Tag: Pearls International

Introducing… Ariki Paua Shell Jewelry!

Ariki Paua Shells

Pearls International is proud to announce we are expanding our inventory of Abalone jewelry to now carry gorgeous, sustainably sourced Paua shell jewelry in Sterling silver!

Our new line, from a New Zealand company called Ariki™, includes amazing pieces hand-inlaid Paua shell that have been carefully selected once personally removed from the local waters by divers. The shells are actually a byproduct of fishing for food – so every part of the Abalone sea snail is used, which we though was super cool, because sustaining our sea life is very important. After all, the ocean makes up 71% of our Earth – so it’s important we take care of it and all the creatures that live there.

After each Abalone cabochon has been cut and set into your pendant or earrings, two layers of clear lacquer are added to protect and extend the life of your jewelry.

Remember, just like with your pearls, Abalone comes from the ocean where it is dark and protected from the sun and daily pollutants such as hair sprays and lotions. Follow these easy steps to keep your Ariki™ jewelry looking new for generations to come:

  • Never expose your jewelry to perfumes, hair sprays, lotion, or other materials containing detergents. With time these may penetrate the lacquer and cause damage to the Paua shell.
  • Don’t wear your jewelry for many hours in the bright sunlight.
  • Remove your jewelry before swimming. Chemicals in the water can damage your shell.
  • Store your Sterling silver jewelry in a jewelry box or other secure storage area when you aren’t wearing it. Believe it or not, exposure to oxygen actually causes silver to tarnish.
  • Clean routinely with a good polishing cloth.

We hope you enjoy our new Ariki™ line as much as we do! Stop by the shop today to see all of the beautiful pieces!

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


Top Ten Most Wanted, Continued (#9 and Counting)

(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.)

If you read our last blog, you know we have comprised a Most Wanted list for Oyster Offenders. We’re advocates of the life and safety of these little pearl-forming, ocean-cleaning parts of our aquatic ecosystems, and we are here to educate! Follow this series for neat facts about predators that live in our oceans, and more.

Cownose Ray Most Wanted Poster

9) Cownose Rays
Similar to the oyster toadfish, the cownose ray has special teeth for crushing mollusks. While feeding, they crush segments of oyster beds three feet wide and up to a foot deep! They also stir up the sediment around the oyster beds while they swim, which can bury the oysters. As oyster beds provide homes to a whole host of aquatic organisms, these rays set off a chain reaction of damages.  We’re all for the food chain, but we don’t want these around our special pearl oysters, so we give the Cownose Ray a Number Nine (#9) on the Ten Most Wanted List.

Stay tuned for more unbelievable oyster threats, leading up to the Number One (#1) enemy of our beloved oysters.  You won’t believe what some oysters go through to deliver their beautiful pearls!

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?’

 

 


Happy Earth Day from Pearls International!

Our earth sure does a lot for us. In addition to providing a wonderful place for us to live, the earth gives us all sorts of beautiful things to enjoy. We want to take just a moment to appreciate the beauty around us today, but there are hundreds of ways that you can help support the earth all year long! Check out the ways that Pearls International Gives Back.PI Loves Earth Day!

Meet Penelope Pearl: Pearls International’s Oyster Ambassador

Penelope is an oyster of the species Pinctada Margaritifera. She comes all the way from Tahiti! She likes to play in the ocean, and spends all of her time there.

Penelope lives in a tiny house made of two shells. These shells, called ‘valves’ protect her from danger from predators, and make her feel very safe. Sometimes, she opens the door to her house to catch passing plankton for her dinner!

One day, a tiny object found its way inside her nice little house. It somehow managed to get itself stuck, and in such a tiny house, this can get very uncomfortable! To make the object less of a nuisance, Penelope decided to redecorate!

Penelope’s shells are made of a pretty material called ‘nacre’. She makes it herself by absorbing molecules from the water she lives in, and then layering them over and over onto the walls of her shells. She decided that this would be the best thing to use to cover the tiny object, so she started to coat the irritant with nacre to make it nice and smooth, and much more comfy!

Penelope covered the irritant with the first layer of nacre, but it still felt rough and jagged, and it kept jabbing her in the gill. She coated it with a second layer of nacre, then tried to roll it around until it was less pokey. After a third layer of nacre, it was starting to look very shiny and pretty, so Penelope decided to add a fourth. Pretty soon, it was quite a sight! Penelope’s object was becoming a beautiful shade of blue, and it was starting to glow.  She kept adding more and more layers of nacre and rolling it around just to see how it would look in different parts of her house.

The object started to get so big that it began to be a bit crowded, but one day, just as Penelope was thinking that she might have to move to another shell, Penelope got pulled up in a net by a kindly old man.  He looked at Penelope this way and that.  Penelope peered out of her barely open door at the kindly old man.  “This is just what I was looking for!” she heard the old man say.  “I will take this pearl to the market and sell it for a big price so I can buy fish for my dinner!”

Penelope’s front door opened, and in came a small pair of tweezers to take out the very lovely, very large pearl that Penelope had made.  She had so much space in her house now, that it felt a little empty!  Penelope was going to miss her lovely pearl.  But before putting her back in the sea, the kindly old man said, “Don’t worry little shell, I will give you a tiny piece of something that you can play with.”  With that, the door opened again and in came the small tweezers with a tiny piece of sand.  Penelope was lowered back into her ocean home.  Now, Penelope had a new something to play with!  “This time,” she said, “I’m going to make it pink!  And she went on laying coat after coat of beautiful nacre on her beautiful pearl.

Want to know more?

Penelope recommends checking out the Pearls International Pearl Library to find out more about how pearls are made!

Call Pearls International Customer Care at 386.767.3473, or email us at customercare@pearlsinternational for even more great information about our all-time favorite subject, pearls!

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

Pearly Whirly Poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Sea Hath Its Pearls by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The sea hath its pearls,

The heaven hath its stars;

But my heart, my heart,

My heart hath its love.

 

Great are the sea and the heaven,

Yet greater is my heart;

And fairer than pearls and stars

Flashes and beams my love.

 

Thou little, youthful maiden,

Come unto my great heart;

My heart, and the sea, and the heaven

Are melting away with love!

 
 

 

Zuckerberg Style

The acclaimed Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, popped the question to his Harvard girlfriend of nine years with a ruby engagement ring. As Ira Weissman, a diamond industry veteran with over a decade of knowledge and expertise, says, the use of a diamond for a wedding proposal is a modern tradition. It started back in the late 1930’s with the advertising campaign “A Diamond is Forever.” Apparently, this statement was attractive for both men and women, because for men, it was shown that it was a reasonable purchase since it would last forever. For women, it represented a way to put “forever” into their relationship.  Weissman stated “To think that we’re only doing it because the very people who mine and sell the diamonds have convinced us to do so….”  Today, for better or worse, diamonds are the main commodity a bride looks for in an engagement ring.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan
Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg opts for ruby engagement ring. Photo credit: Noah Kalina

Men, if you are considering a less expensive colored stone instead of spending three month’s salary on a diamond, there are a few things to remember to increase your chances when popping the question:   First, is she expecting a diamond?  Ask her!  If she is interested in a colored stone, make sure you know what color and type.  Second, combining a diamond ring with another precious gemstone may counter the cost while making your lady feel special and loved, and also save some extra money to begin your new life together, but will she be able to wear that colored stone with all of the colors in her closet?  For a look that will blend with all colors, you may want to ask her about a pearl and diamond ring!  Pearls are famous for being able to go with any color.

Here’s the main thing to remember:  If you are going outside of the normal “diamond” track, try to avoid any shocks that may cause an obstacle to your proposal! Communication is key, and the only surprises you want are the good kind!

 

Big news from our little business!

As many of you who have shopped with us may know, Pearls International is a small, family owned company. These past couple of months have been very, very busy for us and we are excited to announce that we have just taken a very big step in growing our business!

Blank slate, no floors, old paint. Jim and Marty survey the battlefield.

Pearls International now has two locations to serve you! We have been dreaming of opening a new store for quite some time, and have just recently been given that opportunity. A storefront we had our eye on went out of business due to retirement, and we were happy to fill the spot. Little did we know, we had our work cut out for us. Our first step was to grow our staff – two stores requires twice the Pearl Girls! If you have been around the Daytona Beach Shores location, you may have seen some of our new girls learning the ropes of working in a jewelry store and learning all about our wonderful selection of different shapes, colors, and sizes of pearls! Next, we had to get the new location ready to bring in our inventory. This involved pulling up the layers of flooring (all five of them!) so we could lay down our new tile, painting walls, refurbishing jewelry cases, designing displays, and whole LOT of cleaning – all while keeping our first location running smooth for our wonderful Daytona Beach Shores customers.

The covered cases, a little mishap with the paint
The covered cases, a little mishap with the paint
Putting up the new chandelier!
Jim and Marty put the finishing touches on the store, about 5am the night before the Grand Opening! There were MANY all-nighters.
Jim and Marty put the finishing touches on the store, about 5am the night before the Grand Opening! There were MANY all-nighters.

So, after many all-nighters and some unexpected bumps in the road, we are happy to announce that our Grand Opening was a success! Thank you to everyone that joined us in our ribbon cutting ceremony on November 15th, and if you haven’t seen the new store yet, please stop by! We would love to see you. You can find us at 177 East Granada Blvd, Ormond Beach, FL 32176.

The finished product! Visit us soon to get a better look!
The finished product! Visit us soon to get a better look!

Don’t forget, Valentine’s Day is coming up, so stop by either of our convenient locations this month to add your favorite items to your Wish List! See you soon!