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About Pearls

Ask us anything about pearls but here is a crash course on a few pearl basics.

Creation of Pearls

A pearl is an organic gemstone which means it has been created by living an organism; a mussel, oyster or clam. When an irritant enters the shell of the mollusk, its defense mechanism kicks in and it secretes fluid to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this fluid, also known as nacre, eventually encapsulates the irritant and a lustrous pearl is formed.

Natural vs. Cultural Pearls

A natural pearl is extremely rare and is created when the irritant, usually a parasite and not the proverbial grain of sand, enters mollusk on its own. Cultured pearls are grown on pearl farms and are created when the irritant is a surgically implanted piece of tissue or a small shell bead, this process is called nucleation.

Saltwater vs. Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater cultured pearls are produced in mollusks in freshwater lakes and rivers while saltwater cultured pearls are produced in oysters located in bays of saltwater bodies. Freshwater pearls are typically nucleated with many tiny pieces of tissues while saltwater pearls are nucleated with a round shell bead and a piece of tissue.

The Freshwater Advantage

At Purely Pearls, we are all about pearls and truly love all types of real pearls. However, we have chosen to focus our collection on freshwater pearls though for a variety of reasons. Freshwater pearls are available in more sizes, colors, and shapes than any other type of pearl. Because mussels can accommodate up to 40 tiny pieces of tissue during the nucleation process, freshwater pearls are produced in greater abundance than their saltwater cousins, making them more cost effective and therefore affordable. As a result of being tissue nucleated, freshwater pearls have thicker nacre and an innate durability, which naturally helps these pearls resist wear and last longer.

The Tooth Test

It can sometimes be tough to tell the difference between a real pearl and fake one at a quick glance but it is much easier if you can touch them. A fake pearl will generally be relatively lightweight and often warmer to touch than a real pearl will be. Pearls can also be tested by gently rubbing them on the edge of your tooth. Because real pearls are made of layers of nacre they will feel a little rough or gritty while fake pearls will feel smooth. These are not the most scientific of methods but trust us, they work!

The Fine Print

Every effort is made to accurately represent our product but items may vary slightly from those depicted due to the nature of product and the natural variance of the pearls.

Peacock coloured pearls can range from shades of blue to deep purple. Peach pearls can range from rich ivory to soft orange. We have very little control on the exact colouring but make every attempt to match the products within the same order (eg. peacock bracelet matching peacock earrings).

All of our products are made with the highest quality of nickel-free metals and 925 silver.  Our silver is 92.5% silver and rhodium-plated (unless stated otherwise) to help prevent tarnishing. We want your jewelry to be ready to wear when you are ready to wear it - no polishing required!

Pearl Care

Put your pearls on last! Spray that hair spray and perfume before you put on your pearls. This is your best chance of keeping your pearls away from harmful chemicals. Your pearls will thank you with long lasting luster. If possible, avoid sweating in your pearls (hot flashes don’t count).

Your pearls do not require a lot of cleaning but if you feel you would like to freshen them up give them a gentle wipe with a damp cloth to remove any body oils or dust and let them air dry. Do not use a jewelry cleaner containing ammonia or vinegar on your pearls ever.

Store your pearls in a soft cloth or soft fabric pouch away from the rest of your jewelry to help prevent them from getting scratched. Avoid storing pearls in an airtight environment such as a ziplock bag as it will cause them to become brittle.