Category: Daytona Beach

Hurricane Matthew Satellite View

After Matthew: Reflections on the Storm

Pearl Girl Cindy Kautter wrote this piece last weekend after weathering the storm here in Daytona. We thought it was lovely and so similar to the experiences that many of us had, and we wanted to share it with all of you! 

I am sitting in my Florida room on Saturday evening after Hurricane Matthew has, thankfully, passed. I am alone for the first time in a few days, as we had family members staying with us during the storm.

I am basking in the peace and quiet as I contemplate all of the craziness that has gone on since Monday night’s staff meeting at Pearls International. Marty opened the meeting with, “let’s go over our hurricane plans”. I’m like, “whaaaat, this is the first I’ve heard of a hurricane”! “Oh yeah”, says Jim, “could be a category 4, looks like it’s heading this way”. So in my typical Florida know-it-allness, I assure everyone that it won’t come this way, they rarely do. Denial has always been my hurricane coping strategy.

I tell everyone that my hurricane plan is as follows: If it looks like it’s going to be bad, I am getting out of town, the heck with the house. Plain and simple. The only trouble with my plan is that the rest of my family would not get on board. My husband, Rich, has dutifully appeased me in the past by whisking me away to Ocala to a cheap hotel so that I can blissfully watch the storm pass by on TV rather than watch it through the front window. This time he would not budge!

My Mother who has lived in Florida for 42 years and has never evacuated for a hurricane would not take my side in this matter. “Oh, we’ll be fine”, is her mantra. My daughter and her 7 year old refused to leave their cats! I confess and ashamedly admit that I am a hurricane scaredy cat, but what could I do? I can’t run off to Ocala and leave everyone behind, so I start getting ready to hunker down… as fear and dread begin to slowly consume me. I went to Winn-Dixie (bought the very last loaf of bread) then to Walmart and Walgreens in search of water, (found it at Publix, should have known, Publix never lets me down).

I waited in line at WaWa for gas, there was a nice lady there floating around with a tray of free mini frozen cappuccinos, it seemed rather surreal to me under the circumstances. We dug out the candles, flashlights and batteries. We dragged in all of the patio furniture, plants etc. Created a safe room in our bed room as we did not have enough time to board up the whole house. We go to pick up my mother, our daughter, and granddaughter and bring them all to our house so that they can leave their own cars in their garages and then, we wait.

The news goes from bad to worse, the media talks about death and destruction. They use words and phrases like catastrophic, decimate, wind speed, dangerous and the dreaded “storm surge”! I spend quite a bit of time on-line looking at inundation maps trying to determine how far inland this said “storm surge” can come and if it does come in as far as our house how deep will it be?

I have visions of all of us up in the attic to get out of the flood. It happened during Katrina, they found people sheltering in attics. I then begin to secretly gather what we might need to take up into the attic, if need be. I ask Rich if his chain saw is in working order. “Why”, he asks? “Oh, umm, we might need it after the storm if we have any trees down”, I reply. Actually what I am really thinking is, we may need it in the attic if the water comes up that high to cut a hole in the roof. Does this make me a resourceful person or a crazy person? I do not know, it’s just how I roll.

OK, enough of my drama. Let’s get back to me sitting in my Florida room basking in the peace and quiet after the storm. My yard is a mess, I spent all day raking and dragging debris to the curb. Rich did get to use his chain saw, but thankfully not to cut a hole in our roof. I am safe, my family is safe, I have no complaints. Now we get to watch and participate in what always happens after an event like this. We help and pray for those who may not have fared as well as us in this storm. We get out and actually talk to our neighbors. The community pulls together and helps each other to clean up and recover. I feel good about humanity, there is hope, I am at peace. Life goes on.

We hope all of you had the same good luck during Hurricane Matthew. Share your hurricane story in the comments!

Did you know that stronger hurricanes are a result of rising ocean temperatures? Find out why climate change is damaging to oysters and the pearls they create by clicking here!

Post-Hurricane at Pearls: A Special Announcement

WE ARE OPEN!

photo-1Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who offered their prayers and support over the last week! We made it through Hurricane Matthew safely and without too much damage (we lost the roof under the front balcony, but had no structural damage and no flooding).

We know there are many others who are still without power and basic necessities here and in other countries, and we are so grateful and appreciative to be among the lucky few. Haiti especially is very near and dear to our hearts (we lived there for a few years), and we are praying for our friends there to be safe.

Please during this time, remember to support your local economy, support those who are going through a tough time in your neighborhoods, and if you can, support charities that can bring clean water and housing to the areas that were damaged the worst.

We’re looking forward to seeing all of you again here in the shop in the next few days!

Much love,

The Stradleys and all of the Pearl Girls at Pearls International

www.pearlsinternational.com

Or call us at (386) 767-3473!

p.s. If you need to pick up repairs or special orders, we are available! Just give us a call.

right-hand-ring

Summer Stylin’ – How to Accessorize that Sundress

Summer might be ending, but hot weather sure isn’t going anywhere yet. When you live in Florida like we do, you get to experience summer all year ’round. This has its high points, and its lows. With this being one of the hottest years on record, it’s almost unbearable to go outside in anything other than a sundress or your beach wear.

In conditions like these, it’s easy to end up in a bit of a fashion rut – when you only have so many summer worthy outfits in your closet, you run dangerously close to repeating your #OOTD posts on Instagram. Boring! So how to spice up your look? Accessorize, of course! We’re here to show you what to wear with all of your sundresses to brighten up your summer style.

V-Neck

This one’s easy. Wear a simple pendant that highlights the cut of your dress. Minimalist styles look best with this type of sundress, so pick a pendant that has one of the colors from your dress in it and isn’t too elaborate. Make sure not to wear a necklace that’s too long; you don’t want your pendant getting lost in your cleavage. We went for a red theme with the dress below, but you could also choose to accent the black designs with some black onyx or black spinel instead of garnet. Use the colors in your jewelry box to your advantage! The right jewelry selection can completely change the personality of your outfit and really spice up your wardrobe.

Styling a V-Neck Sundress with Pearl and Garnet Jewelry and Accessories

Get the look!:

Printed V-Neck Sundress
Red Glitter Flats
Rhodolite Garnet Pendant in Sterling Silver
Freshwater Pearl and Garnet Earrings

Crew Neck

With a crew neck dress you have a lot of possibilities. Since most of your upper body will be covered, layered necklaces look great with this style. You have to opportunity to wear jewelry that would usually detract from the rest of your outfit, and instead it complements your look! Might we suggest a pearl rope for layering? You can wear it long or double it up to make it shorter, and add a couple of your favorite pendants or other necklaces of different lengths for a trendy and personalized look.

How to style a crew neck dress and pearls

Get the look!:

Anni Coco® Dress
Shoes by Dream Paris
Leather handbag
Atlantis Collection Seahorse Pendant
White pearl rope
Pearl Studs, 10mm

Tank Cut

Tank style dresses are meant to look cool, casual, and breezy, so you don’t want to pack too much punch with your jewelry here, or else you will throw off that look. You definitely need a great pair of earrings to draw the attention back onto your face. Try on our ear climbers for size – you can wear them as a dangle or turn them upwards so they fit like an ear cuff. Balance this out with some delicate bracelets or rings to complete your look. Check out our beach-ready style below! (Pro-tip: don’t forget to remove your jewelry if you’re planning on actually going into the water.)

Style guide for a tank dress

Get the look!:

Tie-dye dress
Flip flops
Starfish tote bag
White freshwater pearl ear climbers
Blue topaz ring

Sweetheart Neckline

The sweetheart neckline is the perfect cut for showing off a choker length necklace. You can mix it up depending on the day, too. Go with a large, chunky, or sparkly necklace to make a statement or style your dress with something more delicate for a softer look. In the picture below we’ve created a more dressy look, but the same outfit would look great with more casual accessories as well!

Sweetheart dress styled with pearls and crystal accessories

Get the look!:

Pearl and crystal choker
Vintage Sundress
Spiral earrings
Sam Edelman dress sandals
Pearl cocktail ring
Satin handbag

Strapless Dress

For a strapless dress, statement earrings are the way to go! Necklaces can sometimes throw off the look of the straight neckline, and you’ll want to draw some attention up towards your face. You can personalize your look further with a trendy clutch or handbag, and a statement ring to balance out the heavy earrings. Think about what kind of themes you can you create with the jewelry and the clothes that you own: in the below example, we used black peacock pearls to compliment the peacock feather design on the shoes.

Accessorize a black strapless dress with black peacock pearls and designer shoes.

Get the look!:

Strapless Black Stretch Dress
Black Pearl Hoop Earrings
Black Peacock Pearl Ring with Crystals
Handcrafted Black Peacock Flats

 

Tell us what you think! Did you like our style edit? What fashion savvy advice do you have for staying in style in this heat?

Rose Quartz and Serenity

Bold Color Choices From Pantone for 2016!

For the first time ever, Pantone has announced not one but two colors of the year! Rose Quartz and Serenity, chosen for their gentle, soft nature, are meant to be paired together. Pantone says the color choice challenges traditional perceptions of color association.

Inspired by society’s change towards gender equality and the younger generation’s boldness and tendency to be less concerned about stereotypes and judgement, this duo is a bold choice.

While Rose Quartz is meant to instill a sense of compassion, warmth, and composure, Serenity adds balance with it’s cooler, peaceful tone.

How to wear it?

Together, of course! Try a Rose Quartz top with one of our blue quartz and pearl necklaces with white gold to add a splash of sparkle.

White Freshwater Pearl Necklace with Blue Quartz

Rose Quartz and Serenity also pair well with all shades of yellow and pink, as well as greens, purples, and deep brown shades, according to Pantone’s recommendations.

Lillac Freshwater Pearl Pendant With Crystal Elements

Why not check out our peach, pink, and lavender pearl jewelry for some more Rose Quartz-inspired styles?


Small Business Saturday: From Our Family to Yours

Family Day, Saturday November 28th

It’s that time of year again. You’ve taken down all your Halloween decorations and started planning who’s-bringing-what to Thanksgiving dinner this year. You’re sending out your holiday wish lists to friends and family, and maybe you’ve done a little bit of gift shopping already yourself. The biggest holiday shopping weekend of the year is coming around the corner with Black Friday on November 27th this year.

Since 2010, American Express has sponsored a new kind of holiday shopping extravaganza. Small Business Saturday, celebrating it’s 5th birthday this year, is a way for you to get out and show your support for the businesses that make your community unique.

This year, AmEx has introduced a new theme: Family Day! We at Pearls International feel that this is a great way to express what Small Business Saturday means, because so many of the small businesses around the country (ourselves included!) are family owned and operated. Unlike many of the big-box retailers, we have a unique perspective on how much you want to make this holiday season special for your family. Every day of the year, we strive to offer the best shopping experience to our customers. Behind the counter, we have coloring sheets to entertain your kids while you shop, and if you’re not quite done looking but your husband has gone a little dazzle-blind, he’s welcome to hang out on the ever-popular “man couch” — complete with television and magazines to flip through. Not to mention, at Pearls International, you get stress-free, 100% satisfaction guaranteed, warrantied jewelry and gifts, many of which are hand crafted here in our own workshop. That’s an experience you won’t find at the jewelry counter in a department store.

So this year, get out there and #ShopSmall. Still not convinced? Check out these reasons to buy local.

Broken Jewelry

Eight Proven Ways to Wreck Your Jewelry for Good.

Maybe you’ve just never liked that necklace you inherited from crazy great Aunt Mabel, or perhaps you’re an evil super villain on a mission to destroy beauty everywhere. Either way, here are eight ways to ruin your jewelry once and for all.

Wait a minute, what did I just read?!?!

Ok, so maybe you’re not a super villain and maybe you actually really loved Aunt Mabel’s necklace, but you’re just not that great about caring for your jewelry and now it’s broken, and you’re not really sure what to do about it. That’s ok! Most broken jewelry can be repaired, and the good news is that it’s usually less expensive than having to purchase a brand new piece!

Scratched and scuffed metals can be polished, dull stones can be re-faceted, broken prongs can be repaired, and broken, knotted chains are really no big deal. We see them all the time here and we can almost guarantee that the most embarrassing thing you’ve done to ruin your jewelry probably won’t come close to the stories we’ve heard over sixty years of service in the jewelry industry.

If you’re still dead set on total jewelry annihilation, here are some great tips to get you started!

[dropcap2]1.[/dropcap2] Sleep in it.

Your jewelry will be screaming for mercy after being smushed, twisted, and wrapped around the bedsheets for nights on end.

[dropcap2]2.[/dropcap2] Wear it in the swimming pool.

The acidic chlorine will take care of it quickly. Go swimming every day and get the satisfaction of watching your jewelry slowly dissolve before your very eyes!

[dropcap2]3.[/dropcap2] Find the nearest howling toddler and let them play dress-up!

Kids are great at breaking things.

[dropcap2]4.[/dropcap2] Travel, and leave your jewelry in a jumble at the bottom of your suitcase. Let the baggage handlers do the rest.

You’ll inevitably end up with some spectacular knots in all of your chains.

[dropcap2]5.[/dropcap2] Never, ever, ever clean it.

Body oils, perfumes, hairspray, makeup, lotions, and the chemicals you come in contact with on a daily basis will gradually corrode the surface of your jewelry, eventually destroying its good looks. Not to mention all that gunk building up behind the stones makes them WAY less sparkly!

[dropcap2]6.[/dropcap2] Wear it while gardening, mountain climbing, windsurfing, filming your latest action movie, and fixing your car. 

After giving it a few good whacks against a hard surface (make sure to reeeeeallly scratch it back and forth to achieve full effect!), don’t have the prongs checked. With any luck, some of your stones will fall out!

[dropcap2]7.[/dropcap2] Store it in direct sunlight. In fact, just store it on the surface of the sun.

Sunlight is one of the worst culprits when it comes to metal tarnish and fading in colored stones. Direct sunlight will have it looking terrible in a jiffy.

[dropcap2]8.[/dropcap2] Wear it in the shower!

Even if the buildup of shampoo and soap scum doesn’t screw it up, you’ll probably still lose it down the drain. Problem solved!

Changed your mind? Bring your broken jewelry in to Pearls International Jewelers today!

 

LIKE BEING FIRST?

Get the latest style news and offers from Pearls International before everybody else does.
Your privacy is our priority. We will never share or sell your information.
Tahitian Pearls

Choosing the Perfect Pearl – Your Guide to Making an Informed Decision.

While much of the process of choosing pearls is subjective, and depends on the wearer’s taste, there are a few questions to ask that will ensure that the pearls you choose will be of the highest quality. Just like diamonds have their “4C’s”, pearls have common properties that should be considered as you shop.

 Color

A pearl’s color is more a matter of personal taste than one of quality, but naturally colored pearls will typically weather trends and fads better than those that have been artificially dyed. Beware especially bright or garish pearls, as these are almost certainly the result of manmade color processes and the dye can be prone to fading or even wearing off onto skin or clothing. Strong colors may sometimes indicate a lower-quality pearl, as the dye may have been used to disguise unsightly color variations in the surface of the pearl.

Pearl Colors

Orient and Overtone

There are very small differences between orient and overtone. The orient of a pearl is the beautiful iridescent shimmer of color that spreads across its surface. Often, this causes a ‘rainbow’ effect on the surface of the pearl. This color is not the same as the color of the pearl itself, but the iridescence that may seem to dance and move across the pearl as you turn it. In contrast, the overtone of a pearl is the secondary impression of color from a pearl as it is viewed against a white background. For example, a black pearl may seem to have a subtle blush of green. This color, unlike the orient, does not shimmer, but may differ depending on which side of the pearl is viewed, due to the refraction of light within the pearl.

Examples of Overtone on a White Pearl

Overtone on White Pearl

Examples of Overtone on a Black Pearl

Overtone on Black Pearl

Black Pearls Displaying Excellent Orient

Black Pearls with Excellent Orient

Size

The larger the pearl, the longer it had to remain in the oyster’s shell, and as a result, these are usually more costly. Very large pearls are a rarity, due to the cost of producing them. Consider that the oysters must be kept healthy and safe from predators, parasites, and destruction of their natural habitat for several years while the pearl is allowed to form. Additionally, the extra time in the shell increases the likelihood of blemishes forming on the pearl as small imperfections in the nacre are magnified as they are coated. Flawless pearls of a large size will command very high prices.

Pearl Size

Surface

Surface indicates the perfection of the exterior of the pearl itself. Higher quality surfaces have very few marks, bumps, ripples, or blemishes, indicating that the oyster was very well cared-for during the cultivation process. Pearls that show little to no variation in their surfaces will typically cost more than those with a few marks here and there.

Pearl Surface

Regularity

Regularity refers to the shape of a pearl. The more spherical the pearl, the more regular it is said to be. No pearl is perfectly round, but some come close to being spherical. The best pearls are typically smooth and even. Do not pay for a pearl that is absolutely spherical and has no defining marks unless it is certified, as these are probably synthetic, and therefore of low value.

Pearl Regularity

Luster

A pearl’s luster, or shine, is determined by the layers of ‘nacre,’ the substance pearls are made of, that coats its central nucleus. Usually, more nacre results in higher luster. The surface curvature of a pearl can also have an effect on the luster, as light passes through the delicate outer layers and refracts off of the aragonite crystals in the pearl, giving the pearl its signature glow. This causes the highly desirable translucent appearance that very fine pearls display.

Pearl Luster

Authenticity

A genuine pearl will typically show minor variations in shape, color, and surface. Truly perfect pearls are rarely real, but may be simply convincing fakes. One way to test their authenticity (although this test can be fooled) is to gently rub the pearl on the edge of your tooth. Genuine pearls will feel very slightly gritty, due to their crystalline structure, while faux pearls and glass pearls will feel smooth and silky. The exception to this rule is composite, or “shell” pearls, which are created by grinding low-quality pearls into a powder and then reconstituting them using epoxy or acrylic. Due to their nacre content, these will feel gritty to the teeth, but since they are usually perfectly round, they are easy to spot and avoid.

Real vs Shell Pearl

Other fake pearl types to look out for:

  • Plastic: Ultra-shiny, easy to chip the paint. Very lightweight. Usually unknotted. Smooth to the tooth.
  • Glass: Higher quality, usually knotted in between and heavy. Look for paint flaking near the drill-holes. Smooth to the tooth.
  • Mallorca: A specific variety of glass pearl, very high quality and usually difficult to identify. The paint is very similar in luster to real pearls, but if on a strand, will be perfectly uniform. Smooth to the tooth.

Check out our post on Real vs. Faux pearls for more info on Authenticity!

LIKE BEING FIRST?

Get the latest style news and offers from Pearls International before everybody else does.
Your privacy is our priority. We will never share or sell your information.

How Can I Tell if My Pearls are Real? Ten Quick Tips.

Pearls International only carries genuine cultured freshwater and saltwater pearls, but with so many convincing fakes on the market, how can you tell if the pearls you got somewhere else are the genuine article?

Today recently broke a story about dishonest salesmen in destination spots like Cozumel who duped their customers into purchasing jewelry that wasn’t real. We wanted to take a moment to help educate our customers and readers about how you can avoid scams like this on your vacation and protect yourself from people who don’t have your best interests in mind.

First, always ask for recommendations at your hotel or with a local resident you trust. Most people aren’t going to shop at a jeweler who is hidden down some dark alleyway, but it’s always a good idea to be smart about where you spend your money.

Satisfaction Guarantee SealSecond, ask about their return policy. If you get home to discover that an item you thought was gold instead turned out to be gold plate, at least you’ll know how to get your money back. Pearls International offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee with easy returns and exchanges. If you ever purchase the wrong size or color with us, we’ll happily and enthusiastically make it right.

So what if you’ve already made a purchase, and you’re wondering whether you got your money’s worth? Or maybe you’ve inherited some jewelry and you’re thinking of selling it, but don’t want to risk taking it to a pawn shop or a gold-buyer without knowing what it’s worth?


It’s always a good idea to have a jeweler you trust take a look at a new piece to validate its authenticity. At Pearls International, we’ll even give you a free jeweler’s loupe that you can use to look at the metal hallmarks in your jewelry, and they’re also very useful for doing annual checks on prongs to prevent your stones from getting lost!

If you don’t have time to bring your jewelry to an expert, there are several things you can do at home to find out if your pearls are real.

Are my pearls real? Ten things to look for:

Tip: It’s best to start with a clean strand so you can identify small details that might be missed due to a buildup of oils or perfumes on the surface of your pearls. If you need to find out how to clean your pearls, check out this tutorial or use our specially created pearl-safe cleaner.

Pearl Juice
Normal gold and silver cleaners are acidic and can damage your pearls. Use a pearl-friendly cleaner like our Pearl Juice to avoid damaging your pearls. It is best to start with a clean strand when determining if your pearls are the real deal.

[dropcap2]1[/dropcap2]Real pearls are heavier than fake pearls. Imagine you are holding a strand of little pebbles. Would your strand be about the same weight? If not, you might be holding some pearl impostors. The nacre that makes up the layers of a real pearl is very dense, so it will weigh quite a bit more than plastic or resin, two common materials used in many fake pearls. Beware! Some materials such as glass and composite, or ‘shell’ pearls (pearls made from crushed and reconstituted shell) may fool this test.

[dropcap2]2[/dropcap2]If your pearls are heavy, but you still suspect they may be false, chipped or cracking paint is a sure sign that your pearls are fakes. To find it, look carefully between two pearls at a drill hole. If you notice any paint is missing, or if the material from inside the pearl formed a ‘burr’ when the pearl was drilled, your pearls are probably fake. Real pearls will have a drill hole that is quite smooth and doesn’t show any chipping (unless it has been mishandled). If in doubt, ask an expert.

Chipped Pearl Paint

[dropcap2]3[/dropcap2]Real pearls on a strand will never be perfectly matched. Since no two pearls are identical in nature, look for minor variation in color and shape that indicate your pearls are authentic. You may need to look very closely, as high quality strands will be well matched. However, the differences will be there! 

[dropcap2]4[/dropcap2] Size matters. Are your pearls enormous and perfectly spherical? If you paid a comically tiny price for your comically huge pearls, it’s very likely that they are fake. In nature, the longer a pearl remains within an oyster’s shell, the more likely it is to develop imperfections like dents and divots. As a result, pearls of a very large size can be extremely valuable. If your pearls fit this description, it’s likely you have a strand of shell pearls.

[dropcap2]5[/dropcap2] Knots are important! Real pearls will be individually knotted on a silk or microfiber strand. These knots are crucial to the longevity of your pearls. In addition to preventing each pearl from rubbing against its neighbor, the knots also protect against the loss of more than a couple of pearls, should your strand get caught on something and break. Many high-quality fakes will be knotted (such as Mallorca Pearls), but they are easy to identify when you know what to look for.


Tip: If your strand is knotted, take note of the condition of the knots. Are they frayed or discolored? Is there space between the knots and the pearls? If so, you may need to have your strand restrung to prevent breakage. Pearls International offers restringing for $1/knot. Contact us if you’d like to get more information about our jewelry repair services.

Knotted vs. Unknotted Pearls[dropcap2]6[/dropcap2]If your pearls have unusual coloring, they may be fake. While some real pearls are dyed for fashion or to cover up unsightly surface imperfections, good-quality pearls usually stick to colors that appear in nature. Your favorite chartreuse strand might not be the real thing, but feel free to rock that look if it suits you! To learn more about color treatments in pearls, check out this post.

[dropcap2]7[/dropcap2] The temperature of your pearls can give you some hints. Real pearls often feel cool to the touch and will quickly warm to your body’s temperature when worn. Fake pearls will feel much more close to room temperature when you first pick them up.

[dropcap2]8[/dropcap2] Do your pearls look like soldiers in a row? If they are perfectly uniform without any differences or imperfections, it’s very likely that they were manufactured. Real pearls are born in the sea, so they grow up getting rolled around by wind and waves, and as a result, they are never, never perfect. Even ’round’ pearls will show small lumps and bumps and minor imperfections in the nacre. In the pearls of utmost quality, these may not be visible without a loupe, but they are still there. Don’t worry — these are signs that your pearl came from nature!

Pearl Shape

[dropcap2]9[/dropcap2]Genuine pearls appear more ‘glowy’ than ‘shiny’. Look at your pearls under natural light. Real pearls are made from layer upon layer of a material called ‘nacre’. These layers are translucent, and reflect light in such a way that a real pearl appears to have an inner glow that is almost impossible to recreate with artificial methods. If your pearls appear harsh or have an unusual brassy or metallic appearance, they may be fake.

Graduated white akoya pearl necklace
Genuine Akoya Pearls from Pearls International – this exquisite strand shows you a real life example of the ‘glowy’ quality mentioned above. Faux pearls can appear more metallic.

[dropcap2]10[/dropcap2]Last but not least, one of the best methods for determining if your pearls are genuine is the ‘tooth test’. Real pearls have microscopic crystalline structures, not unlike fingerprints. Every pearl has its own structure, but fake pearls do not have this unique characteristic. As a result, if you hold one pearl between your thumb and index finger, then gently rub the pearl on one of your teeth (this only works with real teeth, not veneers or dental implants), you will feel a slight ‘gritty’ texture, as if you are rubbing sand on your tooth. Fake pearls will feel perfectly smooth. Note: Shell pearls, due to the powdered nacre they contain, may feel gritty. Ask your jeweler to identify them for you.

Now you know!

We hope these tips helped you determine if your pearls are real or fake. Still not sure? Drop by and we can take a look for you, or you can send your pearls to us at the address below. Be sure to include your name, phone number and a return address with your package!

Pearls International
3114 So. Atlantic Avenue
Daytona Beach Shores, FL 32118


Red Algal Bloom

Pearly Whirly Pearl Fact: Never Eat Oysters During These Months

Have you ever heard that you should only eat oysters in months with names that include the letter “R”? Turns out, there’s truth to the tale!

So why should you avoid eating local oysters in the months of May, June, July, and August?

Oysters are filter feeders that eat algae and plankton and are susceptible to a very specific type of algal bloom, or “Red Tide” that can occur during warmer months of the year. A buildup of toxins in the oyster’s tissue as a result of this algae can be harmful to humans.

So what’s an oyster lover to do?

The answer is actually quite simple. While this old rule is a word to the wise for those of us who like to gather our own oysters to eat from rivers and oceans, it doesn’t usually apply to commercially available oysters, which are strictly regulated by the U.S. government. You can rest assured that your favorite oyster joint is probably serving oysters that are algae free and delicious. Slurp!

Sea Sparkle

Sea Sparkle: Pretty, or pretty bad?

You probably aren’t too familiar with Noctiluca Scintillans, the alluring not-quite-algae responsible for the beautiful displays of light in the oceans surrounding Hong Kong. 

This unusual single-celled sea life, also known as “sea sparkle” gives off a bioluminescent glow when agitated, either by the movement of the waves or by a passing ship or fish. The breathtaking light shows are visible in many parts of the world, but become more prevalent in areas where increased nitrogen and phosphorous runoff from agriculture upset the delicate balance of the local ocean ecology.

Sea Sparkle

Noctiluca scintillans is an organism that functions both as a plant and an animal. While the organism in itself is not toxic, it tends to feed on phytoplanktons, and because noctiluca scintillans does not move from place to place, the buildup of excretions from its feeding results in high levels of ammonia in the surrounding water. This can lead to problems with surrounding sea life when heavy blooms of noctiluca scintillans take over large aquatic regions.

Noctiluca Scintillans single celled organism

We’re always impressed at the delicate balancing act our oceans perform to keep our entire globe running properly, and also by how easy it is for a few careless people to throw everything off kilter. Just a bit too much pollution from farms can cause seawater to become too nutrient-rich, leading to an overgrowth of noctiluca scintillans. The high ammonia caused by the overgrowth in turn causes problems with local sea life, problems which move gradually up the food chain until finally, they reach your dinner plate.

So what can you do about it?

Well, first, do your part. Be a responsible citizen of the globe. Recycle. Find ways to get involved. Educate yourself on the issues. Then get out there and make a difference! It takes a whole lot of drops to fill the ocean, and that ocean is depending on us.