The very mention of the word “Pearl” conjures images that are romantic, luxurious and even adventurous. The classic simplicity of the pearl has elevated the perception of this natural beauty to the highest level of individual and personal appreciation.
For centuries, the discovery and collection of these remarkable, organically formed jewels has spawned stories of death defying adventures in the recovery and trading of the shellfish and the gem itself. There is not a treasure chest spoken of or illustrated that is not replete with strands of the lustrous globes once traded as currency and worn only by the most noble courtiers – usually male.
Historical imagery documents the trail of the Pearl as an abundant accessory to the very powerful. From the Maharajahs of India to the Royalty of Europe, the association of Pearls with the high and mighty and the controlled distribution of the Pearl created an aspirational allure of Pearl that has never diminished.
In the last century, the creation of the Mikimoto process for culturing Pearls enabled humankind to protect and assist the shellfish in surviving the environmental and ecological challenges that were depleting global supply. The success of the Cultured Pearl process generated a predictable supply of Pearls of good quality. When film star Marilyn Monroe appeared on screen wearing a simple strand of Cultured Pearls, a fashion “must have” was born. The Cultured Pearl process found instant success in filling the need of so many to share in what is essentially a product of nature co-produced with humankind at price points that were achievable.
The mystique of the Pearl continues to be an important element in the valuation of the Pearl. Recovery of Pearls formed naturally outside of a controlled environment is extremely rare. Consequently, the need and opportunity for the cultivation process has been fed by an ongoing universal fascination with this remarkable gemstone.
While industry efforts continue to try to establish tangible and measurable standards by which to value the Pearl, the task is daunting. Each Pearl formed is a product of a natural process that may or may not be initiated in a controlled environment. The outcome of the process is only somewhat predictable and never certain. Consequently, the depth of the luster, the surface complexion, and the degree of roundness distinguish each Pearl within the harvest. Finding and selecting sufficient numbers of like pearls to create matched strands is both an arduous task and a delightful reward.
Remarkable women throughout the 20th century have proven that Cultured Pearls are a correct and important accessory in any situation. Coco Channel, Audrey Hepburn, Princess Diana, Jacqueline Kennedy, Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey consider Pearls in all sizes, colors, lengths, dimensions and species to be signature elements in the expression of their personal style.
Today, the intensity of the fashion statement has not dimmed in the least. In fact, a global commitment to Pearl as a “Fashion must have” has never been more widely supported. Scan the pages of the Fashion press, view the images from Haute Couture runways, walk the aisles of any Jewelry Trade Show and the Pearl is everywhere. Pearls have become as highly valued when worn in the classic, formal style as they are when worn in the carefree, casual chic style of the modern, self-confident women. A market for men’s accessories is also emerging in a limited but fascinating way. The demand today is so fashion oriented that a high line retailer has opened a series of locations dedicated exclusively to the presentation of Pearl Jewelry.
Mixing Pearls with gold and silver, both complimentary and contrasting gemstones and causing them to be worn in multiple ways and means has broadly expanded the awareness and acceptance of Pearls as so much more than “grandmother’s beads”. Once worn only “after six”, at weddings, for dress up, creative presentations of pearls in non-traditional formats allow then to be worn any time and all the time.
Innovative styling has allowed strands of fifty inches and longer to be worn as multiple row collars or multi-length strands. Creative technological advances have nurtured the production of larger and more lustrous Pearls at prices that are readily accessible to the fashion savvy consumer.
Once found only in the realm of the highly specialized gemologist or geologist, knowledge of the Pearl from a clinical, scientific perspective is now available to everyone via Internet search. But that knowledge is only the beginning. To appreciate the beauty, mystery and allure of the Pearl, one must experience the Pearl firsthand.
South Sea Cultured Pearls and the Paspaley Guarantee
Selecting a South Sea Cultured Pearl
How to Buy Pearls
Tahitian Cultured Pearls
Akoya Cultured Pearls
Freshwater Cultured Pearls
Mabé Cultured Pearls