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Nothing says “ladylike, refined, exquisite taste” like the always-appropriate opaque gem:  the pearl.  And, no matter what direction fashion may follow, the pearl always adapts and plays its rightful role for jewelers worldwide as the ultimate fashion classic.

 PEARL DIVING:  Pearls were originally very rare and costly.  Pearl divers used to actually dive into the sea trying to find a clam containing a pearl.  It was not until a little over 100 years ago in Japan that Kokichi Mikimoto invented the technique of inserting an irritant small bead in an oyster that would, over several years, result in a perfectly round, lustrous pearl.   These cultured pearls have the equation of one oyster, one pearl.  Very exclusive and expensive.

 The fascinating aspect of Freshwater pearls is that each one of the bi-valve freshwater mollusks that produce them can be “impregnated” to produce not one, but as many as 36 acceptable pearls apiece.  This profusion results in a great variety of shapes and sizes.   These cultured pearls are prized for their warm luster as well as the stunning range of vibrant colors they present naturally (or through a dyeing process).  Freshwater pearls often take on unusual shapes, inspiring craftsmen to feature them in unique jewelry designs.  And the size?  All the way from tiny seed pearls, up the scale to 15 mm. or slightly larger.


Small wonder freshwater pearls are the dominant type of pearl in fashion jewelry – genuine pearls, marvelous colors, glowing luster, pick-your-size assortments, and affordability!  Whew!


BRIDES’ CHOICE:  Freshwater pearls are the treasure of many bridal collections.  Every bride feels beautiful and quintessentially feminine when wearing authentic freshwater pearl single or double strand necklaces, often with earrings and bracelet further enhanced with CZ diamond sparkle.  Tiaras and veil headpieces combine patterns of freshwater pearls and pave rhinestones in queenly mode.  New Y-necklace designs not only flatter, but add a young, exciting dazzle to the total effect.  Freshwater pearl jewelry is also a prized, traditional gift for female bridal attendants.  So, remember, while the bride is of course shopping for herself, she has a group of close friends she needs to reward on her day.


At the darker end of the social spectrum, freshwater pearls can be grey, naturally, or dyed to look like expensive Tahitian black pearls.   Along blackened heavy silver chain, these pearls capture the midnight moodiness of current Goth fashion-they look fab against black leather, dark vinyls and the strange juxtapositions that make up this original but stark look.  Punk, heavy metal stuff?  Pearls still apply.





 EVERYDAY GLAM:  Bling fashion crafters simply insert this magnificent pearl amid the lavishness of their jewelry mix, to soften the hard angles of faceted multicolor beads and crystals and provide that upper-crust element.  Works in every piece-necks, earrings, bracelets, rings.   Grace nestled amid the loud sparkle. Everything comes together as super-chic!


And, because of the lower cost, many designers use these pearls lavishly, in many, many strands, twisted to form an elegant neck choker, or cascading down the upper torso in some grand and luxe assembly.  But whether used in the manner of Chanel (who adored pearls and had a huge personal collection) or the Duchess of Windsor (you remember her aristocratic flair), it’s difficult to ever surpass a simple single strand of creamy freshwater pearls. These could be possibly graduated, or short and sweet to command an open neckline, or in a more assertive “knock ‘em dead” pearl size and length. 


THE REAL THING:  The point is, freshwater pearls are an authentic pillar of beautiful fashion jewelry.  Nothing faux about them-they’re the real thing.  As such, freshwater pieces are a source of abiding owner pride.  The lovely luster lasts and lasts-freshwater pearls are pure nacre (layers of calcium carbonate, thanks to that mollusk) and extremely resistant to chipping or marring while being worn or stored.  They last a lifetime – and add so much to the pleasure and personal confidence of dress-up.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

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