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Information About Pearls...

TYPES OF PEARLS
AKOYA PEARLS
Commonly known as cultured pearls grown in the Pinctada fukata oyster mainly in Japan. In the early 1890?s Mikimoto discovered how to insert a nucleus into the oyster and leaving it for 3 years the oyster would grow a thick coating of nacre. Nowadays the pearl is left in the oyster for varying lengths of time giving many different grades i.e. 9 months - very poor covering, 18 months ? good covering & longer for top quality pearls

FRESHWATER PEARLS
Grown in the Iketcho mussel in freshwater lakes, originally in Japan and now a large percentage in China along with other Asian countries. Pearls are produced by implanting pieces of mantle tissue from a mussel rather than a solid nucleus. This tissue dissolves as the pearl grows and becomes solid nacre. A large number of pearls are grown in each mussel at one time. They grow in pastel shades of lavender, pink and apricot - black coloured pearls are treated to make them dark in colour. The old style pearls were rice shaped but now they are grown in potato, button, rounds and in more recent times unusual shapes.

BLACK PEARLS
Grown in Pinctada margaritifera oyster (black lipped oyster). Mainly grown in Tahiti and the Cook Islands. Colour ranges from greenish/black to light grey and are usually 8.5mm to 15mm in size.

SOUTH SEA PEARLS
Grown in Pinctada maxima oyster mainly in North West Australia. Pearls are generally white and are 10mm and larger. Silvery pearls grow in Silver lipped oysters and golden pearls in Gold lipped oysters

PAUA PEARLS (BLUE PEARLS)
Grown in ?Haliotis Iris? a NZ abalone which is a single shell mollusc. Blue pearls are formed by inserting a seed beneath the mantle tissue. Currently only mabe pearls can be grown as paua eject spherical beads inserted into their living space. It is a very delicate operation as paua are haemophiliacs. Blue pearls are grown only in NZ.

Note - All of the above pearls are cultured pearls as they are initiated by man then the oyster or mussel does the rest.

SIMULATED PEARLS
All pearls that are not cultured are simulated pearls. However the main ones in recent years are shell based which have the same nucleus as cultured pearls but are covered with a manmade coating.



TESTING PEARLS
Pearls can be tested very easily to tell if they are cultured (all types) or simulated. Rub 2 pearls together. If they have a gritty feel they are cultured and if they are very smooth they are simulated. The old way of rubbing them on teeth is not very desirable (though it does work) for several reasons:
1. does not look good in front of a customer
2. not hygenic as pearls may be dirty
3. does not work if person testing has false teeth!!



CARE OF PEARLS
• All cultured and simulated pearls are affected by cosmetics, hair spray and perfume. They will dull and/or damage the nacre or coating.
• Pearls should be restrung regularly ? maybe every 2 years if worn often to keep them in good condition (looking beautiful)
• Pearls should not be worn or immersed in water as moisture may get in where they have been drilled and cause damage. Water can also damage the thread.



SUGGESTIONS FOR PEARL REPAIRS
1. Check if pearls are cultured. If so, count the pearls and write the number of pearls on repair packet. (If in doubt, count them).
2. Check if clasp is in working order. If new clasp is needed give as many details as possible as to what is required i.e. plated or 9ct etc.
3. Pearls that are dirty will be cleaned so new thread will not be made dirty when rethreaded.
4. If necklace is to be shortened please supply length required instead of number of beads to remove as length may vary due to different size knots etc.
5. Bracelet length average is 19cm but everyone has a different size wrist so it always pays to check.
6. Multi strands. Even if only one row is broken all rows should be rethreaded as the other rows will be in the same condition.
7. On most occasions a necklace that is broken will need rethreading and cannot be rejoined.
8. When a necklace is unknotted and the customer wants it knotted they should be made aware that this will add length. If there is a desired length it should be written on the packet so that the customer does not end up with a necklace too long for them.
9. Price lists are supplied so the cost of a repair can be given to customer if required. A quote should only be needed if repair is an unusual job.


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