Learn about Pearl Production for Jewellery
Copyright ©2012 By Elise
Pearls and pearl jewellery have fascinated us for thousands of years. Historically, pearls as jewellery have long been used to adorn and enhance our appearance for a range of formal and informal occasions. But how much do we know about the pearl, the science and the characteristics that make it so alluring? OK, so let's learn a little more about pearls, shall we?
A Product of Marine Life
Pearls are formed naturally by molluscs in either salt or fresh water. There are thousands of species but most pearl-producing molluscs are bivalves (not just oysters as most of us think). A bivalve mollusc has a shell with two halves connected by a hinge. A clam would be a good example. Only a few of these species produce jewellery quality pearls to be used in commercial production. Edible oysters can occasionally produce a pearl but they are not useful for jewellery.
Pearls are formed as a reaction to a parasite or foreign object within the mollusc shell. In modern pearl farms this "parasite" is of an even shape and introduced deliberately, known as 'nucleation'. Natural sea pearls are rare and can be very uneven. So these days virtually 100% of commercial pearls are farmed or cultured en masse for the jewellery market. This controlled environment makes it easier and cheaper to produce pearls which can be graded under a quality control system.
Pearl farming also leaves less room for error and more chance of a successful 'crop'. However, as this is a natural process it can still be a risky business. The molluscs can suffer from disease, water pollution, storm damage or severe weather fluctuations.
Pearls are never rushed. The molluscs are nursed through various stages until they ready for nucleation, whereby a very small bead is surgically implanted into the mollusc. This foreign object causes irritation, so the mollusc counteracts this by secreting nacre around the object. This nacre eases the irritation but builds up over time to produce a pearl. It is possible for a larger mollusc to produce more than one pearl.
Nucleation is not always successful as the mollusc can reject the bead or turn ill from the surgery, even die from this nucleation. If successful, it can take from two to five years to produce a pearl! As the pearl grows, the molluscs are monitored in beds and allowed to develop fully.
Pearl Harvest Time
When ready, pearls must be harvested by manually extracting the pearl from the mollusc. They are washed, dried, and sorted into general categories and sizes ready for an expert evaluation and further sorting. It is these 'raw' pearls that are then sold to jewellers, pearl traders, manufacturers and pearl dealers for production and design to the retail markets across the globe.
Be sure to look out for our article about the physical features of the pearl such as nacre, colours and lustre. In the meantime, if you are interesting in learning more about modern pearl production please search WikiPedia.com for "Pearl" or visit the pearl-guide.com (an excellent resource about pearls).
Pearl, Pearls, Pearls Jewellery Online
If you would like further details about our pearl jewellery or would like to become one of our nominated jewellery partners, please call our office on +44 (0) 1757 633239 or email email@example.com. We will be very delighted to advise you.
Author Notes: c2012 Copyright. Amelia Grace is a freelance writer, a blogger and a web designer. She publishes articles, blogs and press releases online. Her specialist subjects are: search engine optimisation, jewellery, team building, web design and modern music. However she is often commissioned to write many types of articles and reviews. Works are not to be copied or re-published or adapted or syndicated without express permission from the original author.