Category: Style

Jewelry Trends from the Oscars You Need to Be Paying Attention To

Who else watches the Oscars to drool over all the gorgeous, custom, unique and rare gems worn by all of the lovely red-carpet celebrities? This year definitely did not disappoint! We noticed a few trends that we’re excited to see taking to the streets. Here are a few of our favorites, and how to wear them off the red carpet.

1) Statement earrings

It seems like all the celebs this year were rocking some type of statement earrings. Each had their own personal style, and each looked fabulous flaunting it!

Photo by George Pimentel/FilmMagic

Charlize Theron went big and bold with her statement earrings. Style tip: if you’re going to rock earrings as dazzling as the ones above, definitely go with a bare neck as well. You don’t want your necklace to be in competition with your earrings, and if you’ve got a killer pair of statement earrings you’re dying to show off, then you certainly want to let them do the talking.

Pictured below: some of our favorite big, bold statement earrings available here at Pearls International.
Black Pearl Waterfall Earrings White Freshwater Pearl Earrings

Photo by David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock

Emma Stone rocked a slightly more delicate, yet still impactful look with these beautiful diamond earrings. The best thing about these earrings is the movement they allow. The diamond sparkle is ready to catch your eye with each turn of her head. This is really a statement look that can work for everyone!

Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage

Isabelle Huppert shows off a dazzling ear climber. Ear climbers are something we’ve always been a fan of. One of our most popular earrings are our pearl ear climbers, which can be worn up the ear like in Isabelle’s photo, or turned downward as a dangle earring for a different statement. You can check them out in white pearls (pictured below) or black pearls.

White Freshwater Pearl Earrings

2) Layered bracelets and cuffs

A few of the stars were wearing some awesome, fashionable bracelet combos this year. Often bracelets are overlooked in favor of flashy necklaces, but we thought they definitely deserved a mention. Two big style trends we saw on the red carpet this year were layers of similar bracelets on one wrist, like Halle Berry’s (pictured below) and big, bold cuffs like the ones worn by Priyanka Chopka.

Photo by Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock

The cool thing about this style is that you can make it as casual or dressy as you want. Stack delicate pearl bracelets with diamond bands or some of your other favorite gemstones for your own version of a red carpet look, or try pearls and leather or simple chain bracelets for a more casual stack. There are so many ways to showcase your own personal style with this look!

Photo by Lionel Hahn/ABACA USA/INSTARimages.com

We just love Priyanka’s look here – the symmetry of her matched cuffs and how it compliments the unique texture of her dress, and of course the statement earrings! You can click here to shop some bracelet inspiration of your own.

Are you more of a Priyanka or a Halle when it comes to bracelet style? Tell us in the comments!

3) Choker length statement necklaces

This is a timeless red carpet look but one that never fails to amaze! Rather than wearing huge, heavy necklaces, these celebrities wore statement pieces in a choker length. Their individual styles shine through here as well.

Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage

Janelle Monae has an over-the-top look going on here – but it totally works for her! The whole outfit has the effect of making her look like something out of a fairy tale, but we can’t help to be drawn to that incredible choker.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Jessica Biel’s runway style also included an elaborate choker. This one was handcrafted by Tiffany and Co. Gorgeous!

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Alicia Vikander and Taraji P. Hensen are just two examples of dazzling diamond chokers worn at the Oscars this year. Both styles are elegant and absolutely flattering.

Look for a statement necklace of your own here!

4) Honorable mention

Pharrell Williams was killin’ it in these layered necklaces and elaborate pearl brooch, proving once and for all that pearls are for everyone!

Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage



You might also like:

Jewelry Trends from the 2016 Oscars

5 Reasons We Like Pearls Better Than Diamonds

Pearls: The Final Frontier in Men’s Fashion

Welcome in 2017 and the New Color of the Year, Greenery!

Greenery

As 2016 rolls out and 2017 makes its’ way in, it’s time to say goodbye to last year’s colors of the year – Rose Quartz and Serenity. Pantone made a
Quote about Pantone's 2017 Color of the Year from their Websiteground-breaking decision last year by choosing two colors instead of just one for their iconic color of the year slot, but as all good things must come to an end, so must last year’s trend.

This year we are welcoming in “Greenery.” Greenery is the perfect symbolism for a promising new year, as it is meant to evoke feelings of springtime, renewal and freshness. It’s no secret that 2016 was a rough year for a lot of people, so the vitality, passion, and affirmations that Greenery symbolizes can be seen as a reflection of what we all are hoping for out of the new year.

The bold, bright yellow-green tone is a refreshing change from the serene, pastel colors of last year. Even better, Greenery itself seems to go with just about everything. Wear it as a bright, earthy addition to your neutrals or deeper shades. It’s even just light enough to be a daring compliment to pastels.

Our favorite Greenery pairing? Idocrase – a rare volcanic mineral very similar to Jadeite and Nephrite jades, but in a lighter chartreuse to lime green color range.

Idocrase "Aztec Jade" Earrings in 14k Gold

This material is found exclusively in a remote area near Hermosillo, Mexico, and was used in decorative jewelry and ornaments by the local natives of that area.
Idocrase is also known as Aztec Jade, Vesuvianite, Californite, California Jade, Caribbean Jade.

Click to shop our Aztec Jade collection!


A Quartz, of Course

One thing my mom and I like to do when we get together is show off our newest jewelry acquisitions. My mom has quite the impressive ring collection, and I like to go through her jewelry box and try everything on during my visits. I’ve inherited quite a few stunning pieces of jewelry this way! On my last visit, she showed me a new ring she had recently picked up and thought I would love. She said it was a pink amethyst. Now, amethyst is my birthstone and I have a couple pieces already (and I love to drool over and try on the stunning amethyst jewelry we have here at the shop) – but I’d never seen or heard of pink amethyst before.

By definition, amethyst is a variety of quartz, found in shades of light lilac to deep purple. When the average person thinks of amethyst, it’s usually a color like the pendant below that comes to mind. So, wouldn’t “pink” amethyst be rose quartz? I decided to do some research on this “pink amethyst” to find out if it was a jeweler’s marketing trick, or if it was in fact true amethyst.

Amethyst and CZ Pendant in Sterling Silver

The first thing I discovered along my quest for gemstone knowledge was that there is an actual difference between “pink” quartz and “rose” quartz. Pink quartz, evidently, is more valuable than rose quartz. Pink quartz is the name given to quartz of this shade when found in crystal form, while rose quartz is never found in crystal form and is much less transparent than pink quartz. Also, pink quartz and rose quartz are found in different environments and have different care recommendations. For example, pink quartz is sensitive to light, while rose quartz is not. I knew after a few quick minutes of research that my mom’s ring was more than likely not rose quartz, as it is vary rarely found in facet grade material. In fact, rose quartz is usually sold in bead form.

An example of rose quartz in the rough.
An example of rose quartz in the rough.

The second thing I learned was that there is also a stone commonly called “green amethyst.” Green amethyst is, in fact, a misnomer for prasiolite. Prasiolite is a greenish color variety of quartz. Certain deposits of amethyst can be heat treated to achieve this color, and on rare occasions amethyst can become heated naturally within the earth’s surface, creating natural prasiolite deposits. However, most prasiolite is created by manipulating amethyst.

Prasiolite, sometimes called :green amethyst" next to true amethyst.
Prasiolite, sometimes called “green amethyst” next to true purple amethyst.

I began to wonder if pink amethyst, like green amethyst, was also a misnomer. While researching this possibility, I learned of a popular amethyst variety called “Rose de France.” Rose de France is the name given to the palest of amethyst, often a pastel lavender in color. It is mined in certain regions in Brazil and may contain lower iron deposits than deeper amethyst stones. Rose de France can sometimes appear pink. I wondered if this was the answer I was looking for!

While I was able to find many online jewelry retailers selling “pink amethyst,” my search for actual information on the stone was turning up dry. So, I decided to go to the expert – our own Master Jeweler Jim Stradley. He confirmed my suspicion that my mom’s stone was not rose quartz, backing up the research I did with his own knowledge. “Pink amethyst” is marketing terminology, but not necessarily a misnomer. Turns out, the Rose de France stones that appear more on the pink side are often sold as “pink amethyst.” I read some reviews on retail sites selling pink amethyst jewelry and learned that many of the customers that purchased online were disappointed to receive their jewelry and see that the stone was more lavender and less of a true pink. Turns out a few lucky customers (my mom would fall into this category) received jewelry that was definitely pink, though it seems that those are pretty rare. Now, I don’t want you to think I’m writing this to point fingers or call these jewelers dishonest (or even to discourage you from buying a pink amethyst, if that’s what your heart desires.)

Rose de France Amethyst
Rose de France Amethyst in the rough. If you compare it to the rough rose quartz in this post, it’s easy to spot the differences. These stones are more translucent and pastel in nature.  (Photo From http://www.gemstonesandrough.com/)

This, to me, serves as a reminder to know what you’re looking for and not to be swept away by catchy marketing phrases. You should always try to find a jeweler you can trust, and be assured that if you’re buying jewelry online that you can return or exchange it if it doesn’t live up to your expectations. At Pearls International, we offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and One-Year Warranty on all of our items so that you can always shop with confidence. And, if it’s a pink stone you want, you should probably look for pink diamonds, pink tourmaline, or pink sapphire, which (while they may be a little more pricey than pink amethyst) are going to be more true to color.

Pink Tourmaline and CZ Pendant in Sterling Silver

Pictured above: a Pearls International Pink Tourmaline Pendant.

 

Sources:
Pink Gemstones in Jewelry
Gemology.com
The Quartz Page
The Bead Traders

October is Right-Hand Ring Month!

Freshwater Pearl Rings

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a reason to celebrate anything, any time. Especially if it’s jewelry-related! So when I found out that October is the official month for celebrating right-hand rings, I couldn’t wait to post this and tell you all about it!

How can you celebrate? First, check out our dazzling selection of rings. They will be on sale all month!

Second, post a picture of your favorite Pearls International ring on your right hand on Instagram or Facebook and tag it #OctoberRingContest for a chance to win a goodie bag! Goodie bags contain some lovely stuff to keep your rings looking great all year – our special pearl-safe cleaner, a polishing cloth, and a jeweler’s loupe (useful for checking prongs).

When tagging on Instagram – be sure to use our handle @pearlsinternational so we can find your post. Keep in mind that we won’t be able to see your image if your account is private.

The winner will be chosen via a blind drawing and announced on social media on Friday, November 4th.

 

Happy Photo-Taking!

-Pearl Girl Savannah

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?

Watch Out Peridot – August Has a New Birthstone!

If you’ve followed our birthstone blog series or read any of our gemstone spotlights, you’ll know that we love reporting on all the dazzling and little-known facts about all of our favorite stones. August, which formerly could only claim peridot (and the lesser known sardonyx) as it’s birthstone, now has three stones to call its’ own! June, October, November, and December all boast more than one stone as a traditional birthstone, as well. In addition to peridot, those born in August can now sport lovely spinel as their birthstone.

History

Spinel has been confused with ruby for many years, even in Europe’s crown jewels. You may have heard of the famed “Black Prince’s Ruby” – worn by royals since the 14th century. This stone is not a ruby at all, but a 170 carat spinel polished into an irregular cabochon. Other famous spinels include the nearly 400 carat spinel atop the Russian Imperial Crown, and the Samarian Spinel, which is an astonishing 500 carats and thought to be the largest gem-quality spinel in the world. It belongs to the Iranian Crown Jewels.

The Black Prince's Ruby
The Black Prince’s Ruby – one of the world’s most famous spinels, at the forefront of George V’s Imperial State Crown. It has since been remade into the modern, lighter crown.

Colors and Physical Properties

As you would expect from the great ruby impostor, the most prized color for spinel is red. A quality it shares with true rubies, spinel takes its vibrant red color from chromium. It is also available in blue, pink, and orange, as well as lavender and violet ranging through to bluish-green. It is even found in brown and black. The variety of colors has contributed to its recent popularity, putting it in the same category as sapphires and garnets – two other popular stones known for their dazzling array of colors.

Spinel Color Variations
Some of the colors in which spinel is available. Ruby red (top right) is the most prized color, and purple is typically the most affordable. (Photo from gemselect.org)

Spinel is mined in Burma, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, parts of the US, Australia, and Tadzhikistan to name a few areas. It is actually rarer (and more affordable) than many rubies! Pieces larger than 5 carats, however, are considered quite rare – especially in ruby red and cobalt blue (which resembles the most prized shade of sapphire). These are the two most popular colors. Spinel is often imitated due to its’ resemblance to many other stones. True spinel contains iron, which makes it slightly magnetic. This separates it from the synthetic stones, although all reputable jewelry dealers should label their products clearly as natural or synthetic. Spinel also differs from rubies and sapphires in that it doesn’t rank quite as high on the Mohs hardness scale. However, it does still claim an 8, which makes it good for most jewelry applications.


Metaphysical Properties

Spinel is said to contain many metaphysical properties, which vary depending on the color of the stone in question. Overall it is said to be a calming stone and is recommended to those suffering from stress. When broken down by color, red spinel is said to enhance vitality, while green and pink incite compassion and love. Yellow has ties to intellect, while violet has associations in spiritual development.

Black spinel and diamond ring
Black spinel is often paired with white or colorless gemstones, which makes a stunning contrast. This ring features black spinel and diamonds in Sterling silver. $595.95

Click to view more spinel jewelry available from Pearls International Jewelers. If you would like a spinel for a custom jewelry piece, or would like to get more information about ordering the ring pictured above or any of the finished jewelry pieces from our Showcase, please contact us! (You can use the form below, or call at at 386.767.3473.)

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

 

Sources:

Southern Jewelry News
GIA.edu
Gemselect.org

 

Jewelry causing skin irritation? Here’s how to fix it:

Nothing says disappointment like wearing an amazing new piece of jewelry for a few days, only to have it irritate your skin.

The first step in fixing this pesky problem is to find out what exactly is causing your skin to feel irritated. Is there a rough edge somewhere on your jewelry rubbing your skin uncomfortably? Is your ring too tight? Could you have a metal allergy?

To determine the issue, examine your jewelry first. Check for any rough spots. Your jeweler should be able to grind down any rough or sharp edges on your jewelry that may make your skin feel irritated. A ring that is too small may rub uncomfortably against your finger, understandably causing irritation. Often, you might not even notice that your ring is getting tight, especially if it is one you wear all the time. In the summer time, your hands can swell, causing your ring to irritate you.
Try wearing your ring on another finger for a few days to see if it feels any better.

Skin irritation caused by a ring.
Skin irritation caused by a ring.

If none of these things apply to your situation, you most likely have a metal allergy. The most common metal allergy is nickel, which is used in white gold and Sterling silver. However, every body is different and people can be allergic to all kinds of metals. If you have an allergy, try borrowing some pieces of jewelry (preferably rings, since they come in the closest contact with your skin) in different metal types to find a material that won’t irritate you.

Seaside Collection
Many of the pieces in our Seaside Collection are made with imitation rhodium, a metal that is hypoallergenic and non-tarnishing.

But, this piece of jewelry has never irritated me before!

It sometimes happens that we develop new allergies as we get older. Also, your jewelry could have been plated. Many pieces of silver color jewelry are plated with Rhodium or another white metal. Plating will eventually wear away over time, exposing you to the base metal of your jewelry, which is what is most likely irritating you. This can usually be fixed by having your jewelry re-plated, although keep in mind that you may need to do this regularly. It should also be noted that you should keep your plated jewelry away from soaps, lotions and other personal care products that may cause the plating to wear away sooner.

If you’ve worn pendants or bracelets of the same metal, it might not have irritated you because it wasn’t as close to your skin. Bracelets slide around on your arms a bit, and pendants are often protected from direct contact with your skin by a layer of clothing. You’re most likely to see irritation from rings or earrings.

Okay, so I’m allergic to my jewelry. Now what? 

You definitely have options. As stated above, you can have your jewelry plated. For mild allergies, keep your skin dry where metal comes into contact with it. The trapped moisture allows metal ions to be absorbed into the skin more easily. Another thing you can do is keep your jewelry clean and tarnish free. Also, wearing your jewelry for shorter lengths of time may help.

Keeping your jewelry clean and tarnish free can help prevent it from irritating sensitive skin.

If your irritation is a little more intense, you can also choose to have your jewelry redesigned. This may seem scary, but it could be an exciting opportunity to upgrade your piece. Our talented custom design specialists would love to consult with you and create a design for you that will set your heart fluttering. We will even use your original stones.

If you’re just not into the idea of having your beloved piece of jewelry transformed into something new, we can cast an identical copy in a more suitable metal.

Ideally, we recommend platinum for those with sensitivities, as you are the least likely to have an allergy to this material. Rhodium is also a good choice for many people. 24k yellow gold is also a good choice, as it contains the fewest alloys.

Fill out the form below or contact Pearls International Customer Care at 386.767.3473 or email us at customercare@pearlsinternational.com to request a repair envelope for you to send your irritating jewelry in to our experts for plating or redesign. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have!


A South Sea Pearl Necklace

What’s the deal with so many pearl colors?

A variety of pearl colors

Pearls are sometimes referred to as the world’s most colorful gem, a title they have certainly earned! Rivaled only by garnets, which are available in every color of the rainbow, pearls are known for the amazing colors they display. However, not all of these colors occur naturally. There are many treatments that are considered acceptable in the jewelry trade to enhance the color and luster of the pearls in question. At Pearls International, we offer many color enhanced freshwater pearls so that you can find a color and style that suits your own personal flair. Note that when these treatments are done correctly, they do not detract from the value of the pearl. Here are the main treatments used to prepare pearls for use in jewelry:

Polishing: While it is is not necessary to cut a pearl or polish it in the manner you think of with other gemstones, they still have their own polishing procedure they are subjected to before being drilled and prepared to sell. They are simply tumbled in a salt water solution that is just course enough to remove any build up or organic matter from the pearls. This process can also sometimes remove small surface imperfections.

Maeshori: This is a process that originated in Japanese pearl farms, meaning “Before Treatment.” It refers to a range of treatments done at the farms, including polishing. When you hear of maeshori today, it means the process by which the pearl has been heated and then cooled in order to “tighten” up the nacre´ (smooth Mother-of-Pearl substance that forms the pearl) which causes the pearl to show increased luster. This process is comparable to a person getting a facelift.

Bleaching: Many freshwater and saltwater pearls are bleached to improve the color of white pearls. Bleaching also evens out some surface flaws. A natural color white strand will show slight variances in the hues of each pearl, while a bleached strand will appear very uniform. Pearl bleaching has been practiced for over 100 years and is considered an industry standard in production of white pearls.

Dyeing: Fancy color pearls such as cranberry and bright blue or green pearls have been treated with an organic dye. Sometimes freshwater pearls are dyed to mimic the color of saltwater pearls at a much lower price. Black freshwater pearls, for example, are dyed to look like Tahitian pearls. The same is true for chocolate color freshwater pearls. Chocolate Tahitian pearls are few and far between as it is, so it is a highly desired color based on rarity. Sometimes Tahitian pearls are dyed brown to make a matched chocolate Tahitian strand, without the pearl farmers having to wait the several years it would take to create a full strand of naturally chocolate color pearls. Dyeing a pearl does not detract from the value of the jewelry as long as it is done well. If you can see blotchiness on the surface of the pearl, or if you can see the original white color around and inside of the drill hole in the pearl, it has been poorly dyed. The color should be smooth and even across the surface of the pearl. Another common practice, related to dyeing, is called “pinking” which is most commonly done on Akoya pearls to increase the rosey overtones in the nacre´. This is achieved by soaking the pearls in a diluted red dye.

Freshwater Stick Pearl Necklace
Gorgeous color treated cranberry pearl necklace featuring both round pearls and stick pearls.

Irradiation: This is a treatment most commonly applied to saltwater pearls. It is rarely seen in freshwater pearls, because the cost of this treatment usually outweighs the value. The pearl is subjected to gamma rays, which darkens the pearl. In the case of saltwater pearls, it darkens the shell bead nucleus (which is made from a freshwater mussel). Because the center of the pearl has been darkened, the layers of nacre´ covering the pearl appear darker because of how the light refracts on the surface of the pearl, allowing you to see the nucleus underneath. The thicker the layers of nacre´ (so, the larger the pearl) the harder it is to see. Saltwater pearls treated in this manner will usually become silvery or gunmetal grey in color, not black. Freshwater pearls treated with irradiation will become very dark and it is a good way to get black freshwater pearls with high luster. It’s important to note that these pearls are not radioactive, and therefore are completely safe to wear and enjoy.

There are a couple of other treatments that some pearl farms may choose to do, but these are the most common and most acceptable in the pearl industry.

So, how can you tell if your pearls are a natural color or an enhanced color? Certain types of pearls are available in a range of natural colors. All others not listed are dyed or otherwise enhanced for fashion.

Akoya Pearls: Japanese Akoya pearls are one of the most popular pearl types on the market, and are the most obtainable saltwater pearls. They come in white and cream, with rose, silver, or gold overtones. They are also sometimes seen in a stunning silver-blue color, although these are very rare.

Graduated white akoya pearl necklace
Beautiful graduated white akoya pearl necklace.

South Sea Pearls: These rare treasures are available in white and gold, with the darkest golden pearls being considered the most valuable.

A South Sea Pearl Necklace
A multicolor south sea pearl necklace, showing the varying shades of gold and white these pearls naturally occur in.

Tahitian Pearls: One of the most sought after saltwater varieties of pearls, Tahitian pearls are prized for their dark color and ‘peacock’ overtones, although they can occasionally be found in chocolate as well. Most Tahitian pearls lean towards silver or grey rather than true “black.” (As in jet black, which is an unnatural color.) Pinctada margaritifera, the oyster that produces these gorgeous pearls, also produces their cousin, Fiji Pearls. Fiji Pearls are truly the most colorful pearl in the world, and one of the rarest. Because the waters they are farmed in are so nutrient-dense, they come in a rainbow of colors including the traditional blacks and greys, as well as bronze and gold.

Black Tahitian Pearls
Black peacock Tahitian Pearls

Sea of Cortez Pearls: As only one pearl farm is currently culturing these pearls, Sea of Cortez pearls are the most rare. They are also never enhanced to improve their color, so you know that if you purchase a Sea of Cortez pearl, it is unaltered by man once it leaves the oyster. Their colors are similar to those shown in black peacock Tahitian pearls, although they are somewhat more bold and rich in color than the Tahitians are.

Sea of Cortez Pearls
Pearls from the Sea of Cortez, produced from the Rainbow-Lipped Oyster

PS – You can click here to read more about the amazing Sea of Cortez and Tahitian black peacock pearls mentioned above!

Freshwater Pearls: Making up the bulk of the pearl market, most pearls you will come across while pearl shopping are freshwater. They take the least amount of time and effort from the pearl farmers to produce, and are cultured in several places around the world from a few different species of freshwater clams. These pearls naturally come in white and cream, as well as pastel colors such as peach, lavender, and pink. Any unusually dark or very brightly colored freshwater pearls are typically dyed.

Multicolor Freshwater Pearl Bracelet
Naturally occurring pastel color freshwater pearls, strung together in a bracelet.

When in doubt, a reputable company should always be honest with you about the jewelry you are buying – just ask!

Sources:

http://www.jewellerytechnology.com/education/Treatment_done_on_Pearls.php
http://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/content.php?92-Pearl-Treatments
http://www.professionaljeweler.com/archives/articles/1998/sep98/0998fys2.html
http://www.pearlsofjoy.com/Pearl-Colors_ep_45-1.html
http://www.pearlblogger.com/?p=137
http://www.purepearls.com/pearl-colors.html

What’s tougher than a diamond? You’ll never guess!

Our recent gemstone spotlight, featuring Jade, inspired us to dig a little deeper into what exactly the Mohs Hardness Scale is, and also the difference between hardness and toughness. Jade is a very tough stone, but not a very hard stone. In ancient times, it was used to create weapons and other tools, yet only falls between 6 and 7 on the Mohs scale.
How could that be? The answer is that toughness and hardness are not the same. Hardness (which is measured on the Mohs scale) determines how easily a mineral can be scratched, while toughness judges its ability to withstand breakage, as from a fall or impact with another object.

A guide to the Mohs scale

While the Mohs Scale consists of a numerical scale of 1-10, the toughness scale is a little less specific. There is not yet a standardized test for measuring toughness, and minerals are graded on a scale of Exceptional, Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor.

Diamonds, which are commonly known as the hardest natural mineral, sit at a solid 10 on the Mohs scale. However, they only rank as far as “Good” on the toughness scale. Jade, however, ranks as “Exceptional” and is therefore considered to be tougher than a diamond, although it sits at a 6-7 on the Mohs scale. GemSociety.org uses the comparison of wood vs. glass to help you remember the difference between toughness and hardness. Glass is very hard and can easily scratch wood, but wood is very tough, so if you bang a piece of glass and a piece of wood together the glass is more likely to be broken by the piece of wood.

With this logic, diamonds can easily scratch jade, but what happens if you whack a piece of jadeite and a piece of diamond together? The diamond could crack, but your jade will probably come away a little bruised, but not too much worse for the wear. Now you know!

 

Sources:
https://www.gemsociety.org/article/gemstones-tough-hard/
http://www.firemountaingems.com/resources/encyclobeadia/charts/68ag
http://geology.com/minerals/mohs-hardness-scale.shtml

 


Jade Cabs

Gemstone Spotlight – Jade!

Today’s Gemstone Spotlight will leave you feeling green with envy!

Jade is known for its striking green color and exceptional toughness. But did you know that jade comes in more colors than just green? While green is the most valuable, jadeite is also found in yellow, red-orange, white, gray, black, brown, and light purple. Nephrite, another variety of jade, is found in yellow, brown, black, gray, or white in addition to the classic shades of green.

History and Applications

Throughout history, Jade was valued for its toughness. While it ranges from a 6-7 on the Mohs scale, it is a very durable gem and was often used to create tools and weaponry in several different cultures. The mineral buildup of Jade makes this possible, as both jadeite and nephrite are metamorphic rocks composed of tiny, interlocking crystals. So if it doesn’t get very high marks in hardness, how is it valued for being tough? Interestingly enough, hardness and toughness are tested very differently in the jewelry industry. Hardness (as measured on the Mohs scale) ranks the stone’s ability to withstand scratches and indentation, while toughness judges the stone’s ability to withstand breakage. This is why jade rings may become scratched over time, but ancient Chinese jade sculptures still stand unbroken.

Moh's Scale of Hardness

A Chinese ceremonial jade axe.
A Chinese ceremonial jade axe.
Mayan jade head sculpture.
Mayan jade head sculpture.

Jade Jewelry

In a jewelry application, jade is typically beaded or polished into a cabochon. It is rarely faceted. When polished, jade should have a glassy to oily luster. This stone is popular in both men’s and women’s jewelry.

It is most commonly seen in rings in cabochon form and carved into beads or discs for necklaces. In the east, the most popular piece of jade jewelry is the carved jade bangle, which is thought to bring protection to the wearer. At Pearls International Jewelers, we have stunning pearl and jade pieces in our Dream In Color Collection, which uses traditional jade beads strung together with pearls in necklaces and bracelets. We also have lovely jade earrings.

Freshwater Pearl and Gemstone Necklace
Jade beads with white freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystal rondelles.
Freshwater Pearl and Gemstone Earrings
Pearl and Jade earrings.

Lore and Metaphysical Properties

Aztecs and Mayans believed jade could cure pain in the side of the body. In fact, the name jade came from Spanish explorers calling the gem “piedra de ijada,” literally meaning stone for pain in the side, which they coined while observing these cultures holding jade pieces up their sides. It is also thought to bring good luck and prosperity.

Two Chinese bi discs made of carved white jade.
Two Chinese bi discs made of carved white jade.

Perhaps the culture in which jade has the greatest value is China. The Chinese believe jade encourages longevity and strengthens your health. Meaningful sculptures are carved from jade all over China, giving it further meaning. A popular example of this is the traditional flat disc with a hole in the middle, known as “bi” in Chinese, a symbol of heaven. Other common Chinese jade sculptures include butterflies, which symbolize a long life, and dragons, which represent power and prosperity.

A bangle carved of imperial jade.
A bangle carved from imperial jade.

In many stories and legends, the popular jade bangle of eastern cultures (particularly China), was accredited with miraculous recovery from illnesses. It is said that the bangle would break at the critical moment and the wearer would recover as a result. In similar tales, the wearer of a jade bangle would emerge from an accident uninjured if the bangle broke at the right time.

Location

Both varieties of jade are found all over the world. Nephrite is more commonly obtained and therefore slightly less valuable than jadeite. The most valuable variety of jadeite, called imperial jade, which is prized for having a brighter, bolder green hue than the other varieties, is only mined in Myanmar (formerly Burma). Jade may also be found in China, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Russia, and Guatemala to name a few known deposits.

Necklaces made of imperial jade.
Necklaces made of imperial jade.

Jade as a Gift

Jade is the traditional gift for a 12th wedding anniversary. It is also associated with the astrological sign of Taurus, so makes a meaningful gift for those interested in connection with their star sign. Jade is a wonderful every day stone which can be made into many different jewelry styles. Need a special gift for your upcoming anniversary or sweetheart’s birthday? Please contact us!


Sources:
http://www.minsocam.org/ammin/AM58/AM58_727.pdf
http://www.gia.edu/jade
http://www.gemselect.com/gem-info/jade/jade-info.php