Tag: beauty

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?’

 

 


Pearly Whirly Poem by St. Ephraim of Syria

This poem by St. Ephraim of Syria called “The Pearl”

In the pearl of time
Let us behold that of eternity;
The pearl itself is full,
for its light is full;
Neither is there any cunning worker who can steal from it;
For its wall is its own beauty,
Yea, its guard also!
It lacks not,
since it is entirely perfect.

St. Ephraim of Syria
St. Ephraim of Syria

5 Reasons We Like Pearls Better Than Diamonds

We here at Pearls International believe pearls are an excellent investment, not to mention more affordable than diamonds! Here are our top ­5 reasons to choose pearls over diamonds.

[dropcap2]1[/dropcap2]Although both gems are natural, pearls have the advantage over stones dug out of rocks. Pearls come out of an oyster ready to use in jewelry-perfectly polished by the sea; while diamonds must be cut, cleaned, and polished in order to be used for jewelry.

[dropcap2]2[/dropcap2]A high quality pearl is often cheaper than a high-quality diamond of the same shape and size-making pearls great for all ages (even those younger or not-so-careful wearers).

[dropcap2]3[/dropcap2]No two pearls are exactly alike, making them extremely unique, while diamonds can be identically faceted.

[dropcap2]4[/dropcap2]Pearls naturally come in a wider variety of colors than diamonds.

[dropcap2]5[/dropcap2]Pearls are a timeless treasures – enough said!

Next time you need that special gift for a special someone, think pearls!

 

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/

Pearling Lugger

Pearls from ‘Down Under’

The world’s most sought after mother-of-pearl shell, which sparked an industry in commercial button manufacture, was harvested first in the mid-1950’s in the small, bustling town of Broome, in the Kimberley region of Northwest Australia.

At that time, if a pearl happened to be found inside an oyster gathered for its shell, it was considered a bonus of sorts and to shell gatherers, would have been considered “Winning the Lottery.” With the high value of truly natural pearls at the time, it would have permanently altered the finder’s (financial) destiny.

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The pearl’s mystique has long inspired men the world over to risk their lives, braving icy waters, drowning, and shark attacks for the chance to find the perfect gem. Setting out on small wooden luggers, sailing ships that were often at the mercy of strong winds and cyclones, an ongoing treasure hunt sent helmeted pearl divers to an unknown fate in the depths of the mysterious open waters in hopes of a great find.

Booming since the 1950’s, the town of Broome has been able to keep up the pace making itself a hub of pearling operations. As Australia’s pearl industry has expanded over the years, their reputation for quality and purity in their gems has grown.

Australian pearls captivate the true natural beauty of pearls from the moment they are taken from their oysters. These Australian pearls are of such high grade that common enhancing processes such has bleaching, dying and tinting are rendered unnecessary. Harvested by hand and cleansed with sea salt, the beauty of an Australian pearl will never fade, lasting generation after generation.

www.costellos.com

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.

Romance Within a Pearl!

Pearls have always been a timeless when worn as jewelry. Going back hundreds of years, pearls were a symbol of love and romance. The ancient Greeks wore pearls at their wedding ceremonies, believing they would ensure material bliss and prevent the bride from crying. Although we have come a long way from “ancient”, we still use those traditions today. Many brides still prefer to wear pearls instead of diamonds on their wedding day! A classic white pearl necklace would definitely add the classic touch you need to your gorgeous gown. Pearls are definitely a romantic piece of jewelry, and when you wear them, you’ll feel the love!

Stock Photo

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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The House a Necklace Bought

In my search for unique pearls, I came across an inspiring story about the origins of the famous Cartier building in New York City. The story is told that in 1915 Louis Cartier made history with the first natural, double-stranded Oriental pearl necklace costing $1.2 million ($16 million today). This necklace was placed on exhibition all over the world including Paris, London, and New York City. In the fall of 1916, the necklace’s appearance in New York reportedly caused a huge uproar with women from all over coming to admire them. Among these ladies was Mae “Maisie” Plant. At the time Cartier’s New York Salon was on the second floor of a small building in an inconspicuous part of town. Coincidently, Maisie had just placed her $1.2 million mansion up for sale. Knowing she wanted to sell her mansion anyway, Maisie approached Cartier and proposed a trade…the mansion for the pearl necklace. Surprisingly, Cartier accepted. Ever since that exchange, the Cartier firm has been located in the former Plant mansion and has come to be a great landmark for tourists in New York City.

Cartier

Regrettably, things did not go as well for Maisie as with Cartier. Seeing how she didn’t anticipate the depression, war, or the introduction of cultured pearls her necklace did not end up being an even trade. Maisie died in 1956 and in 1957, her $1.2 million necklace was sold at auction for a mere $170,000; the current value of the Fifth Avenue mansion I’ll leave to your imagination. More recently, in 2004, a similar natural, double-strand pearl necklace sold at Christie’s for $3.1 million. Because only one gem-quality pearl is uncovered from every 25,000 wild oysters found in the ocean, these pearls are considered the rarest in the world today. If only Plants’ heirs had held on to her necklace for a few more decades, they could have sold Maisie’s pearls for much more!

Maisie Plant and her fabulous double strand of natural pearls from Cartier.
Maisie Plant and her fabulous double strand of natural pearls from Cartier.
Fashion girls

5 Fashion Must Haves

Just like an LBD (little black dress) is a closet must-have for every lady, there are also some jewelry basics every woman must have stashed away for certain occasions. Jewelry boxes can fascinate and entertain women of all ages. Women love to accessorize and what better way than with something that glistens and shines!

  • Class Pearl Strand: An 18 inch pearl necklace is the perfect addition to any outfit. As the quintessential pearl accessory this is what most people think of when they hear “pearls.” Perfect for business casual, a night out on the town, or even with causal blue jeans.
  • Pearl Pendant:  A simple yet elegant pendant with a white pearl in the center of a sterling silver setting can be paired with V-necks, rounded collars, or even high necked tops for the chance to dress up or dress down.
  • Pearl stud earrings: A classic pair of white pearl stud earrings can be great for formal evenings or every day, and would complement any pearl necklace or pendant in white. For a more dressy spin on the classic white pearl studs, try our White Freshwater Pearl w/Swarovski Stud Earrings.
  • Long pearl necklace: A long necklace works well for any season.  With the ability to shorten or lengthen the length depending on individual body type, the 78″ Gunmetal Gray Freshwater Pearl Rope is a great addition with a fun and artsy way to display pearls. With endless ways to wear this necklace, friends and onlookers will see a new necklace every day!
  • Pearl dangle earrings: Another artsy way to display fashion sense, pearl dangle earrings can help put a more personalized feel when added with pearl pendants or necklaces.

Next time a shopping spree is needed, instead of adorning a closet with new shoes, purses, wallets, and dresses, try stopping into Pearls International to spice up that jewelry box! With new and ever-changing inventory, Pearl’s International always has the latest and greatest ways to help keep stylish accessories for every jewelry need!