Thinking back to my childhood, I was around twelve years of age at the time when my first awareness of the value of pearls occurred to me. It was during the summer, we had a young Japanese college student who came to live with us. Her name was Masako. Masako was from Osaka. At the time of having entered the US, she was only allowed to bring in but a limited amount of money and she did not want to return home. She had asked my mother if she would help to sell some pearls that her family had sent with her to the US ? Masako took down from the shelf in the bedroom closet a box which from which she pulled out a folded cloth. Unwrapping the cloth there were several very large egg - sized pearls. They were as my mother said the largest pearls that my mom had ever seen or would she ever see again! (I think the reason that I remember this detail is because I heard her retell the story a few times to her friends.) Masako told her that they were handed down through her family who were descendants of Japanese royalty. My mother looking at the pearls and then folding them up into the cloth, took a long pause, then said to her, put these away and N-E-V-E-R sell them. Don't worry about the money, I will help you. I relay this story because it must have left an impression on me to remember this small event out of the many things over my life time. I only wish now that I had been more inquisitive about the pearl's history and if they could talk the stories they could tell?
Pearls from the South Seas are the most valued of pearls.
The pearl trade in Japan has a rich history of female Japanese divers (Ama) who are renowned for how long they are able to hold their breath - up to two minuets under water while collecting mollusks and placing them in netted purses worn on their chest. The Ama free dive into the ocean depths up to 100 to 150 times a day. There are about 2,000 "Ama" left today down from when there were once around 15,000. Currently, over time due to their deep search for pearls later wore white protective diving suits and helmets.
China: Early woodcuts recorded pearl divers in 1637 in the encyclopedia of technology.
Persian Gulf: Once a leader is exporting pearls but is now replaced with exportation of oil.
Things you may ask about pearls:
Pearls are a sustainable gem as the oysters are not killed when the pearl is removed. Pearl farmers take care as the older oysters produce the better quality pearls.
Kokichi Mikimoto, considered the father of the cultured pearl industry was successful in cultivating a method to produce a perfectly round pearl called the Akoya Pearl and granted a patent in 1916.
Natural pearls are more organic looking than cultured pearls. You can test if a pearl is real by rubbing it against your front teeth side-to-side. Real pearls have a gritty texture from the layers of nacre. Fake pearls will be smooth and could be made from glass or plastic. Real pearls have a luster produced from layers of calcium carbonate other wise called nacre.
One last very important thing to note: Please, wear your pearls! Pearls benefit from wear against the skin to keep them from drying out. Keep them in a soft cloth or pouch but not in an air tight container as pearls need to breathe.
You can not go wrong when wearing pearls as there is no set rules when to wear them. Pearls are "okay" to wear with casual jeans and perfectly Devine with dressier evening attire. Pearls make a heartfelt wedding gift from mom to daughter.
So all said, enjoy your pearl jewelry! We invite you to see our latest collection of pearl jewelry featuring freshwater pearls, baroque, and some are combined with other gemstones see pictured below..
Learn more about minerals & fossils.