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E D U C A T I O N   Pearl Education << back
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P E A R L   E D U C A T I O N

Pearls have been harvested for thousands of years to create beautiful jewels and family heirlooms. They are naturally formed when a grain of sand or other irritant enters the shell of an oyster, clam, or mussel and is coated with a shiny substance called nacre. Because the chance of finding a natural pearl is less than one in a million, nearly all pearls sold today are cultured, meaning they were made by implanting an irritant into an oyster to produce the pearl.

Sea of Diamonds is proud to offer not only a wonderful selection of Akoya, South Sea, Tahitian, and Freshwater Pearls, but also the information that you need to make an educated decision when choosing which pearls are right for you.

So let's begin; here are 7 quality factors to consider when purchasing your special pearl:

Understanding Color - The beautiful color of a pearl is unlike that of any other gem. There are 6 main body colors: white, cream, pink, black, gold and silver.

Understanding Overtone - Pearls are fascinating to look at because of their spectacular flashes of secondary colors called overtone. Overtones are the special shimmer or rolling color that a pearl has when the light hits it just right. Overtone colors are most often rose or green.

Understanding Luster - Part of the magic of pearls is their glow. Luster refers to a pearl's surface shine. This is created by the layers of nacre that have been coated over the irritant. As the pearl is gradually formed, layer after layer of this striking substance increases both the size and beauty of the pearl.

Understanding Shape - During the formation process, not all nacre coats are layered evenly, creating pearls of differing shapes. Pearls with a round shape are the rarest and most valuable. Other shape examples are baroque or button.

Understanding Size - It is fair to say that size has the greatest effect in determining the price of a pearl. Of the saltwater pearls, the largest produced are the South Sea and Tahitian varieties, followed by the Akoya.

Understanding Surface Markings - It is normal for any natural product to have imperfections or character traits. With regard to pearls, the marks or bumps are referred to as blemishes. A lightly or minimally blemished surface is absolutely acceptable.

Understanding Matching - It is very important to carefully examine pearls to see how well matched they are for size, shape, surface, color and luster. This is especially important when viewing necklaces and bracelets. Lack of uniformity detracts from the overall beauty of the item, and therefore, the value.

Making a Choice

As a simple guideline, select pearls according to skin color. Rose compliments fair skin, cream colored pearls enhance olive-toned skin, and black pearls suit everyone! Fortunately, there is a wide range available, making it easy for you to find one that suits your needs.

At Sea of Diamonds we are pleased to offer beautiful pearls that will not only fit your budget, but with proper care, will also become personal and family treasures for years to come.

Now that you have an understanding of the important pearl quality factors, let's explore the variety of cultured pearls available:

Akoya Pearls

The most popular pearls, Akoya, are those that have been cultured and grown in cold saltwater oysters (Pinctada Imbricata) throughout the world, most notably in Japan. These pearls are difficult to grow; requiring years of tender care. The yield is certainly worth the wait. Akoya pearls occur in a range of size, mostly from 4.00 mm up to 9.00 mm. They are recognized for their overall smoothness, luster, body color and subtle overtones; all qualities that make them a classic beauty.

If you are searching for timeless elegance, consider Akoya pearls. At Sea of Diamonds we are proud to offer a wide selection Akoya pearl jewelry.

South Sea Pearls

South Sea Pearls are breathtaking due to their large size, often 10.00 mm to 25.00 mm. These pearls are cultured in warm saltwater in a species of oyster (Pinctada Maxima) that is the largest oyster in the world capable of producing a cultured pearl. These oysters are extremely sensitive, making cultivation difficult. It is the complexity of the process as well as the size that causes these pearls to be rarer and more expensive than others. South Sea pearls occur in white, gold and silver.

If you are searching for pearl jewelry that will make a lasting impression, South Sea Pearls may be right for you. Sea of Diamonds has collected a dazzling array of these treasures from the sea just for you.

Tahitian Pearls

Tahitian Pearls are cultivated in a species of black-lipped oyster (Pinctada Margaritifera) that resides in warm saltwater. The oyster is capable of producing large pearls of up to 20.00 mm. The pearls occur in captivating colors; hues of metallic silver to black with overtones of green, blue, or purple abound. These pearls create an instant dramatic effect that is like no other.

Tahitian Pearls are large, lustrous and rare, all qualities that increase their value. For a gift that will delight and enchant, Sea of Diamonds offers these unique pearls in a range of settings, sure to please even the most discriminating of tastes.

Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater Pearls are typically those that have been cultured in China, Japan and the United States. These pearls are grown in mussels that may produce up to 30 pearls at a time. Freshwater Pearls generally range in size from 2.00 to 7.00 mm. Historically, they were recognized by their irregular "rice crispy" shapes. Today, the freshwater pearl culturing process has advanced dramatically in China, where they are now able to grow freshwater pearls similar in appearance to Akoya pearls.

Freshwater pearls are available at a fraction of the cost of Akoya pearls due to the fact that they more plentiful, less symmetrical and typically smaller. However, they still offer an amazing level of classic beauty and style. Sea of Diamonds provides a large selection of Freshwater pearls in a variety of settings to ensure that you can choose an exceptional piece of pearl jewelry regardless of your budget.


To maintain the beauty and luster of your pearls, it is important to understand proper care and handling of your treasured gems from the sea. Pearls are soft and very sensitive to their environment. Perfume, hairspray, body lotion, perspiration and make-up attack the pearl's luster and color.

  • Apply perfume, hairspray and make-up prior to pearls; allow you skin to absorb before putting on a necklace or bracelet.
  • When touching up make-up or perfume, place a tissue or cloth over the pearls first.
  • In hot climates where you are prone to perspire, consider wearing something other than pearls.
  • After wearing, gently wipe pearls with a soft cloth.
  • Allow pearls to return to normal room temperature prior to storing.
  • In strands, check for stretched or soiled silk, this indicates a weakening.
  • Have pearls restrung with knots tightly up against each pearl.

To see that your pearls stay beautiful, be mindful of what you are exposing them to. It is not recommended to store them in plastic as pearls need to breathe. Consider storing your treasured pearls in a soft cloth or lined jewelry box to prevent scratching.

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