"Pearls on last and off first".
Pearls are porous so absorb chemicals such as perfume, hairspray, lotions, sweat etc. If not cleaned off these contaminates will affect the lustre and eventually dull/discolour the pearl. As a gem they are relatively soft so will scratch against hard items.
SIMPLE CARE INSTRUCTIONS
Clean your pearls regularly to remove sweat and other build up.
To clean, wipe with a soft damp cloth and then dry with same.
If wearing your pearls often then occasionally clean gently in some warm soapy water and dry well.
Pearls strung on silk should be restrung every 12 months.
Store your pearls flat and away from other jewellery.
ABOUT OUR MATERIALS
All our pearls are genuine cultured Freshwater Pearls or cultured Australian South Sea Pearls.
We use the highest quality materials in all our designs. The metal in our jewellery is either Sterling Silver (925), 9ct or 18ct Gold OR Sterling Silver with a heavy 3 micron gold / rose gold plating (please note that the average plating is one micron or less).
Our jewellery features many different coloured gems from around the world, with a passion for unusual colouring, we have some lesser known gems that are real treasures. Bridget always endeavours to purchase natural, untreated stones when possible. We do use the occasional cubic zirconia for a little bling, but rest assured, everything else is genuine.
The line we use in some of our products is either monofilament or flexible wire. The wire is 49 strands of stainless steel woven into a wire of 12kg breaking strain. It is then 24ct gold or fine Silver plated and finally coated with nylon. This final coating of nylon stops the plating from wearing off and the metal tarnishing.
WHAT IS A PEARL?
Pearls have been around since the dinosaurs and were man's first precious gem. Long before gemstones could be cut and faceted, pearls were a revered symbol of status, wealth and power. Myths about their origin abounded from tears of the moon to dew drops caught by oysters at night.
Pearls are organic gems produced by pearl oysters, freshwater mussels and some other molluscs. All pearls are made of "nacre", a crystalline structure of calcium carbonate known as argonite. It is the way this structure allows light to penetrate, reflect and refract that makes pearls such a unique and beautiful gem. A pearl oyster or mussel will coat any irritant that it cannot expel with aragonite to smooth away the irritation.
Today just about all pearls are "cultured". That is, man has introduced an irritant into the animal to stimulate their natural response of coating the irritant with nacre. Conversely a natural pearl is the same process but nature introduced the irritant. Contrary to popular belief it was hardly ever a grain of sand but rather parasites and other small water born animals that became trapped in the oyster or mussel that would produce a natural pearl.
Natural pearls are extremely rare and valuable and were the source of the world's pearls before the culturing process was commercially made successful in Japan in the early 1900's. To find a gem quality natural pearl the odds are about 1 in 5000 shell. That is a lot of dead animals for one pearl. Many "natural pearl" shell grounds were over fished into virtual extinction.
The value of a pearl is determined by the following factors:
LUSTRE - This is the glow or shine of the pearl. Excellent lustre gives you the sense that you are looking into the pearl and that it has an inner glow.
SURFACE - How clean or unblemished the surface of the pearl is.
COLOUR - Although a personal factor, some colours are more expensive than others by virtue of their rarity.
SHAPE - Also a personal factor but the round and tear drop shape are the most expensive.
SIZE - As with any gem, size is a factor in determining price. Although bigger does not mean better. It is worth noting that as yet there is no internationally agreed grading system. That is a set of numbers and letters that describe all the factors above on an agreed scale. So for example, if you are offered an A grade pearl, it is a meaningless description if the full scale is not known e.g. "A" may be the second lowest if the grading scale is B, A, AA, AAA, AAAA. Also what part of the pearl is the A describing - the lustre or surface. So be sure to enquire about the whole grading scale when discussing pearls with a seller.