It’s amazing how a tiny grain of sand can become one of the most coveted jewels of our time, Pearls. One of the fastest growing trends in today’s fashion industry is coupling pearl jewelry with a simple design to create a sleek new look. Just a simple Akoya pearl strand can turn a casual sweater and jeans into a chic look desired by many.
One of the hottest styles is to wear multiple strands of pearls. The mixture of different lengths and sizes adds flair to both day and evening wear. Multi-strand pearls in various pastel colors can create a flirtatious and daring look for the spring/summer months.
The understated beauty of a perfectly matched strand of pure white Freshwater pearls is always in style. Professional woman are adding elegance to their business attire simply by slipping on their pearls. Even brides are trading in the sparkle of diamonds for a more classic look, usually a pearl strand handed down from the generation before.
Legends tell of pearls coming from heaven as a drop of water into the sea. Perhaps this is the reason for the popularity of the pearl drop earring. Many of today’s rich and famous have been adhering to this trend. Actress, Anne Hathaway, graced the red carpet at the 2007 Oscars donning a pair of diamond and pearl dangles.
Because pearls are created by a living organism, they are considered to be the most feminine of all gems. Their warm glow, not common in other gems, is due to their unique beginnings. This makes pearls one of the most rare and coveted gemstones on the planet.
Online professional retailer, Jamesallen.com, is known for its high-quality, low-cost pearl jewelry. James Allen offers a wide selection of Akoya, Freshwater, and Tahitian pearls that is sure to satisfy any taste. Jennifer Norbury, GIA accredited jewelry professional and sales executive of James Allen didn’t own pearls until she had a chance to work with the jamesallen.com collection. “After learning about pearls firsthand and having a chance to see their true beauty, it has turned me into a life-long fan of pearl jewelry.”
Pearls are considered nature’s gemstones and are perfect for inclusion in fine jewelry. Harvested from oysters, pearls are chosen in a similar fashion to other gemstones, including diamonds. When looking to purchase a pearl, follow the following seven tips in order to find the best pearl for your money.
Although you may think of pearls being creamy or off-white in color, pearls actually come in a wide array of colors. Pearls can range in color from rare black pearls to pure white pearls, and every color in between. By far, the most popular colors for pearls are white, cream, yellow and pink. Tahitian pearls are black, blue, grey, or even silver in color, and tend to be more expensive than the afore-mentioned lighter colors, but it should be kept in mind that no color is considered better than another. When choosing a color of a pearl, consider your personal tastes and even skin tone to determine what color of pearl is the best pick for you.
When examining pearls, place the pearls on a white or off-white background to best see the true color. Often, stores will place the pearls on a black velvet tray to provide the most impact, but the dark color could prevent you from seeing the true quality of the color.
Most pearls are natural colors, but some are dyed. Dyed pearls are generally less expensive than naturally colored pearls, so take the color into careful consideration when buying.
The luster of the pearl is the quality of the reflective surface on the outermost layer of the pearl. This luster is quite important when choosing a quality pearl, and generally speaking, the higher the luster is an indication of a higher quality pearl.
Pearls are made of different layers of nacre, a solution the oyster secretes to protect its delicate interior from an irritant, often a simple grain of sand. The coating of the pearl is the outermost layer of nacre and should be thick enough to protect the pearl. Usually, coating and luster go hand in hand, with the thickness of the coating directly affecting the quality of the luster. Pearls with a thin coating are more likely to chip, are not as durable, and often appear dull.
The surface of the pearl should be smooth without any ridges, bumps, or pits. The higher quality of a pearl will have a smooth surface that will enable the light the light to properly reflect and showcase the color and luster of the pearl. Also, avoid any pearls with blemishes on the surface.
Although most pearls are round, that is not the only shape of pearl available. That being said, round pearls should indeed to completely round. The different shapes of pearls available are:
- Semi round
- Off round
Generally speaking, round pearls are worth the most, with semi round, off round, and Baroque being valued less with each category. Usually cultured pearls are considered round with freshwater pearls more odd shaped.
Size in pearls is measured in millimeters. In pearl necklaces where each pearl is approximately the same size, the measurement is limited to a range, such as 7×7.5mm, meaning the pearls in the strand are between seven and seven and one-half millimeters in size. Usually, the larger the size of the pearl, the more expensive the price tag. However, the other factors still come into play.
Pearls are set by drilling through the pearl to tie on a strand for a necklace or top mounted for other pieces of jewelry. When choosing the setting, ensure the setting itself is of good quality and the pearl is appropriately set. This is critical when choosing a necklace, since a pearl that is drilled off center will cause it to hang awkwardly on the strand.
For decades, jewelers have had enjoyed the position of being the “keepers” of the knowledge about diamonds and gemstones. They stood behind jewelry counters and shared little tidbits of information about jewels to shoppers. The jeweler seemed to be talking down to the shopper, making them feel as if they should be grateful to even be in the store or touch the precious gems in the display case.
This monopoly of knowledge went hand in hand with the monopoly of supply. The only way you could purchase a diamond or precious gemstone was to buy in a jewelry store. The prices were artificially high with markups of 100% to 300% of wholesale costs. The factors that differentiated stores included the ornate decorations, the fancy display cases, and elaborate storefronts. Life was simple and very profitable for the jeweler. The shopper came in, the jeweler said this is what you should buy, and the shopper paid the price because they had no other options. Can you recall any poor jewelers before the millennium change in the year 2000?
It was about this time that the most feared word in the jeweler’s vocabulary began to change the industry forever. That word was Internet. Suddenly there were competitors springing up who could supply diamonds and jewelry delivered to your door, often at prices lower than could support the high overhead of the jewelry store. However, the greatest fear was that the hidden knowledge of diamonds and precious gemstones was available to any shopper who wanted to spend a little time researching online.
The jeweler of the past said here is what I have and which one do you want to buy? Then came the knowledgeable shopper armed with printouts of online diamond advice. Instead of simply asking for a one-carat diamond, the shopper now has a detailed list of requirements that all but guarantees that nothing in the store will meet their requirements, regardless of the price.
It is common for a diamond shopper today to say, “Here is what I want and I expect the lowest price in the country.” Then they present their list of requirements for their round diamond:
1) Carat weight exactly 1.27 because our first date was January 27th
2) At least G color
3) VS2 clarity but I do not want to be able to see anything under the microscope
4) Must have a GIA grading report dated in 2006 with Excellent cut grade
5) No fluorescence
6) At least Very Good for polish and symmetry
7) Girdle has to be Medium (nothing more or less will do) and faceted
8) Laser inscribed with the GIA number
9) Must be able to take to an independent appraiser who agrees with all grading
10) I need it in two days
Their parting remark is that they are shopping these same requirements with twenty other retailers and are going to buy from the one with the lowest price.
This is the jeweler’s nightmare because this is not how their business works. Their jewelry store caters to the impulse buyer who will come in, see something beautiful and buy with only a few encouraging words from the sales clerk. Spending hours of work to find the specific diamond the shopper wants and then paying the shipping and insurance to get it shipped next day is just more work than they want to do for a sale. Instead, they complain and wish for the return of the good old days, when Ma Bell controlled the telephones, gas was 59 cents a gallon and the secrets of the diamond industry were safely behind the jewelry counter.
Fortunately, for diamond and gemstone shoppers there are a new breed of diamond retailers available who not only encourage diamond education; they enjoy working with shoppers who know exactly what they want. These diamond brokers have access to the diamonds on the wholesale market and know how to find diamonds that meet the shopper’s requirement. Best of all, the diamond brokers have much lower overhead than a jewelry store so can find the exceptional diamonds at very low prices.
The competitive marketplace always seems to produce sources for services and goods that consumers demand. The online diamond broker is well suited to serve today’s well-knowledgeable and demanding diamond shopper.
Three thousand years ago, when the leader of one tribal group chose to visit a second tribal leader, he brought with him many gifts. Among those gifts, he invariably included some large and shiny pieces of jewelry.
That jewelry was undoubtedly made out of gold. It might have included bracelets, rings, chains and even a lovely, gold jewel case. That long-accepted gift, the gift of jewelry, has found favor with many generations, and it has become a popular gift in countries all over the world.
Sometimes the gift of jewelry has been presented only to those who were considered worthy recipients. For example, a Girl Scout or Boy Scout pin would be given to a young person who had demonstrated the qualities of a Scout. Similarly, the large ring worn by American military personnel symbolizes the willingness of those men (and women) to sacrifice for the citizens of their homeland.
Tourists often purchase jewelry to give to loved ones back home. Jewelry usually does an excellent job of “speaking” for the region of the world in which it was created. A traveler to Rome might want to purchase a cameo, a popular jewelry piece in Italy. A traveler to Santa Fe, New Mexico might spend a good bit of time looking at that area’s Indian jewelry.
The Native Americans of New Mexico make many colorful bracelets and a large number of necklaces. Some Indian shops also sell earrings. Finding a pin among the many displays of Indian jewelry can be a challenge. One woman who responded to that challenge did find what she wanted. She purchased a lovely turquoise and pink pin at a shop close to the Grand Canyon.
Perhaps a true appreciation for the international appeal of jewelry requires an acquaintance with a world religion. For example, Catholicism is practiced in many different countries, and most Catholics enjoy giving jewelry to friends and family. Jewelry often comes inside the gifts that are given at weddings or at the time of a baptism.
Sometimes an infant wears earrings at the time of a baptism. A fair number of Hispanic women plan for their infant daughters to have their ears pierced. They expect those girls to make a habit of wearing earrings. Interestingly, the Hispanic women are not the only ones who have that hope. Many new mothers in the Middle East make similar plans, regarding the use of pierced earrings by their young daughters.
Still Catholicism and Islam are not the only two world religions that underline the importance of jewelry. Just walk into any Baha’i “bookstore.” There you will find many different pieces of jewelry. All of them-rings, necklaces, pins and bracelets-have on them a Baha’i symbol. All of those pieces of jewelry have become popular gift items.
Recently a young, male Baha’i in Los Angeles wanted to give himself a gold chain from the local Baha’i bookstore. He wanted to acquaint his customers with his family’s strong ties to the Faith. That desire developed after that same young man had visited the home of an elderly man, a man who had known the grandfather of that young adult.
No, by jewelry and the darkside, we are not referring to Darth Vader’s dark side of the force. However, the idea of jewelry inspired by Anakin Skywalker, the Sith and his Emperor sure is tantalizing. Here, if you think more about the likes of Morticia Addams of the Addams family, then you’re on the right track. Gothic jewelry is the type of jewelry that the likes of her would wear: mysterious, brooding, yet elegant. Viewed this way, jewelry and the darkside certainly can go hand in hand.
Gothic jewelry, or darkside jewelry, as opposed to ‘light,’ evokes images of the macabre and the preternatural: vampires, the dead and undead, spirits, black magic and the black arts. As such, artisans craft items that would appeal to a person’s dark or gothic side. There is an abundance of e-commerce websites and specialty stores whose emphasis is on jewelry and the darkside. In these places, a person will be able to find gothic jewelry such as pentacle pendants, gothic cross necklaces, spider-and-web piercings, and more.
Also known as pagan jewelry, gothic body ornaments are made from many types of materials, but they are typically available in gold, sterling silver and pewter. They may come plain or be encrusted with jewels. Many pieces of gothic jewelry have their roots in esoteric sources, such as signs and symbols used in ancient Egyptian lore or those employed in Celtic rituals. Other pieces of gothic jewelry are timeless icons representing the eerie: coffin-shaped rings, heavily ornate cross brooches, earrings shaped like the heads of howling wolves.
Slave bracelets, also known as handflowers or maille bracelets, are also popular examples of gothic jewelry. These look like chain mail, or pieces of woven metal. They are different from conventional bracelets in that they are worn not just on the wrist, but on practically the whole hand, and their intricate patterns are sure to attract attention. Bib and choker necklaces are also popular gothic accessories. Catalogues of gothic jewelry oftentimes include so-called ‘poison’ rings or bracelets. These items have a small compartment where the wearer can presumably keep very small or fine materials, such as powder. Maille, chandelier or dangling earrings are also available to complete one’s overall look of mystery.
Gothic jewelry is easy to wear and can be used to dress up or dress down. They are easily available and the variety offered is endless. Because they depict arcane symbols and figures, gothic jewelry imparts a sense of mystery and secrecy. Popular among both the young and not-so-young, gothic jewelry may be dark, but not dreary; ornate, but not tawdry. In fact, it is just the opposite: jewelry and the darkside – a hauntingly beautiful combination.
Gold jewellery has been prized for literally thousands of years for its beauty, being used both to show enormous wealth and as an expression of love and affection. You probably know that gold goes back to the time of the Pharaohs, who wore it all over their bodies, and were buried with it upon their death.
Today, gold jewellery is everywhere. It’s most commonly seen as rings on the fingers of married or engaged people, or as earrings, but many people also put jewellery in their nose, tongue or belly button, among other places. Hip hop culture has led to a resurgence in large pieces of gold jewellery being worn as a deliberate show of wealth, as ‘bling’, and this fashion has spread to many of the world’s young people.
When you buy gold jewellery, there are two important things to consider: the first is what the piece itself actually looks like (the quality of the jewellery itself), and the second is the purity of the gold, measured in carats. Although many people can be snobbish about low-carat gold, it is often what you do with it that counts, with a well-made piece from lower-quality gold actually being much more pleasing than a badly-made piece from expensive gold, and cheaper to boot.
Of course, if you’re not into gold, there are plenty of alternatives. Silver is gaining in popularity all the time, as a way to stand out from the crowd and counter the perception of some that gold is tacky, and platinum is also a well-regarded metal for jewellery-making. It’s possible to make just about anything into nice jewellery given time and skill, with some interesting materials to try being glass, shells and even wood – you can even make your own jewellery out of inexpensive beads and string, if you’re looking for something unique.