Pearls with great nacre and fantastic luster look better over time, they hold their look. So, keep that in mind when you inherit pearls or even when you go to buy your pearls. Many of you may know my humble pearl beginnings. In I was 8 years old and my family and I traveled to Japan and my Dad purchased pearls for us.
That is really the beginning of my passion for this gem. Even back in the early s he talked to people about whether to buy pearls from Mikimoto. Mikimoto is the oldest name in pearls. Their name is well known and their price tag is high. Now, I have learned alot since I first wrote the article on pearl value in Along with selling new pearl jewelry at The Pearl Girls, we run a worldwide reknot and repair business.
Therefore I get to see touch and feel pearls from all over the world. I see old pearls and new pearls and high quaity pearls and low quality pearls. Lots of fake pearls, too! Mikimoto has its name on many different quality of pearls. So, I would say, across the board, having the Mikimoto name is a great name to attach to your pearls. And, I also know that there are many low quality pearls that still bear the Mikimoto name. In this case, I do not think the name will elevate the value very much!
And the same goes for Tiffany pearls.