Pearls 101 – What is a pearl?

Where does a pearl come from ? is a question we are often asked. There are many different types of pearl, some rarer than others, but before we start differentiating between them lets first understand how pearls are formed. Pearls are the product of the act of self-preservation by a mollusc, be it an oyster or a mussel. If the mollusc does not react in this way it will die.

In other words the creation of a pearl is caused by the protective reaction of an oyster or mussel to the accidental or deliberate introduction of a foreign body into its organism. This reaction starts by the mollusc covering the intruder with epithelial cells which will form a pearl sac around the intruder, which in turn deposit concentric layers of nacre that surround the offending object and slowly form the pearl, layer by layer.

 

So …what is nacre ?

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Nacre is made up of calcium carbonate in the shape of tiny crystals called Aragonite. Calcium carbonate is also found in chalk, our teeth and various other everyday items. With a pearl the Aragonite crystals are held together with a glue-like protein called Conchiolin. In our teeth which are also made of calcium carbonate;  the protein that holds that Calcium Carbonate of our teeth together is stronger than Conchiolin hence when we are invited to “test” the genuineness of pearls against our teeth it is not only unhygienic but totally undesirable as our teeth will scratch the pearl.

 

What makes nacre?

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Epithelial cells produce nacre and are therefore essential to pearl formation. They are found in a special tissue called the mantle which is found at the hinge and the edge of the molluscs flesh, as seen in the photograph shown. Nacre grows not only on pearls but also as mother of pearl on the interior of the shell. Nacre layers within the shell of the mollusc act as a protective shield against the outside world, making the mollusc less attractive as food to predators.  The only difference between pearls and mother of pearl is that in a pearl the layers are concentric and in mother of pearl they are flat or straight.

 

Where does a pearl gets its lustre from?

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Nacre layers play a vital role in the pearl’s lustre. Nacre layers are very thin, translucent and reflect light, thus creating the pearl’s distinctive lustre. Generally the thicker the nacre with regular, thin and translucent layers, the finer the lustre will be on the pearl. In other words lustre is caused by the reflection of light on the surface of the pearl and the refraction of light as it passes through the layers of nacre. This effect appears to make the pearl glow from within.

Pearls, Fashion & Afternoon Tea

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If you were invited to the Best of Britain Luxury Shopping event last week but couldn’t make it, here are a few highlights! The event was at the luscious Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge and it brought together some new and some established luxury ladies brands for an afternoon of tea, cakes, champagne, pearls and shopping! Gomez-Grazia, the celebrity endorsed fashion brand hosted us and other brands including swimwear, diamonds and even super luxurious hairpieces. We invited all our lovely clients – thank you to those who made it and we hope you enjoyed yourself. Ten percent of all sales went to The Great Ormond Street Hospital and a three lucky shoppers won complimentary nights in top hotels in Paris, Monaco and Geneva.

One of our youngest clients, aged 16, was treated to a pink freshwater drop pendant. Her warm skin tones and Gaelic colouring, with dark hair and blue eyes, meant that pink was her colour! She also suited the peacock black pearls, but young and pretty calls for pink!

The gorgeous Anna is wearing a stunning Gomez Grazia evening gown and a load of our white freshwater pearl bracelets (you can never wear too many!).

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Game…Set…Match

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Wimbledon, Henley…this month has certainly started with a competitive bang!
But as it is a Saturday our Pearl Team thought we should take a break, kick back, relax, tuck into the strawberries and check out some of the fashions trends seen on court.

Pearls have the ability to look perfect with anything from jeans to a red carpet dress.’ – Chrissie Douglas

What do Gabriella Sabatini, Jennifer Capriati, Monica Sales and Naomi Broady have in common, apart from being women and playing tennis?
PEARLS!

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All of these ladies have worn pearl jewellery in their tennis matches, from 1985 to present day.
Now don’t get us wrong, we prefer ladies to take off their pearl earrings and pearl necklaces before a match so that their sweet doesn’t damage the pearls, but our Pearl Company does like to see the odd pearl gracing the Wimbledon winners arena…who wouldn’t!

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Do you fancy joining these ladies wearing pearls of wisdom?
Our freshwater pearl studs are the most popular with the sporting athletes as they do not distract from play. Available in a range of colours from White to Peacock Black, you are bound to find the colour that best suits yourself.

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Fun Facts:
– Did you know that the tennis balls used at Wimbledon used to be White?
Yellow tennis balls were only fully introduced into the tournament in 1986!

– There is a diamond encrusted tennis racket available to buy in Amsterdam!

Whatever you end up doing this weekend, watching tennis, the rowing, or perhaps relaxing in the park, the big questions on everybody’s lips is…

How do you eat your Strawberries?…
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Blue or Blue?

Rowing 1Q. Eight men were rowing a boat down the Thames when it tipped over and they fell in. Not one single man got wet. How is that possible?
A. All eight were married, not single.

Today is the day!
The Thames foot path is filling up, University chants are echoing around, the popularity of Blue has sky rocketed…it can only mean one thing, it’s the Oxbridge Race.
Below our Pearl Team have put together a few fact about the race:

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– The first Oxbridge boat race was held in 1829.
– Light Blue = Cambridge
– Dark Blue = Oxford
– The course stretches for 4.2 miles down the Thames from Putney to Mortlake.
– This is the first year we will see the Newton Women’s Boat Race taking place on the same day and course as the mens!
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Now you might well be thinking, ‘how does this relate to pearls?’
Do you remember the triumphant Summer 2012 Olympic Regatta, where our rowers romped to victory?
Remember the petite pearl studs clutching the earlobes of Heather Stanning?
It was our first Gold medal from the London 2012 games and the first ever women’s rowing gold, to say that Helen Glover and Heather Stanning were elated would be an understatement!

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Fancy owning a pair of winning pearl studs?Available in a variety of colours and sizes, our Pearl Showroom, located at 42 Beauchamp Place, London, SW3 1NX, has an array of studs suitable for every girl.

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For the true blue girl why not opt for our blue freshwater pearl medium studs.

Wherever you watch the rowing, be it from the comfort of your sofa to the packed Thames foot path, may the best Oxford Team win!