Pearl gemstoneHome ➤ Encyclopedia of gems ➤ Pearl gemstone
Physical properties of pearls
|Hardness:||3-4 out of 10 on the Mohs scale|
|Color:||white, yellowish, silver, golden, cream, blue, green, black, grey, pink|
Characteristics of pearls
Pearls (pearl, margarite, pearl, stingray, Burmitz or Kafim grain) are one of the most unusual and unique gemstones in their properties.
After all, pearls are a waste product of shellfish (mussels and oysters). We owe the appearance to the fact that sometimes foreign bodies (grains of sand) get into pearl mollusks. That is, the presence of a pearl in a shell is rather an accident or a mistake of nature.
As soon as a foreign body enters the shell of a mollusk, aragonite begins to deposit on it, and, layer by layer, the pearl begins to grow. However, this process is very slow. To reach the size of a pea, a pearl must lie in a shell for twelve years.
The main types (grades) of natural pearls:
- Black sea pearls (Klam). Produced in Tahiti, in the Gulf of Mexico. Smooth, highly lustrous, pearl iridescence is very weak or completely absent. The color is not black, but rather dark blue-gray.
- Pearl Conch. Produced in the Gulf of California. Rare. Pearls have a rich pinkish-red color, completely devoid of iridescence.
- Pearl Oriental. Mined in India, the Bahamas. The color is pale pink, almost white. It has pronounced pearl overflows.
- Cream pearl. Produced in the Persian Gulf. It has pronounced pearl overflows. Relatively cheap.
- Pearls are silvery, yellowish. Produced in Ceylon. It has pronounced pearl overflows.
- Pearl light green. Produced in the Sea of Japan. It has pronounced pearl overflows.
- Pearls are white. It is mined off the coast of Australia and Japan. Very light, almost without impurities of other colors. It has pronounced pearl overflows.
- Pearls are white, translucent. Produced in Venezuela. It has a strong pearly sheen.
- Pearls are blue, grey, lead grey. Produced in Indonesia. Has a dark core and appears dark. But unlike black pearls, it has overflows.
- Pearls are pale golden and brownish golden. Produced in Panama. It has pronounced pearl overflows.
- Pearls are reddish brown. Mined off the coast of Mexico. It has pronounced pearl overflows.
- River pearls, freshwater. The cheapest type of natural pearls. Small, without a strong shine of sea pearls, but with pronounced overflows.
Known varieties of cultivated (grown on special farms) pearls:
- Japanese Akoya pearls. It is considered the standard of quality, it shines well. Color - pink, silvery, greenish.
- Pearls of the South Seas. Color - white, golden, pink, brown, silvery, greenish. Matte gloss.
- Pearl of Tahiti. Marine, color - black. Good shine.
- Pearls do not always turn out round, sometimes aragonite forms various bizarre outgrowths on a grain of sand. However, only perfectly round pearls are highly valued.
In addition, pearls have another unique property - they are subject to the action of time. Over time, the pearls darken and lose their luster (they say - “sick”), and after one and a half or two hundred years, the pearls completely blacken.
And the pearls found in ancient burials completely crumbled to dust at the first touch.
Even the weight of pearls is measured not in carats, but in pearl grains (0.05 g or a quarter of a carat).
The color of pearls is white, yellow, blue, red and black. Pearls are freshwater and saltwater. Sea pearls are much more expensive than freshwater pearls.
One of the largest pearls to date has a weight of 1800 grains, and its length is 51 mm.
Some pearls even got their own names and made it to the list of the most famous gems.
What pearl jewelry is not made in the world, and in Rus' there is even a special art - sewing with pearls.
Pearls have been known to mankind since very ancient times, and even more - as early as the 13th century, the Chinese cultivated pearls artificially - they opened the shells and placed grains of sand or small Buddha images there. And in the 16th century, artificial pearls were already being created with might and main (pearls were made from corals and hematite, glass, mother-of-pearl pastes and other materials). Now, in many countries, special pearl farms have been set up where pearls are grown (the technology is approximately the same as that used by the Chinese).
Due to the large number of cultured pearls, the price of this gemstone has dropped significantly, but varietal pearls with a bright sheen and perfect shape are still very expensive.
How much is a pearl
Prices for pearls depend primarily on its origin. Pearls of natural origin are valued very highly - from $ 1000. Since there are few places left where it is still mined, and the extraction process itself is laborious. And on sale such pearls are rare.
Much more common in jewelry stores is cultured pearls (grown). For the price it is quite affordable. Even good quality - beautiful color and regular shape - pearls will cost no more than $ 500. And every year the prices for cultured pearls are declining, as the technology of its production is being improved.
|★ Sapphire gemstone|
|See also:||★ Malachite gemstone|
|★ Chrysocolla gemstone|