Pearls are a wedding classic and that’s because they have the ability to go with anything from a princess gown to a suit.
If you are going to invest in pearls for your wedding day because you just know you will wear them afterward – and you will! – it’s good to know something about pearls before you go shopping.
There are many different kinds of pearls. There are cultured, fresh water and salt water pearls, graduated and irregular and a variety of colours from classic white to black and every colour in between. They can come in many different shapes, not just spheres but flat and twisted as well. To learn more about pearl shapes go to Select Pearls. Pearls have been used for thousands of years. You’ll find them of course in necklaces, rings, earrings, broaches, hairpieces and also hand woven into clothing.
Although pearls are expensive, particularly wild harvested pearls, (there are still pearl harvesters in places like Yeman who dive without air tanks to the bottom of the sea to obtain pearls,) you can get a good deal if you know what you are looking for. Today you can find pearls in every department store. Ebay is a great site and you can get some great deals, particularly from sellers in China. However, be careful when buying any kind of jewelry on ebay. A lot of the time you can find genuine pearls at a great price but they can also be fake. Hint: If the price is too good to be ‘real’, it probably isn’t real!
Fresh water pearls are the most economical and most common pearl. You can purchase a strand of these for about $20.00 on ebay to $700.00 on sites like Select Pearls. Fresh water pearls would make excellent thank you gifts for the Wedding Party as they can be easily worn for the ceremony and afterward. Regardless of whether you are having a formal or casual wedding, fresh water pearls will suit the occassion. And, you can match the pearls to the colour of the bridemaid’s dresses. Pink pearls will suit a spring or summer wedding and black pearls will be so classy for a winter wedding or a more avant garde event.
Akoya pearls are from Japan. They are salt water harvested and cultured by a process called bead nucleation. A single strand of pearls can cost over $4,000! Because Akoya pearls have a more fragile nature make sure that if you are going to buy this kind of pearl that it has not been processed or synthetically dyed. Akoya pearls are naturally white with slight over tones of other colours. Akoya pearls would suit a more formal wedding or the mother of the bride or groom.
Again, don’t think you are limited to traditional white pearls! Thaitian Pearls are black and stunning and just as valuable as other pearls as you can pay a couple thousand dollars for a good set. If you go on-line you will see that there are many fair trade/ethical Tahitian pearl websites. However, like most organic/fair trade items, you are going to be paying more. But you will know that pearl farmers are getting a liveable wage to support their families. You can find out more about Tahitian pearls at Brilliant Earth. Remember too that pearl divers risk sharks and other dangerous diving conditions.
South Sea pearls have dazzled us for millennia. They are a rarer pearl and you can expect to pay top dollar. However South Sea pearls are more of an investment for they will never loose their value. You will find them in traditional white as well as dazzling tones of gold and silver. Speaking of tradtion, brides have often felt limited by colour when wearing pearls at their wedding. Please don’t feel that way. Here is an opportunity to combine something old with some new. The tradition of pearls with the choice of colour! You can find environmental South Sea pearls at South Sea Pearl.
Like South Sea pearls, Arabian pearls have been harvested for millennia and the practice still continues to this day. They come in a rainbow of colours and beautiful jewelry designs. A good site to visit for more information is Kari Pearls. You will also find information on rare pearls like Abalone, Conch, Mussel, and Quahog. These pearls are much different then your standard cultured pearls. Quahog is a native American term which means clam and these mollusks can be found up and down the Atlantic seaboard. If you are lucky enough to find one, hold on to it because it is worth a small fortune!
Pearls are always a classic and even if you can’t afford to buy for your wedding, there is a pretty good chance that somewhere in the family there is someone from whom you can borrow some lovely pearls. And that takes care of the requirement of Borrowed, New, Old and Blue!
How to Tell if Pearls are Real or Fake?
Tooth Test: Rub the pearls lightly along the biting edge of your upper front teeth. If they feel gritty or sandy, they are real pearls. If they feel smooth, they are probably imitations.
Pearls of Wisdom:
“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” Aldous Huxley (English writer and author of Brave New World)
All the best! Jordin