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Jewellery Guides

A Guide to Pearls

Why are pearls so special?

Pearls have been synonymous with classic elegance for centuries. Often seen as the ‘Queen of Gems’, pearls have captured the human imagination since their discovery in 420 BC.

Throughout history, pearls have been seen as symbols of wealth and status due to their rarity. Pearls have consequently been beloved by some of history most prominent and celebrated individuals. Some recognisable pearl jewellery would be Anne Boleyn’s pearl initial necklace, Audrey Hepburn’s four-strand pearl necklace worn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Elizabeth Taylor’s La Peregrina pearl necklace, Coco Chanel’s layered pearl necklaces and of course, Carrie Bradshaw’s 100-inch pearl rope necklace from Sex and the City. It is fair to say that pearls have always been at the forefront of fashion and are the ultimate signifier of luxury and elegance.

A Guide to Pearl Quality

Is there a difference between natural and cultured pearls?

 All pearls are made through the same process of a mollusc covering a fragment of debris with their shell material.

Natural and cultured pearls differ in the type of fragment of debris used. With natural pearls, a pearl can only start to be created if a fragment of sand, for example, becomes trapped inside of a mollusc. Cultured pearls are created by placing a small bead inside of a mollusc.

Are my pearls real?

A simple test to tell a real pearl from a fake pearl (often made of plastic) is to gently rub the surface of the pearl against your teeth.

If the surface is completely smooth, then the pearl is fake. With genuine pearls (both natural and cultured), you should feel a slightly rough texture that is due to the layers of shell material the pearl is made up of.

How can I tell the quality of my pearls?

Cultured pearls are often valued on the following attributes:

  • Size & Shape
  • Colour/Luster
  • Uniformity
  • Surface Characteristics

While uniform pearls are more highly valued, Cassandra often finds unsymmetrical and unusually shaped pearls can create beautiful and unique jewels.

How Do I Care for My Pearl Jewellery?

Keep away from chemicals

  • Avoid exposure to any chemicals or drastic temperature changes.
  • Reduce contact with perfume or any heavily scented moisturiser as this will wear away their outer surface.

Don't get them wet

  • Always remove before showering or swimming.
  • Chlorinated water can cause chemical damage to a pearl's surface.

Re-string regularly

  • We recommend regularly re-stinging pearl necklaces to retain and ensure the integrity of your necklace.

Keep them safe

  • Pearls are a relatively soft gemstone prone to surface damage
  • Always store in separate pouches to other jewellery to prevent scratching.

Gifting Pearls