I fell in love with pearls from a very young age. I remember especially loving (as I called them) “Large old lady pearls” later, I found out they are called Baroque Pearls.
I just love the colours, or the correct term is “lustre”, they memorise me. Pearls can be worn on any occasion and personally the bigger the better.
Within the Pearl family, there are two categories. Natural pearls and cultured pearls. Both natural and cultured pearls can be either freshwater or seawater.
Natural pearls are also known as “accidental pearls” form in the mollusc without any intervention from Man. Cultured pearls are farmed by inserting a nucleus into the oyster.
Nacre which is resilient and iridescent is also known as mother of pearl. It makes up the outer coating of a pearl whether it is cultured or natural.
A natural pearl is formed when a piece of coral or bone, enters a mollusc causing constant irritation, the mollusc will create nacre to coat the nucleus which in turn creates the pearl. A cultured pearl is formed when man inserts a larger nucleus into a mollusc.
A natural pearl will have more layers of Nacre than a cultured pearl as the accidental nucleus would be very small compared to a cultured pearl nucleus, meaning man-made pearls have a larger nucleus inserted into the mollusc.
It can take a natural mollusc with a tiny nucleus 5 years to create a 3mm pearl. A cultured 7mm pearl with a 6.5 nucleus can take 3-5 years but will have less Nacre than a natural a pearl.
People often mistake sand for the nucleus of the natural pearl, but this isn’t the case if sand was involved there would be many more natural pearls.
There are many types of pearls. Seed, blister, pearl and Keshi and in those categories, there are many more dust pearls coin pearls and baroque are just a few.
My two favourites are coin pearls and “large old lady pearls”, Baroque.
The coin pearl is formed in freshwater lakes or rivers mainly in China. A flat round nucleus is inserted into the mollusc. Choosing when to remove the pearl is important, too soon and the pearl will have thin nacre, too long and the pearl will start to lose its coin shape.
But the baroque will trump all other pearls. I remember seeing women who were probably no older or fatter than I am now, but they looked confident, self-assured, and beautiful and to me, this represents the Baroque.