There’s quite a variety of pearls on the market today‐‐‐ freshwater, saltwater, natural, cultured, and
imitation (glass), all in various shapes, sizes and colors. I had the opportunity to speak with Denise Dunn, professional jewelry designer, creator, and owner of 7 Lucky Stones, about a girl's second best friend, Pearls!
(Denise Dunn - Owner of 7 Lucky Stones teaching me about the different types of pearls)
2 Types of Pearls:
Freshwater: come from mussels in lakes, rivers & ponds
Saltwater: formed inside oysters in the sea
Natural saltwater pearls are rare and expensive, therefor most pearls today are cultured. Cultured saltwater pearls are more expensive, due to production costs and not quality.
The Business of Pearls:Most pearls are grown on pearl farms in China or Japan, but you can find North America’s only freshwater pearl farm not too far from Memphis, TN. It’s located on Birdsong Creek, off the Tennessee River’s Kentucky Lake, in Camden, TN.
To grow the pearls, farmers surgically insert an irritant, called a nuclei, into the mollusk. They usually use a piece of tissue in freshwater mussels and a small mother of pearl bead in saltwater oysters. (A grain of sand—just a myth) Ten to fifty nuclei can be inserted into one mollusk. The mollusks then start to produce layers of nacre around the nuclei. The pearls can be harvested anywhere from 1 to 8 years later. Not all will produce pearls, and it could take thousands of mollusks to produce a single 16’’ strand of uniform pearls.
Protect your Pearls.Pearls should never be stored in airtight containers, but in a cloth pouch and should
be cleaned with a soft, damp cloth. Since their luster can be diminished by lotions, perfumes, makeup and hairspray, a good rule is “last to put on & first to take off”.
Did You Know?Pearls are the world’s oldest gemstone. Ancient cultures referred to them as “tears” from their gods.
One legend beautifully describes these gems as “dewdrops filled with moonlight, which fall into the
ocean and get swallowed by the oysters.” And don’t forget the Pearly Gates, quoted in King James.
The pearl is the official gemstone for Tennessee. Although most freshwater cultured pearls are grown infarms overseas, 90% of them originate with a mussel exported from Tennessee’s River.
Win a set of Pearls - Courtesy of 7 Lucky Stones
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