Pearls are often referred to as the treasures of the sea, and are one of the most popular forms of jewellery. Since the beginning of time their natural beauty, simplicity and elegance have been a symbol of power, wealth and refinement.
There is a range of different pearls available, with the most popular being ‘South Sea pearls’ and other ‘fresh water pearls’.
South Sea pearls are deemed to be more valuable, based on two factors. Firstly, they have better properties, such as a superior lustre. Secondly, they are rarer. Only one pearl can be cultivated per South Sea shell.
However, the fresh water species still have great properties at a fraction of the value of South Sea pearls. A determining factor is the number of pearls that can be simultaneously grown in each fresh water shell.
Pearls have six main factors that define their quality. Aside from the obvious one, size, there is also lustre, surface, shape, nacre (outer coating) and colour. Each one of these properties has its own significance in creating the perfect pearl.
Like all jewellery, pearls require a certain level of care. Their porous nature can absorb liquids and chemicals that can deteriorate their lustre and nacre.