(Magnificent natural pearl and diamond necklace, image courtesy of Sotheby’s.)
These little orbs are first housed by oysters on the ocean floor then by glass showcases on land in quaint settings where people go to purchase a little bit of beauty to light up their lives or simply to benefit from a bit of retail therapy.
Pearls have, since time immemorial, been a subject of absolute fascination.
Lustre is of prime importance for it is what determines the quality and value of a pearl first and foremost and this can be derived from the reflections upon its surface, whether they are bright and sharp or blurry and unclear.
The iridescent quality of a pearl also known as the nacre is the thin film covering the pearl. The nucleus is visible under the nacre, and the appearance can be hazy or clear depending on the thickness of the nacre which in turn decides just how indestructible the gem is.
Appearances do mean a lot when it comes to gems, any scratches on the surface of the pearl could lessen its value.
Colours can range from soft and subtle to sharp and bright, dark to light and in shades of white, cream, yellow and pink to blues greens and black. These can be the overall colour; the body of the pearl, the translucent colours that cover the dominant colour which is called the overtone and the Orient colour which looks similar to the colours of the rainbow which seem to be right at the top.
(Rare and Impressive natural pearl and diamond tiara, Chaumet, 1920; image courtesy of Sotheby’s.)
The shape most desirable are, of course, the round one but those pearls that come in the shapes of pears, an oval or irregular shapes; baroque pearls are also quite fascinating.
Larger pearls are of more value as well, in comparison to the ones of a smaller size.
Last and certainly not the least, it is of significance that the pearls match one another especially when they are to be strung together or in order to form a set. This is when it all comes together, size, shape, colour, surface quality, nacre and lustre!
More information in the next post!