Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Not Your Granny's Pearls

Alexandra Shulman, editor of Vogue Magazine, is credited with the following piece of wisdom:
Once your legs can no longer be regarded as a helpful accessory, nothing can beat serious pearls.
I recently read an article stating that
50 is the new 30
- which is good news for me - I feel younger already. But no matter how you call it, young and younger women need complexion enhancers. Here is a little secret: pearls around the face, maybe a necklace or earrings, are an excellent way to create a glow and a smoother look. On second thought, hands and arms can benefit from glow-inducing pearls too - so I am including bracelets and rings on my list of necessary purchases for 2005.


Blue, Yellow and Cream Cultured Pearl Necklace


Unlike other gems, pearls come from a living organism. Their color and iridescence come from within the pearl and emanate outwards. Lustrous pearls with thick nacre in a color that suits your skin tone compliment and enhance your looks. These days pearls are available for every budget. Just remember not to compromise: wear only cultured pearls -
never Majorca (plastic) pearls - however good they may look. When choosing pearls, never settle on luster and orient, or iridescence - the color play in the pearl. It is a wiser decision to buy smaller pearls, or oddly shaped pearls - called baroque, in order to stay within your budget - and buy the most lustrous pearls you can afford. Besides enhancing the complexion, high luster pearls means thick nacre, which in turn means that they may well be instant heirlooms.


100% Natural Pink Pearls


Not your grandmother's pearls anymore, genuine pearls come in pastel colors and unusual shapes. These pearls are dyed when still inside the mollusk or oyster -- by a closely guarded secret method -- and are therefore "born" colored. These colors do not rub off or wear away with time. Since the color comes from within the pearl, and not as a dyed on layer, the pearl glows and has depth.


Heart-Shape Mabe Pearls in Earrings


For drama and the unusual, cultured pearls offer many choices,


Square-Shape White Cultured Pearls


The outer layer of pearl is called nacre. Pearl beauty depends on nacre thickness: the thicker the nacre, the higher the luster and shimmery iridescence. Pearls are cultured and harvested on pearl farms by the insertion of a bead or irritant into the mollusk or oyster. The bead stimulates nacre production and the pearl grows around the bead. Top quality pearls need longer periods of time to grow so that the nacre is thick. Natural pearls - very rare and costly -- are pearls that have no bead in the center, but rather the nacre is generated by the accidental entry of an organism in the oyster.

There is, however, one type of natural pearl which is available today, and that is the keshi pearl. More on that next time.