Definitely not! Cultivated pearls, just like the natural ones, grow in live pearl mussels. Artificial pearls, on the other hand, do not grow in mussels – they are produced in factories out of different chemicals and substances. A popular technique for production of artificial pearls includes repeated dipping of a glass grain in a special substance and polishing. The shine of the artificial pearls is a reflection of the surface, while the luster of the natural pearls is deep and three-dimensional, coming from the inside of the pearl.
With proper care and attention, pearls could last for many generations to come.
Cosmetics, perfumes and hairsprays contain chemicals that could darken the lustre of the pearls. Therefore, it is advisable the jewels to be put on after the perfume, make-up and other cosmetics are already applied. It is recommended the pearls to be wiped with a soft damp cloth; soap could also be used for cleaning them. As pearls are delicate, it is preferable to keep them away from other jewellery that could damage their surface. The best way to preserve them is to keep them in a soft bag or in a separate jewellery box. It is not recommended to keep pearls in a safe for years. Pearls contain tiny particles of water, therefore it is not recommended to leave them in a dry environment for a long period of time. Such conditions could cause evaporation of the pearl’s moisture which leads to loss of the lustre of the pearls. Pearls that are frequently worn maintain their moisture from the air or from the body of the person who wears them.
There is a wide variety of pearl colours – white, pink, violet, peacock blue, cream-coloured, brown, golden, silver, combined. The way pearls get their colour is not clear enough yet. Their distinguishing colours are due to many different reasons: the chemical composition of water, the colour of the mussel they are grown in, etc. Pearls come in different shapes – round, oval, semi-spherical, teardrop-shaped, pear-shaped or irregularly shaped. The term “Baroque” is used for all other irregular and bizarre shapes of pearls. Due to their imperfect forms, they are least appreciated by the lovers of traditional pearl jewellery. “Baroque” pearls, however, could be no less lustrous than the other ones, and they could become part of unique jewellery. The size of pearls is determined by their diameter in millimetres. Pearls up to 3 mm are considered small, from 3 mm to 7 mm – middle-sized, and large pearls must have a diameter of over 7 mm.
For the untrained eye many of the pearls look alike. Size, form, purity of surface and brilliance are the factors that determine the price. Size depends on the age of the pearl mussel and the place where it is cultivated. In terms of the other parameters, pearls are grouped by trained specialists. There are different price segments, and pearls featuring top quality as per all criteria are extremely expensive.
As far as pearl colour is concerned, the “best” colour could hardly be determined. White peals, however, are the most popular ones. When buying your first piece of pearl jewellery, it is probably good to stick to the classic white colour. The colour of the pearls is the bearer of enchantment and variety.
- By a small scratch: Scratch the surface of the pearl gently with scissors or a knife. That would not damage a real pearl – just a small quantity of pearl powder will be left on the edge of the blade. If the pearl is artificial, a scratch will remain on its surface, and the thin surface could even be peeled off, thus revealing its plastic core.
- By touching them: Real pearls are cold, unlike artificial ones.
- Tooth test: Real pearls have fine grain structure, while artificial imitations feel completely flat and even when put between teeth