Pearls ~ The Gemstone of the Sea and June's Birthstone

The classic lustrous pearl, the gemstone from the sea and the only gemstone created by an the birthstone for June. Pearls come in a wide range of colors and shapes, but their most popular is the lustrous cream, sphere-shaped pearl. Scotch Street Vintage has a wide variety of pearl jewelry you can click Scotch Street Vintage Pearl Jewelry Collection or the image above to see them all.  Here is everything you need to know about buying a beautiful piece of pearl jewelry to add to your collection.

About Pearls

There are natural and cultured pearls. Natural pearls occur in nature when something, like sand, irritates a mollusk’s body, and it starts forming layers around the irritant, forming a pearl. A cultured pearl happens with human intervention when a tiny seed or bead is inserted into a mollusk. More than 90% of pearls on the market are cultured. 
Saltwater pearls and freshwater pearls have a noticeable difference in the type of water the mollusk is in that forms them, but that is not the only difference. The mollusks forming freshwater pearls can create several pearls, while saltwater mollusks can only form one pearl at a time. This makes saltwater pearls much more valuable. Another difference is the potato shape of freshwater pearls with their pits and bends. 

Pearl Colors and Origins

Pearls' classifications are often based on their color and origin. For instance, Akoya pearls come from the seas of Japan and China. While traditionally a white pearl, they are sometimes dyed blue/black because it is the only way to get the liquid silver color of the Akoya black pearls. What distinguishes Akoya pearls is their metallic luster which brings a combination of shine and sparkle that no other pearls have. Below are perfect examples of Akoya pearls in the white and black versions. You can see the metallic sparkle they have (click on the image below for more information on this ring).

South Sea Pearls and Golden South Sea Pearls come from Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. These pearls have a more golden, almost champagne color, which makes these pearls very desirable. Below is a South Sea Pearl (click on the image below for more information) that shows the much deeper golden colors than the Akoya pearls above.
Authentic black pearls are Tahitian Pearls named for their place of origin, Tahiti. Tahitian Pearls come in various colors, including green, copper, and blue, and these are the only pearls whose color occurs naturally. In the picture below (sorry, this ring has already sold), you can see a faithful Tahitian Black Pearl and how saturated its color is. 
Vintage Tahitian Black Pearl Earrings

Evaluating Pearls

It is essential to understand all pearls have blemishes, so if you are waiting to find a blemish-free pearl, you will be looking for a while. If someone is trying to sell you a blemish-free pearl, it is most likely a fake. Fake pearls are often plastic, but they have never been able to recreate the luster a natural pearl has, so fakes are usually easy to spot if you have done your homework. The key to finding a high-quality pearl is finding those that have few blemishes 1-2 tops.


Care Information

Pearls are very susceptible to chemicals, so the most critical care information is to keep them away from chemicals like cleaners, perfumes, and hair spray. I always suggest taking any pearls off when cleaning and not putting them on until you have completed your beauty routine each day. 

For strung pearl jewelry (necklaces and bracelets), you should have them restrung every few years. This will increase the durability of the strand. And on a final note on strung pearls. I am often asked why we never have strung pearl necklaces or bracelets in the shop; trust me, it is not from a lack of trying. Strung pearls have a long sentimental history of being passed down through families for generations, and it is very rare to find vintage sets for sale.


Our Favorites

Pearls are classic, but they are also extremely versatile and look wonderful paired with all gold colors, setting styles, and different gemstones. Below are some of my favorite examples of this versatility, starting with a 1950s pearl cluster ring. Next, an a1920s classic art deco pearl and diamond ring, and finally, a stunning 1800s art nouveau seed pearl brooch that can be easily repurposed into a pendant. Click on the picture for details on any of the below.


So that is the rundown on June's Birthstone, Pearl, but if you have any questions, we are always happy to help. You can contact us here. And you can click the following link to see the entire Scotch Street Vintage Pearl Jewelry Collection.

Enjoy the beginnings of summer and talk to you soon - Lori 


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