March 1, 2010 | No Comments

How could I forget?!

And how could I better start this article then with this stunning designed bracelet by Louis Vuitton, but set with glass pearls by Swarovski (which aren’t pearls at all, but just glass balls with a layer of “pearl-lacquer”). For me a great example that in former times costume jewellery also inspired “Haute Joaillerie”. So, I’m looking forward to the next generation jewellery designers of the “Haute Joaillerie du Monde”!

For now, let’s “dive” into the world of natural and cultured pearls. This first article about pearls is to give you a directive to general information about pearls. Therefore I’m going to linking you to, where you can read very much about all kinds of pearls (even “conch pearls” which aren’t pearls, but very interesting for use in jewellery as well). I do agree it’s a pity they don’t have that much photos next to the articles, but instead of that they have a lot of information and a platform where you can pose all your questions.
Furthermore I would like to link you to a nice video about “the classic” cultured Akoya pearls, where you can see how the first type of cultured pearls were produced. In meantime techniques developed impressively and since years also cultured pearls without nucleus are available, the so called “Freshwater pearls”. They are much cheaper because they grow with many at the same time in a “Pinctada”, the official name for the oysters.
Meanwhile I’m going to look for a nice book only about pearls. I don’t have it in my library, I know they exist but I don’t know which one is really the good one.

There is so much to tell and learn about pearls (as well as the treatments for colouring them), that if you really want to learn about them (how to value them) then I can only recommend to you to follow a course in Germany at the “Deutsche Gemmologische Gesellschaft” or in the USA at the “GIA”, The Gemological Institue of America. It will only take one week & than you know “everything” about pearls and you will even have learnd a lot about other organic substances. See for address information and direct links the categorie “education” (List of Gemmolgy Institutes) at my website.

The absolute “Bible” to every gemmologist is off-course  “Gems”, by R. Webster, ISBN:0-408-01148-3, $270. It isn’t cheap, but if you would like to become a gemmologist you’ve got to be able to dream at least every page of it! -The chapter of pearls (discussing natural,cultered and imitations) is already 60 pages with only interesting information, drawings and photos to clearify everything)

To my own surprise I found at the Internet-website of “World Digital Library” also a few old maps of “Pearl banks”. Here just one partly shown.

A few practical advices to complete this article so far:
Watch-out when you are using hairspray & perfume; They will damage your pearls! My advice: Wait a little while when you have used perfume and/or hairspray before putting your pearls on.
If you keep your pearls in a safe, put a glas of water next to it! (Although it sounds funny, it’s no joke!) Otherwise the air is too dry & they will loss their glans.

And last but not least: Never eat an oyster with a pearl in it! You will become sick of it, they aren’t eatable anymore…that’s a pity, you’re right on that!


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Margriet Sopers

Margriet Sopers, FGA

Having a diploma in jewellery, FGA and a propaedeutic of the Academy of Art followed-up by interesting years as a jewellery expert at Sotheby's & Gemeentelijke Krediet Bank, as well as being a member for years of the Society of Jewellery Historians, I am glad to share with you today's world of jewellery.

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