A Pearl Education

When I was a little girl, my mother would ask me what kind of earrings I wanted. As a child, the most common form of jewelry I saw in my mother's boudoir were her pearls so it was a no brainer: Pearls are all I wanted.

Despite my classmates from grade school joking me about girls being advised to wear pearls after getting married {as girls who do before are in risk of being single forever}, I took the plunge and wore my pearls every single day.

See, pearls are all I wore.

I don't know what initially triggered my love for pearls. It could be that every time I wore them, they serve a second purpose of making my face look thinner and its glow illuminates my face. I liked the fact that they were not as vulgar as some diamonds are and that pearls aren't any month's birth stone {mine was topaz but I had not much love for it as I do with pearls}.

EDIT: Apparently, it's  a birthstone for June. Thanks, Mama!

Lately, it dawned on me why I was forever and ever attracted to the intrinsic glow of a pearl, regardless of what color it is:

Pearls are created as a form of the oyster's defense mechanism, begins Jewelmer's Laetitia, whose last name I didn't catch. Pearls are a byproduct of a particle intrusion that happens when a shell from Mississippi River enters the shell -- thus begins the formation of calcium carbonate in crystalline form. Natural pearls, I've learned, are pretty rare, thus making every single pearl I've encountered in my life to be cultured.

But being a cultured pearl doesn't make a pearl less precious. I learned from the Pearl Talk that it takes about five years to create one golden South Sea pearl. More than that, there were so many factors to consider such as the water's pristine-ness {South Sea pearls only grow in Palawan}. A cultivation period of 30 days was needed and every 30 days, oysters are hand cleaned! Like babies! =) Every day, temperature of the oyster farms are kept at the optimal weather, making sure that it's not too cold nor too warm. I guess that's why I thought they seem like babies that need incubation.

Earrings, bracelet and necklace by Jewelmer.

When Laetitia came to the part where she tells us of pearl farmers' harvest {that, after five years!}, I could tell every pearl harvest is a magical event. Every South Sea pearl is born alone --- versus freshwater pearls that can be cultured anywhere with water and creates about 50 pearls a time in one mussel. Given all those factors, there is no guarantee what a pear would look like after five years.

I honestly wanted to cry for the South Sea Pearl --- it is a lonely but strong journey. It's like a miracle baby you've asked for so long. And now I finally understand why it's crazy expensive.

Laetitia further shared how to know if the pearls you're holding are real. According to her, the Pearl Value factors are: Orient and Luster, Skin purity, Color, Shape and Size.

Unlike other gems, pearls do have that inner glow and light is refracted from it. A pearl gets its color from the oyster lips, which is why the usual colors are gold, champagne, white, rose and black.

Some considerations to think of when buying pearls:

  • Make sure your source is reputable.
  • Identify the purpose -- is it for everyday wear / special occasions? 
  • Start with the essentials.
  • Size doesn't always matter.
  • No two pearls are ever alike.
  • Pearls are never scratch-proof --- at least the authentic ones.
  • Wear them often for the warmth of your body.
  • They should be the last thing you put on and first thing you take off at night.
  • Your pearls should be separate from your other jewelries.
  • Wipe them with a soft damp cloth.

Jewelmer gave me this lovely book about the miracle of the golden pearl. I feel a tightening in my heart whenever I read the title!

At the pearl talk, I saw Jen again after a long time!

So that is the story of how, more than ever, I think that I am represented by the South Sea pearls in the gem world --- I love it for its journey, for the miracle that it is, for the fact that there is never another one like it in the world and mostly because it was created for self defense and that an authentic pearl is flawed. Screw the superstitions, I am wearing pearls everyday.

What about you?