Size is measured in millimeters. Round pearls are measured by diameter, other shapes are measured by length and width.
There are three main categories of shape: round, semi-round, and baroque. There are seven standard shapes that fall into these categories.
Pearl color has three components: body color, overtone and orient. Body color is the overall color of the pearl. Overtone refers to one or more noticeable translucent colors that overlie the body color. Orient is a form of iridescence that appears to be on or just below the surface. Not all pearls display all three characteristics.
Luster is the light reflected from the surface of the pearl. It is described by its intensity. » top
Most pearls have natural imperfections or blemishes as surface characteristics. Surface condition is judged by the size, number, location, visibility, and types of blemishes. Blemishes affect the pearl's appearance. Only a small percentage of the annual production is completely blemish free. » top
Nacre quality is determined by its thickness and layering. If the nucleus is discernible, the nacre is too thin. A chalky appearance might result from thin nacre or poor nacre crystallization. top
Quality Matching is as important as individual pearl quality. Irrespective how good the quality of each pearl may be, if the matching criteria is not good, the value of the item decreases. Therefore, for necklaces, earrings and brooches, good matching is essential, perfect matching ideal.
Our standards of quality are based on the JPEA (Japan Pearl Exporters Association) inspection criteria and tag system. » top
Historians, focusing on several periods in our history, will more often than not narrate and depict pearls as the favorite gem used either as adornments or jewelry.
Men and women honored the pearl as a unique jewel. During the Egyptian, Persian and Hindu empires, the pearl was regarded as an exclusive article. The Romans, later, became acquainted with pearls through the formerly mentioned civilizations.
Roman opulence led to the use of pearls as an adornment in furniture. Roman women established a custom to wear pearls in their sleep to remind them of their wealth in moments of awakening.
The Crusaders were influential in establishing the introduction of pearls in European countries. Upon their return from the Orient, the Crusaders brought pearls which aided in spreading the notoriety of these gems. Following the Crusaders, throughout centuries, pearls were used ostentatiously by the lords, ladies and knights. The popularity of pearls, at this period in history, was referred to as the "Pearl Age".
Prominent figures throughout history, such as Queen Elizabeth and Catherine de Medici, were great admirers of pearls. Portraits will often prove this adoration for the pearl, a most lustrous gem. Popularity became so extreme, and the pearl so opulent, that royalty often tried to surpass royalty in its extravagant use.
Discoveries of freshwater pearls, in burial mounds in Ohio, confirm the use of pearls by American Indians as an ornament. Spanish adventurers, and later the conquistadors, were seduced by the knowledge of the existence of pearls, in that period, in America.
Irrespective of the period in History, the pearl has always been respected as a precious gem. It has played it's prominent part in peoples lives. At OM International, we are proud to play our role in the continuity of it's history. We value tradition and take pride in appreciating the beauty of the pearl, much like generations past as well as future generations to come. » top
HOW TO BUY CULTURED PEARLS
When you consider purchasing cultured pearls, the first thing you look for is luster, as the intimate and living warm glow catches the eye first and compliments the wearer enhancing her loveliness far more than any other virtue of the pearl, provided of course, they are also the correct color.
The ideal guide for color matching is that the pearls should match the complexion or, in some cases, contrast with it, depending on the type of skin. If you put a strand of pearls on the back of your arm, you should look for a color that complements your skin, neither blending in too much or contrasting too drastically.
Uniformity of matching of the strand is also important. You should coil the strand selected in your hand, then see how well the pearls are matched. By doing so, you will be able to see if there are any pearls which do not match the rest of the strand.
A third factor when buying pearls is to check for blemishes. The fewer the blemishes, the better the quality. Pearls are more easily checked for blemishes while unstrung.
A general thought to consider before purchasing your pearls is to consider whether you want something that looks nice and impressive, but costs considerably less than gem quality merchandise, or if you want only the best, in which case there is no alternative but to buy the best. If you choose the first option, look for pearls that are not perfectly round, or slightly off-round. This factor, usually hard to see when strung, will help to lower the price because it is a departure from perfection.
If you are interested in saving money you should also consider size. You should select the largest pearl that looks good on you. Try one larger and one smaller to make sure of the proper size for you. » top
Pearls are more delicate than most gem materials, so they require special care. Store pearls in a soft pouch or separate container to minimize contact with other jewelry.
- Clean pearls regularly with a soft, damp cloth or lambskin chamois.
- Periodically clean pearls in a solution of warm water and non-detergent soap, lay pearls on a clean towel and dry completely before wearing.
- Periodically restring strands of pearls. The silk string should be clean, the knots should be tight, and there should be no slack between the knots and pearls.
- Never ultrasonic or stream-clean pearls.
- Use only commercial jewelry cleaners that are made specifically for pearls.
Be sure to remove pearl jewelry before applying cosmetics, perfume or hairspray, before swimming in chlorinated pools, before doing housework or gardening, and before exercising! » top
Note: this information has been taken from the GIA for informational purposes only.