We use sterling silver for all our clasps and most of the silver details in our jewellery. If base metals are used this will be mentioned in the description of the piece.
We use high grade German wire for stringing our necklaces and quality silk thread for knotting pearls.
We use mainly freshwater cultured pearls. See below for further explanations and descriptions of various pearls.
REAL PEARLS CAN BE NATURAL OR CULTURED.
To test if a pearl is real ie. natural and/or cultured - rub it across your teeth. Real pearls feel gritty whilst fakes are smooth to the touch.
Be aware that shapes and sizes vary slightly with their own individual markings. Flaws occur naturally in the course of a pearl’s formation. These imperfections are an indication of authenticity and whilst they can influence the quality and value of the pearl, it is the lustre which is of the utmost importance. Size is not necessarily the most important factor.
Pearls can be many shapes and this is a personal choice. Some people favour Baroque (misshapen pearls), whilst others prefer the round shape. Then again, some prefer circle or ringed where the pearl is marked by a series of rings on the surface, known as “circlé pearls”.
Pearls are knotted for 2 reasons….ie to provide a space between the beads to prevent them rubbing against each other and also for security. When a strand breaks only 1 or 2 pearls may be lost rather than the whole length. All our pearls are knotted on various sizes of high grade silk thread.
Pearls should be worn regularly as natural body oils are good for them. Over time natural perspiration will damage the silk thread so pearls should be restrung every 3-4 years. They should also be stored in a separate cloth pouch to protect them from being damaged by other jewellery in your collection.
NEVER use perfume or hairspray whilst wearing pearls as this can strip the surface or nacre of the pearl. If necessary use hairspray BEFORE putting on your pearls, and use perfume behind the ears and on arms NOT on the throat or chest. Pearls should always be the LAST thing you put on.
NATURAL pearls are rare and expensive and difficult to harvest.
CULTURED pearls are the most commonly used today as they are affordable, (although the South Sea pearls are the most expensive in the world. ) This is a process pioneered by Mikimoto in Japan in the late 1880s and perfected in early 20th C whereby the oyster is seeded with a piece of shell and carefully cultivated in controlled conditions.
FRESHWATER pearls are cultivated in rivers mainly in China today, whilst saltwater pearls are obviously cultivated in the sea and are less common.
BLISTER OR MABÉ pearls – grows on the inside of the oyster shell and when cut away has a flat side which is ideal for stud earrings and rings.
SHELL BASED PEARLS OR MOTHER OF PEARL. These are man made whereby the Mother of Pearl is crushed and when mixed with a resin is remoulded into a bead. They come in a number of soft colours including cream/white and are an attractive and inexpensive alternative to the real thing. These are not real pearls and are smooth to the touch.
GLASS PEARLS – cheap but colourful - smooth to the touch. The coloured veneer can easily wear away or chip off..
For more information and a fascinating history of pearls, read Tears of Mermaids: The Secret Story of Pearls by Stephen G Bloom.
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