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Wednesday Moodboard: Pearls

Did you know that pearls come in an amazing variety of shapes, sizes and colours? I knew they could vary but I had no idea how much until yesterday when a friend showed me her new iridescent green/purple ring. So here̵ ...

Did you know that pearls come in an amazing variety of shapes, sizes and colours?
I knew they could vary but I had no idea how much until yesterday when a friend showed me her new iridescent green/purple ring. So here’s a little taster, just because I love pearls and am always in the mood for them.
Girl with a pearl earring – Jan Vermeer
The people at kojimapearl.com have written a useful piece all about pearls  – I found this bit really interesting:
‘just as human parents pass along genetic traits and characteristics, an oyster or mussel that carries a pearl, along with environmental factors, determines what the pearl will look like. In both natural and cultured pearls, colour is greatly influenced by the mollusc’s mantle colour; size is usually dictated by length of gestation; and the pearl’s shape is determined by the nuclei that is implanted (or implants itself) inside the mollusc. Finally, geography plays a role in a pearl’s ultimate appearance, as different mollusc species live in specific parts of the world.’
 Pearls come in two main types – wild and cultured. They are also either freshwater or seawater. Here are just some of the main types available.
Image: www.thepearlsource.com   Akoya pearls.
Akoya are probably the ones most people know best. They are cultured pearls grown exclusively in-body in the Pinctada species— a small oyster that lives in temperate ocean waters.
Abalone Pearls
Abalone Pearls are found mainly along the coasts of California and Mexico and come from the most colourful of all pearl-producing molluscs. They can’t be cut in any way as they are haemophiliacs and will bleed to death, so full pearls are always natural, while half pearls or “mabe” pearls are made by implanting nuclei along the inside of the Abalone shell – these aren’t thought of as true pearls.
Conch Pearl
Can you believe this beauty? – natural pearls occurring in conch shells are extremely rare.
Freshwater pearls
Freshwater pearls are produced by mussels that live in rivers, lakes or ponds, the vast majority of which are cultivated; high quality natural specimens are rare and almost non-existent. They come in various shades, sizes and shapes.
Quahog pearls
 Natural, wild ocean pearls found on the Eastern shore of North America are known as Quahog pearls. and range in colour from white and beige to dark purple and lilac.
Tahitian pearls
And just look at these dark beauties. Grown in black-lipped pearl oysters, Tahitian pearls don’t actually come from Tahiti, but rather from French Polynesia, and other small atolls throughout the South Pacific. Tahitian pearls (or black pearls) come in a variety of exotic colours.
Now take a guess at what this conventional double-strand pearl necklace would cost you.
Here’s the answer – difficult to say but it was  sold in 2007 for $7.1 million. Why? Because it is rich in history are is very rare. It is made up of sixty eight pearls selected from the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rows of an original seven-strand necklace, owned by the Maharajahs of India. The seven strand natural pearl necklace was known as saath lahda. Each pearl is perfectly matched in colour, size and shape. The pearls are particularly large, ranging from 10 to 16 millimetres in diameter. The necklace is joined together by a cushion-cut diamond clasp signed by Cartier.
You can get something like this pretty necklace for a fraction of that.
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