Tag: awesome

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

 


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!

Beautiful Coral Reef under Threat

Our Oceans Are Depending On Us.

(This post is part of our blog series that deals with Pearls International’s take on social and environmental responsibility. For more information on how Pearls International gives back, please click here.)

WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE,
BUT OUR OCEANS NEED YOUR HELP.

This is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. We are polluting our oceans, killing off our sea-life and obstructing our very own eco-system. We must make changes. It won’t be long before this planet is taken over by…PLASTIC! This plastic over-pollution issue is a sign of over consumption and we need to bring it to an end, and I believe this is possible simply through awareness. If we can make everyone AWARE of the horrendous consequences of their actions, wouldn’t it only be right to change our actions to create positive consequences?  Before I continue my rant, I’d like to share a few eye-opening  statistics and it is then that I feel you will better grasp the severity of this issue.

Did you know:

  • Ocean pollution affects at least 267 species worldwide, including 86% of sea turtle species, 44% of all sea bird species, and 43% of marine mammal species.
  • 60,000 plastic bags are discarded in the US every 5 seconds
  • 1 million plastic cups are used just on airline flights in the US every 6 hours
  • 2 million plastic beverage bottles are used in the US every 5 minutes

saveourshores.org

If that isn’t enough to make want to stop using plastic products forever, what about our helpless marine life? These little guys depend on us to keep their environment clean and safe but we are doing exactly the opposite. We are turning their sanctuaries into deadly trash ridden dump sites in the middle of the ocean!

These are just a few things our sea creatures are having to battle, daily.

Ingestion: Many birds mistake pieces of plastic for tiny fish. Once the birds ingest the plastic their bodies are unable to digest it. Because the plastic does not get digestion, the bird feels full eventually resulting in malnutrition.

Suffocation: Animals will make the mistake of thinking that six-pack holder and plastic bag you left behind on the beach is their dinner. Once the plastic is ingested the plastic blocks airways resulting in suffocation or inhibiting its growth patterns. A sea turtles favorite meal is jellyfish…often plastic bags look just like this tasty treat. Lucky for the jellyfish, but poor turtles!

Entanglement: This most often is a result from fishing line and plastic material left from 6-packs. Once the animal become entangled their breathing is restricted along with their ability to eat and swim.

What about us? This over consumption of plastic affects us too!

Plastic is made of petroleum which would be oil or natural gas, but plastic also consists of harmful checmicals not found on labels. Time to expose these bad boys.

First, we have Phthalates: chemicals used to create soft and flexible plastics that are commonly used in the in food and construction industries, as well as in beauty products, pesticides, wood finishes, insect repellents, and solvents. Studies have found abnormal male sexual development, infertility, premature breast development, cancer, miscarriage, premature birth and asthma all associated with exposure to phthalates (saveourshores.org).

Second, there is  Bisphenol-A (BPA) is the chemical name for polycarbonate plastics, found in everything from 5-gallon water jugs, baby bottles, and the lining in many cans of food, including baby formula. Studies of Bisphenol-A show it is an estrogen disrupter with the ability to migrate into liquids and foods that it comes into contact with (Earth Resource, 2000). Numerous studies have found unsafe levels of BPA in children, adults, baby bottles, water bottles, teethers, baby formula, and other common household items.

Plastic more than likely isn’t going to disappear (anytime soon), but by bringing awareness to the catastrophic effects it has on our Planet I hope the next time you go grocery shopping you remember to bring your own bag and say “No Thanks” to plastic!

Even our decisions on what jewelry we wear is effecting mother earth!  One eco-friendly option we suggest… PEARLS! The pearl industry is proud to say that they are more eco-friendly than your typical mined gem. Pearl farmers are working harder than ever to constantly find new ways to make the pearl farming industry more eco- friendly. Ultimately, to keep this precious gem on the market without destroying nature. Although pearls are not mined,  that does not mean pearl farming is 100% harmless. Aquaculture can damage the environment from the use of high-powered hoses that are used to clean the oysters. Solution? Pearl farmers are using tropical fish to clean the oysters (saveourshores.org)! Resources, lets use all of our resources! Stay tuned for our next installment in the sustainability project to find out, ‘Are pearls threatened?’

 

 


Loose pearls in dishes

Join Pearls International on Instagram!

The wait is finally over, Pearls International is now on Instagram! In the past few months, Instagram has become a great new way of promoting and advertising a brand.

Since we are all about showing off pretty pearls around here, we thought this would be a great way to include our fans in the behind-the-scenes and day-to-day of life at Pearls International. We will be using this great new platform to announce any upcoming events and sales and to give our followers the inside scoop on what we do at the shop.

Keep an eye out for exclusive behind-the-scenes photos, videos, and snapshots of our Pearl Girls hard at work!  Follow us: @pearlsinternational. 

Instagram

Making Music from Lovely Shells

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We’re all familiar with the traditional watch face made of mother of pearl, but did you know that many musical instruments contain mother of pearl? It is very common to see the nacre inlay, or the lining of an oyster’s shell, included in instruments like pianos, guitars, accordions, violins, cellos, accordions, and trumpets. The use of mother of pearl in instruments has no other meaning than to show wealth of the owner.

Mother of Pearl Piano Keys

To trace the piano back, ivory was the predominant material used for key coverings, however due to many ivory bearing animals becoming extinct or dangerous to hunt, ivory was faded out and in came more easily sought materials like mother of pearl, bone, porcelain, silver, ebony,  and cedar.

Piano Francis Scott Key

A famous piano made by Knabe and Gaehle was an important part of history when Francis Scott Key composed “The Star Spangled Banner” in 1838. This exquisite hand carved piano had four rosewood sides, and each white key was surfaced with expensive mother of pearl.

John Lennon Guitar

Epiphone Casino, a popular guitar brand used by all three members of The Beatles early on was used to write songs like “Ticket to Ride,” Taxman,”  “Drive My Car,” and many others. Later in their career, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison all got customized Casino guitars of their own. In the picture shown, mother of pearl inlay can be clearly seen in the fret marks below the strings.

Who would have thought that mother of pearl could be used for more than just jewelry?

http://www.shafferpianos.com/hawkey/

Baroque Pearl Pendant with Wire Wrap

Pearl Spotlight: Baroque Pearls

Baroque pearls are a subcategory of pearls given their name due to their non-symmetrical shapes. They often have uneven surfaces with anywhere from minor to severe lumps, ridges, and curves. In today’s market, the more round a pearl is, the more valuable it is considered to be.  Consumers expect to pay more for a rounder pearl, and particularly for larger round pearls.  Therefore, most baroque pearls have been fairly inexpensive due to their “imperfections,” even in the larger sizes.  Baroque pearls, however, have become extremely popular in recent times due to their uniqueness and artistic allure, so we are seeing rising prices due to increased demand.  Now is the time to buy baroques!

Baroque Pearl Pendant with Swarovski Crystal

Baroque pearls are generally cultured freshwater pearls that are mantle-tissue nucleated, meaning a tiny piece of mantle tissue from one oyster is placed in another oyster to form the irritant which gets the pearl started. This is perhaps the closest humans have come to imitating nature in pearl cultivation because a pearl that forms in nature is usually started from some type of non-uniform organic debris that gets lodged inside an oyster.  The wild oyster makes itself more comfortable by coating the debris with nacre to make (usually) an irregular-shaped pearl!

The one-of-a-kind beauty that is seen in a baroque pearl can provide a great centerpiece for expensive and highly sought-after jewelry.  Their completely unique shapes are often used en solo or for the centerpiece of necklaces, earrings, and bracelets to show off their distinctive shapes.

Baroque pearls are often a favorite among pearl lovers due to their exclusive forms.  No two are remotely alike!  They are powerful enough to adorn formal wear, but can also be worn with casual outfits as an artistic piece without seeming overdressed.

Baroda Pearl Carpet

Pearls Under Your Feet

When you think of pearls, the words ‘elegant’ and ‘classy’ usually come to mind. After reading about Basra pearls, you might just add the word ‘luxurious’ to that list.

Originating from the Persian and Arabian Gulf and countries such as Bahrain and Kuwait, Basra pearls have created quite the reputation amongst pearl enthusiasts the world over.

Produced by the Pinctada Radiate (Gulf Pearl Oyster) the earliest records of these pearls date back to 300 B.C.!  The supply has diminished significantly since the oil industry boomed in the Arab countries, which dealt a heavy blow to the pearl culturing industry the region. This plot takes a fortuitous turn, since this shrinking market has made the Basra pearl all the more desirable.

Basra pearls are of an irregular shape, often having a yellow or pink tint. The most sought after Basra Pearls are the natural, un-drilled pearls with a silvery white tone and a spherical shape.

This is a one of a kind piece called the Baroda Pearl carpet. It’s hard to imagine, but here you can see how 30,000 carats of pearls will look if you decide to use them as a carpet for your living room!

Take a closer look…

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Basra Pearl Carpet
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It’s Recycling Time!

(This post is part of our blog series that deals with Pearls International’s take on social and environmental responsibility. For more information on how Pearls International gives back, please click here.)

Pearls International is happy to introduce our new recycling program. This summer we are making an effort to be more environmentally-friendly. We now have two big recycling bins located at the back of our store and we’re ready to start this mission! Recycling cans, plastic, cardboard, paper, and other eco-friendly materials is a great way to help the earth become more beautiful, and beautiful is definitely something we appreciate around here!

Like many people, recycling often gets pushed to the bottom of our “to-do” list, but we felt the urge to make a change for the better. By creating this new recycling program, we hope our customers follow in our footsteps and find their own ways to be kind to the planet.

                                                                                   Recycle logo

Recycling is easy! Just call your local waste-management facility to get started, then set aside a separate bin for recyclables and you’re good to go! Our new recycling program is the first step to making Pearls International more green. We hope you take the initiative to do the same.

Pearls International strives to embrace greener business practices. To read more about how we hope to give back to our planet, please click here

Santa's Secrets

SANTA SPILLS HIS SECRETS! Pearls International sits down with the Merry Old Elf Himself.

PI: Thanks for being with us today. Haven’t seen you in a while. You probably don’t remember, but I sat on your lap at a mall once when I was seven.

Mr. Claus: I’m happy to be here. Hope you weren’t too disappointed by that lump of coal. Good thing your behavior has improved since then.

PI: Ahem. We’re excited to get to ask you a bit about your process. Would you consider what you do more of an art or a science?

Mr. Claus: A little of both, really. With most people it’s pretty cut and dried. They want a pony. Tickets to the Superbowl. Maybe a nice set of potholders. But then there are those few who get very difficult. They’re the ones who just go and buy what they want, instead of waiting for someone to gift it to them. With them, it’s more of an art form. You have to find something that really makes them stop and say “Wow!”

PI: Are you usually able to find just the right thing?

Mr. Claus: For a while there, it was touch and go. I had a few near misses, but I think I’ve finally got the right recipe.

PI: Care to share it with us mortals?

Mr. Claus:  Well, it’s generally very important to get just the right combination of unique and sparkly. If you get those proportions correct, things usually work out just fine. If you’re just a little bit off, though, you’re headed for disaster.

PI: What do you suggest as the best way to avoid a worst-case scenario?

Mr. Claus: As you know, I’ve stopped by your store a few times over the past couple of years. I’ve always managed to find something that will work. The best part is that I still have some cash leftover to buy presents for everybody else when I’m done. I’m always pleasantly surprised that I can get so much stuff for under $100.

PI: I thought the elves did most of the toy making. When did you start buying gifts?

Mr. Claus: The elves have been a bit preoccupied with Facebook lately, their work was a little lackluster. It seemed reasonable in this economy to support small businesses and buy American-made goods.

PI: Thanks. We appreciate that. What’s your best go-to gift from Pearls International?

Mr. Claus: I always shop the sales — the $10 earring sale you’re doing this week is great. I’d have to say I’ve had the most luck with some of your pendants, and an earring and necklace combo is always a pinch hit. I also like to give kids the Wish Pearl Gift Kit. It’s inexpensive and educational. It’s nice that you’re doing free gift wrap until Christmas, it saves me a lot of time.

PI: Great, I know what to get for my niece now. Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us! 

Mr. Claus: You’re very welcome. Now, if you don’t mind, I need to get back. If the reindeer don’t get walked, they tend to bite.

Mother of Pearl Inlaid Syrian Furniture

Syrian Mother-of-Pearl Furniture

While Pinterest-ing I came across some Syrian furniture inlaid with mother of pearl! The blogger traveled to Global Village, Dubai to a cultural market. The details of each piece are superb! To think, each shape is cut out individually and designed into these patterns to create furniture! These are several items I would NOT want anyone sitting on!

Armless Chair

Mirror

Side Table

Table

Chair
http://caitlinwilsondesign.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2010-12-07T00%3A17%3A00%2B04%3A00&max-results=50