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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pearl Jewelry - The Symbol Of Deep Love

Posted by patrick

By Fred Gagnon

Pearl jewelry is an all occasion jewelry that goes with any type of wardrobe. Pearl is the birthstone for June and a symbol that shows deep love. Pearl is a very rare, very fine, very admirable and very valuable object of beauty. Pearl jewelry is elegant and classic as well as hip and trendy.

A pearl is a roundish, hard object found within a soft tissue of a living shelled mollusk. The epithelial cells of the mantle secrete it. It is a curtain of tissue in the middle of shell and body mass. It is made up of calcium carbonate, a common substance in rocks and shells of mollusks. The concentrated layers of calcium carbonate deposits found in pearls are in very tiny crystalline form.

A pearl is formed inside when a parasite or an irritating microscopic object becomes trapped within the mollusk's mantle folds. The mollusk, being irritated by the intruder, secretes the calcium carbonate and conchiolin to cover the irritant. This process is referred to as encystation, which eventually forms a pearl. This secretion process continues such that the pearl keeps increasing in size, as long as the animal lives.

Nacre, also known as mother of pearl, is an inner shell layer that is strong, resilient and iridescent. Secretion of nacre around the irritating object builds a pearl within the body of the mollusk. But not all mollusks have nacre, some mollusks have an inner shell layer that is porcellaneous. This type of mollusk can also produce pearls, which may even be highly valued commercially.

There are saltwater pearls and freshwater pearls. Saltwater pearls come from marine pearl oysters. A freshwater pearl of course comes from freshwater mussels. Saltwater pearls are valued higher than freshwater pearls.

Valuable pearls are those that occur in the wild, but these are scarce. An because of its scarcity, culturing or farming of pearls has become successful. Cultured pearls are pearls grown in pearl-producing mollusks. Though produced with the aid of human intervention, they are also considered genuine pearls as they do not differ from their natural pearl counterparts.

There are saltwater cultured pearls and freshwater cultured pearls. Saltwater cultured pearls are pearls cultured in a saline environment. They are produced by introducing a rounded bead of freshwater mussel shell into the gonad of a host mollusk. Freshwater cultured pearls are produced by creating small incisions to the mantle organ of a host mussel.

Pearls are considered to be gemstones and are valued for their translucence and luster and for the delicate play of surface color. Pearls come in different shapes. There are round, rice-shaped, pear-shaped, button-shaped, or irregular (baroque). But, the ideal pearl is perfectly round and smooth.

The quality of pearl, or pearl grade, is determined by its size, luster, shape, color, orient, and surface perfection. Luster depends upon the reflection, refraction and diffraction of light from the translucent layers. A pearl's luster is finer if it has thinner and more numerous layers. If successive layers overlap, the light falling on the surface breaks up and the pearl displays iridescence.

The largest pearl known is the "Pearl of Allah", which weighs-- lb or 6.4 kilograms. It was discovered in Palawan, Philippines in'34 by an anonymous Filipino Muslim diver. It was found from a giant clam, which is a non-nacreous mollusk. The pearl is glossy like a china plate and not pearly as it did not grow in a pearl oyster.

A pearl is an organic gem and is the oldest known gem. For centuries, it was considered to be the most valuable. It is the only gem created by a living creature and the only gem that requires no cutting or polishing before use. Though it is delicate, it has been successfully used in jewelry for thousands of years.

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