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Pearls: Nature vs. Nurture

Pearls: Why Simulate If They're Cultured?

Man's fascination and love with luminous pearls dates back to ancient times. Glorious myths and folklore surrounds this gem which was once reserved only for royalty. Natural pearls, from days of yore, were created from a small irritant being trapped in a mollusk. The organism, out in the wild, would try to rid itself of the pest by secreting nacre over the problem all while trying to survive the elements and attack from predators. It’s a wonder that a pearl ever came into existence.

Because the demand was so high for these natural beauties and the supply was so limited, culturing techniques were developed. Today, we have saltwater pearl culturing which involves a mother of pearl bead nucleus and a piece of mantle tissue and we have freshwater culturing which involves only mantle tissue. Both of these processes allow us to have these glowing gems that have captured our hearts. However, even with culturing, the supply isn’t endless. The method is long and tedious and Mother Nature can still eliminate an entire crop of pearls before a single one is ever harvested.

Fine gem quality pearls are so rare, as only 20% of a pearl harvest will yield pearls suitable for pearl jewelry and only 20% of that will be considered gem quality. So, even a cultured pearl can be quite rare and expensive. Simple demand and lack of supply, as well as man's desire to mimic nature, has prompted the development of the pearl stimulate.

The creation of simulated pearls actually dates back to the first century when Wang Chhung wrote about a process to make pearls from chemicals that were “just as brilliant as genuine ones” in his book Lun Heng in the year A.D. 83. In the 17th century, a French rosary maker by the name of Jacquin developed a coating made from fish scales and varnish creating “essence d’orient” or pearlessence. He then took glass beads, coated the inside with the solution and then filled them with wax.

Historical records have also shown that Native Americans and people from tribes throughout other parts of the world have created a version of simulated pearl as well using clay beads that have been coated with a fish scale solution and then baked in the sun.

Pearls: Selecting a Sensational Simulate

The whole idea behind wearing a pearl simulate is to capture the beauty and elegance of nature's prized organic gem…pearl.

Sometimes, just the mere inference of pearls is all that is needed and desired as in the beads generally given away at a New Year’s Eve party or thrown from a float at Mardi gras. For these two instances, inexpensive plastic beads usually fit the bill. These types of pearl simulate only calls for a shape form and a glossy coating for the look of an expensive treasure. Nice quality plastic beads can also create nice quality pearls if the proper techniques and care have been adhered to. In this case, the plastic bead is actually tumbled to remove grinding marks on the surface and then multiple coatings of a pearl film solution are applied to the bead.

Glass beads have been and still are a favored choice for making simulated pearls. One of the most famous pearl simulates using glass beads is the Majoirca Pearl. This jewelry is created in Majorica Spain and originated back in 1890 from a German immigrant Eduardo Hugo Heusch. Hand crafted glass beads are then dipped in a high quality of essence d’orient and polished between each of the coatings. A special final coating is applied to the surface and then the Majorica pearls are put under ultraviolet radiation. The company’s reputation for fine quality demands that a strict code be adhered to so that each lady who receives her Majoirica pearls will be proud of their jewels.

Pearlfection is one of the most widely sought after and collected pearl simulates. This process actually involves using a type of mother of pearl bead nucleus as the base. Multiple coatings of a lab created solution that includes organic matter found around the pearl beds are applied to the nucleus to mimic Mother Nature’s work. The result is “the perfect pearl”. Most ladies who collect and wear Pearlfection enjoy the fact that these pearl simulates are so close to the look, feel and weight of the genuine pearl that friends can rarely tell the difference. This line of created pearl is compared to the rare south sea gems.

Pearls: The Sky's the Limit with a Fabulous Simulate

With the creation of pearl simulates, now there really is a pearl for every lady. Girls from every walk of life can enjoy the polished look that accessorizing with pearls brings. Fine quality simulated pearls can be likened to the created diamond simulate Moissanite or a good cubic zirconia. The purpose is the same…to own jewelry that looks like you paid so much more than what you really did. The idea is to have pieces that are so well made that others will have a hard time knowing that it isn’t the real deal.

Pearl simulates like Majorica and Pearlfection allow ladies to have look of the luxurious gem quality pearl necklace without the extreme price tag. Not everyone can afford a $75,000 strand of south sea pearls, but with Pearlfection, you can have the look. Is a price tag of $2,000 a bit steep for a pearl bracelet made with fine Japanese pearls? Well, with Majorica, you can have that look for a fraction of the cost.

A nice quality simulated pearl also allows you to build your wardrobe with fine gems quickly. Genuine diamonds, gemstones, gold, silver and even pearls can be mixed and matched effortlessly when combined with fine pearl simulates.

Pearls: How to Care For Simulates

Caring for your simulated pearls is no more difficult than caring for the genuine cultured gems. The principles are very similar. A damp soft cloth is all you need to gently wipe the surface of your jewelry. Never use a professional ultra-sonic machine because harsh chemicals will ruin the surface just like in the case of genuine cultured pearls.

Use the rule of last on first off with your jewelry too. This simply means put your jewelry on AFTER your hairspray, perfume and cosmetics have dried. Then at the end of the day, take them off FIRST.

Take care to not scratch the surface as many of the gems have been treated not only with multiple coatings of pearly substance but also with a final protective coating. Scratching the surface means running the risk of ruining your surface. For all of your jewelry, check the knotting on strands and bracelets. Occasionally have them restrung and knotted if necessary.

It's always a good idea to adhere to the manufacture’s care tips when cleaning your simulated pearl jewelry. With these few simple care tips, your simulated pearl jewelry can last a lifetime and then some.