Why aren't pearls more popular?

Blair Gowrie By Blair Gowrie, 3rd Sep 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

Pearls are different from gemstones in many ways. For example, pearls come from beneath water, whereas gemstones come from beneath the earth.

Pearls are elegant - pearls have prestige.

When Queen Elizabeth leaves Buckingham Palace and appears in public she almost invariably wears three strands of pearls round her neck. And it was the same with her mother before her. And if we observe other members of royal families and the aristocracy in many countries, we will see that pearls are popular with them too.

But why do pearls seem to appeal to only certain classes of society? Why don’t we see the younger generation and the not-so-well off wearing them too?

Well, perhaps it’s because young people think that pearls are hopelessly unfashionable, out of date, and suitable only for older women. But as they age, they will probably change their minds. For what could be so simple and so elegant as a string of pearls around one’s neck, each pearl lustrous and perfectly matched.

In the past pearls had to be harvested from oyster shells beneath the sea on a hit or miss basis. One hundred shells might produce a few pearls in assorted sizes, but the beginning of the last century saw the start of the cultured pearl business. Oysters, or other mollusks, are raised in enclosed sea farms, or in ponds or rivers for freshwater pearls, are then seeded with a nucleus, and held in pens for the two to three years required for the pearl to develop. This has lead to a dramatic increase in the production of pearls, and the pearls that one can buy nowadays are nearly all cultured pearls.

The main producing countries for saltwater pearls are Australia, the south sea countries ( from Burma to Tahiti), and Japan, and for freshwater pearls, China, Japan and the USA. All these countries have the right water quality and temperature for the raising of mollusks

Pearls are different from gemstones in many ways Firstly, they are a product from under the sea or a body of fresh water, not from under the earth. Secondly, they can be used immediately without being cut, and thirdly, it takes only a few years to produce a pearl, whereas it takes tens of thousands of years for a diamond to form. And, lastly, cultured pearls are created by man.

The lustre of a pearl goes deep – it’s not only on the surface - it reflects the brilliance and inner glow from the layers of nacre within. And there are many colours to choose from, white, grey, pink, gold and black.

So next time you see some pearls, don’t just pass them by. Look at them, study them closely, and you will begin to appreciate why they have become royalty’s favourite fashion accessory.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
3rd Sep 2011 (#)

Extremely interesting. Thank you, macdon35.

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author avatar Blair Gowrie
22nd Dec 2011 (#)

Learn about Buckingham Palace too.
And about diamonds.

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