Monies UNIQUE Asymmetric 6 Pearl Necklace

When: October 20, 2017

Pearls are the only jewelry adornments that come from the Earth already fully formed; they require literally no human intervention to make them into otherworldly masterpieces. Their moonlight mist quality is both ephemeral and mesmerizing. While they reflect the light, sparkling a thousand colors at once, they also hold a shape that is so organic, it is almost impossible to liken it to anything else. Each pearl is a completely unique, lustrous orb, and absolutely no two are alike. Perhaps it is for this reason they have been a favorite to some of the most unique and iconic women of history such as Cleopatra, Coco Chanel, Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy, and Grace Kelly.

Natural pearls are extremely rare today. There are only so many handfuls of natural saltwater and freshwater pearls that are collected each year and this extreme rarity is reflected in their prices. Their cultured counterparts are abundant and equally as beautiful however.

Cultured pearls make up most of the modern pearl market today—their commercial production began in Japan in the 1920s after Mikimoto Kōkichi perfected the art of producing a perfectly round pearl from farmed oysters. Cultured pearls are produced by farmers implanting oysters with a small synthetic bead or a small piece of mantle tissue. Cultivated pearls are real pearls, with little difference between them and their natural counterparts.

There are many different kinds of pearls, although oysters are their best known source. Many members of the Mollusca family produce pearls, which includes clams, scallops, mussels, abalone, and even conch snails. A pearl is brought forth to life when a small particle gets inside the fleshy part of the mollusk…to seal off the irritation, the mollusk coats the irritant in a combination of calcium carbonate, the mineral aragonite, and a compound called conchiolin (which is the same compound that forms shells)—this combination is what we call nacre. The nacre coated irritant inside of the mollusk shell results in a smooth round drop with an absolute serene beauty, which we call a pearl.

The longer the pearl stays in the shell, the more nacre forms and the larger the pearl will be. It can take anywhere from 1 to 20 years to create a pearl, depending on the species of mollusk and what size of pearl is desired. Most pearls have a hardness between 2.5-4.5 and can be dissolved in vinegar because of their calcium carbonate base. A real pearl will feel slightly gritty when scraped with your fingernail (or tooth), as opposed to completely smooth (think of the feel of plastic).

Monies pearl jewelry

The most important thing to consider when choosing a pearl, besides if it is naturally harvested or cultured, is its luster. The thinner and more numerous the layers of nacre in a pearl, the more beautiful the luster will be. The overlapping layers break up the light when it dapples on the surface of the pearl, giving the pearl a multidimensional translucency and iridescence. The finest pearls have a very high luster and reflect light extremely well. When buying cultured pearls, the nacre thickness should be the biggest consideration as it has a significant impact on the pearl’s quality. A thin nacre will give the pearl a browned or muddied appearance and will have less translucency and iridescence.

Shape, color, and overtone also makes up the value of a pearl. A pearl has both a body color and an overtone. The body color is the base color of the pearl, which is usually white, black, or a color such as blue or green. The overtone is the ephemeral color that seems to float around the pearl. Today, the most highly valued pearl coloration is a white body color with a pink overtone, a colorway that is considered “classic” and is most commonly seen in Akoya pearls. Ivory and silvery white overtones on a white body color are also popular. Akoya pearls, freshwater pearls, and White South Sea pearls all can have white body colors. Tahitian black pearls naturally have a grey to black body color with flywing (green) or peacock (green and pink) overtones. Overtones of blue, pink, silver, or copper are also common for Tahitian pearls. Abalone pearls are iridescent pearls from the abalone sea snail featuring a green or blue body color. The body color of Golden South Sea pearls ranges from champagne to deep yellow.

Pearls can grow in many shapes, but the roundest of pearls are traditionally the most highly prized. A baroque (or asymmetrical) pearl can also be absolutely beautiful, with an added layer of superb uniqueness. Mother of Pearl is the iridescent layer of nacre found on the inside of mollusk’s shells and is often used for jewelry pieces that require a large or flat piece of iridescent nacre to complete its beauty.

Pearl’s dreamlike essence has made them a favorite of ancient civilizations, royalty, and the most powerful women across the world’s many cultures. Their ancient symbolism is tied to both the moon and Venus for their lunar shape and association with the watery realms. As depicted by Sandro Botticelli in the 1480s, Venus is born from the sea, emerging fully formed from a giant scallop shell to grace the world with love, beauty, and desire. She is the mythic form of a pearl, perhaps making it obvious why we have a fascination with the beautiful bauble treasures.

Pearls have inspired countless myths and folktales. With their cultivation dating back to 13th Century China—in Chinese folklore, almost all of the dragons are depicted as guarding a magical pearl under their chin: in this reference, the pearl is considered a jewel of omnipotence, held in the highest regard by the dragons. In ancient mythologies the pearl is often a representation of the journey of the soul along the path to perfection.