All About Pearls

Posted by Skeie's Jewelers on

We're saying goodbye to our much-loved Mikimoto pearl collection. We have a select few pieces remaining that we want to offer at 30% off through May. We've loved the stories over the years of what your Mikimoto pearls mean to you - keep sharing them, and stay tuned for new pearl styles debuting soon!

The founder of Mikimoto pearls, Kokichi Mikimoto created the first cultured pearls in 1893.

Cultured is a term used to describe how most pearls are made today. A pearl farmer will place a small bead in the oyster shell, which causes a layer of nacre to form around the bead. This allows the resulting pearls to be more uniform in size and color, and can make a beautiful pearl strand or set of studs. 

Akoya Pearls

Akoya Cultured Pearls are known for being the most abundant saltwater pearl. They are often formed off the coast of Japan, as the Pinctada Fucata Oyster thrives in the cold Pacific Ocean water. 

They are harvested during the winter, usually between December and March. These particular pearls tend to be on the smaller size, and grow between 3mm-9mm in size.

Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater pearls are more broadly available. A single freshwater mollusk can sometimes produce up to 100 pearls in a lifetime, meaning they are not only more available, but more affordable as well. Freshwater pearls come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. 

What should I look for in a pearl?

Pearls are commercially graded based on the natural luster; high-luster pearls have a mirror-like finish and reflect light beautifully. Designers like Mikimoto are famous for the shine and luminous finish on their pearls.

Pearls are graded on an A, AA, and AAA scale, with AAA being the highest grade, as they are at least 95% free of any imperfections.

Tahitian and Southsea Pearls

Tahitian Pearls are distinct, as they have a broad color range, with colors varying from black, blue, brown, gray, green, purple and pink. 

They are formed in the saltwater surrounding the French Polynesia, created in the Pinctada margaritifera, or the Black-lip Oyster. 

Due to their variety in colors, these particular pearls can be harder to match in a perfect strand; many of the pearls can be round, but they also come in different shapes like drops, baroques, etc. This makes them perfect for a one-of-a-kind pendant necklace!

What should I start with when building a pearl collection?

Our gemologist of 40 years says this about building your pearl collection:

"Most often, you'll start with a classic strand as your base, or studs because they're the best price point. While traditional white pearls will always stand the test of time, if you're someone who likes to change up their style, try starting with a unique pendant like a baroque pearl, or Tahitian studs, and design your collection around that." 

How do I clean my pearls?

Pearls are soft and require a delicate touch; use warm water and a soft-bristled toothbrush to freshen up your collection in-between store visits. 

Can pearls be re-strung?

Yes! We offer pearl re-stringing services for bracelets and strands and can customize your length however you'd like. 

We can also change clasps, re-set pearl studs, and more. 

What about a custom pearl piece?

Our in-house design team is happy to sit down with you and help re-imagine your favorite pearls. You could turn your pearls into dangles, or design your own heirloom-style pearl pendant. The options are endless! 

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