A Legendary Gem

Thousand of years ago, long before written history, man probably discovered the first pearl while searching the seaside for food.

Since that time the pearl has been treasured as a symbol of wealth and social status. It has been revered for its mystical powers, valued for its uniqueness and sought after for its rare natural beauty.

Medieval knights wore them for protection in battle, Ancient Romans saw them as the ultimate symbol of power and wealth, Cleopatra is believed to have worn them and the Greeks esteemed the pearl for it's association with love and marriage.

The Pearl

The pearl has made its mark in history and continues to be the cornerstone of classic style, culture and refinement.

Pearls are the foundation of the modern woman's wardrobe. The elegance of fine pearls is a fashion statement in the work place as well as a night on the town. Fashionable, luxurious and adaptable, pearls enhance a woman's style.

What is a Pearl?

A pearl begins its life when a grain of sand or other small foreign object accidentally enters into an oyster's soft inner body. The oyster tries to expel the foreign object, but when it cannot, it becomes an irritation.

To protect itself, the oyster takes a defensive action. It produces a smooth liquid called nacre, to cover the irritant. Layer upon layer of this silky substance continues to cover the irritant, which results in a lovely, lustrous gem called a pearl.

Cultured Pearls

Cultured pearls are the same as naturally grown pearls. Oysters are collected and raised in a controlled environment to ensure their healthy growth.

When they are mature, an irritant is intentionally introduced. Like all pearls the nacre is produced and the natural process takes its course.

In cultured salt-water pearls, a bead of crushed and compacted mussel shell is places inside the oyster to serve as the irritant. These pearls are referred to as Akoya, (A-coy-ya) which means "salt water" in Japanese. Akoya pearls are somewhat more lustrous and rounder in shapes.

In cultured fresh-water pearls a tiny bit of tissue gathered from a donor oyster, is placed inside the oyster to serve as the irritant. Unlike the round bead of compacted mussel shell, this natural irritant dissolves into the oyster, leaving behind microscopic nuclei. This means the pearls produced are composed almost entirely of nacre. They are not coated bead, but a nearly solid composition of nacre. Cultured freshwater pearls are available in much larger sizes from their saltwater counter parts. Although available in white, they have the unique quality of all natural colors including apricot, orange and plum purple. These brilliant gems are grown largely in China, where the process of fresh water cultivating has been practiced since the 13th century.