For the Love of Pearls ~ Funky Diva Accessories ~ Blogger on the Rise! ~ Article #6

~ Little Pearls of History~

Long before the creation of cultured pearls, natural pearls were so rare and expensive that they were exclusively reserved for the noble and very rich. Evidence of pearls being a treasured item has been depicted in mosaic panels, paintings and in the myths and legends that abound with their discovery.
When one thinks of pearls, it is automatic to envision oysters as the source for pearls. However, pearls may come from a variety of sources besides oysters, such as mussels and conchs; plus for naturally created pearls, their environments may be either salt or fresh water. The use of the classification of freshwater or saltwater pearls is now applied to cultured pearls as well, and the opportunity to actually hold or own a true "natural" pearl is rare because the cultured pearl is now dominant in the market place.

What is the difference between a natural and a cultured pearl? They both form under similar conditions with the only true distinction being that man has stepped in and "jump started" the process by systematically introducing an irritant into the mollusk, thus stimulating the mollusk to begin creating a pearl.

Once introduced to the oyster or mussel, the process of coating around the intruder begins with the secretion of nacre (NAY-kur) from special cells that exist in the mantle of the oyster or mussel. Japan was the mainstay of cultured pearls for many decades, but China has since eclipsed Japan and is now regarded as one of the world's largest producers of both saltwater and freshwater pearls. Not to be ignored are the South Sea and Tahitian pearls which also play a major role in the pearl market because of their size and exciting range of colors.

~Pearl Care~
·         Store in soft cloth sack, separate from metallic necklaces & jewelry.  When traveling, put pearls in a box so they don’t rub against each other.
·         Never use ultrasonic cleaners.  Vibrations can shatter cracked or thinly nacred (lined) pearls.
·         Keep them away from chemical cleaners, bleach, laundry detergent, baking soda and anything containing ammonia like Windex.
·         Remove pearls before washing dishes, doing housework or applying perfume and hair spray.
·         Do not wear pearls in swimming pools with chlorinated water.
·         Avoid contact with foods containing acids like fruit juices, salad dressings & wine.
·         Pearls can dry out if stored in a safe, so place a small container of water with holes punched in the lid in the compartment with them.  Pearls contain trace amounts of water.  Take them out and wear them.
·         Don’t store in plastic bags.  Plastic often emit chemicals that can deteriorate the surface of the pearls
·         Keep away from heat sources such as the top of TV sets, stove and fireplace mantles
·         TREAT PEALS LIKE FINE SILK!  Wearing pearls daily in sunlight exposures are generally safe.  Constant exposure to very bright lights over long periods of time, be it direct sunlight or intense halogen lights, can fade natural as well as treated colors.

~Keeping Pearls Beautiful~
After wearing, clean your pearls.  Wet your hand and glade over your strand gently to dampen the pearls.  Do not put them directly in water.  Place the strand on a clean towel, press & squeeze (don’t wring) the towel and remove the moisture along with oils and perspiration that has accumulated on the pearls.  Periodically, use a diluted natural soap solution that has been soaked into and then rung out in a towel to roll and squeeze the pearls.  Then use a fresh, damp towel and roll the pearls in it to remove the soap.  When clean, the pearls will feel smooth and have their luster once again.  If you have a pearl cloth, press the pearls in it for an extra cleaning touch.  Remember to clean your pearl earrings too.  Contrary to popular belief, the acidic oils and perspiration from human skin can damage the surface of pearls.

~Restoring Pearls Periodically~
When individual pearls move freely between the knots, it is time to restring. If the knots are soiled, it is time to restring.  This can vary from a few months to 2 years depending on how often the pearls are worn.  Silk thread with knots tied between the pearls prevents abrasion and ensures that all are not lost if the strand is broken.
Pearls should be the LAST THING ON!  Apply your perfume BEFORE putting on your pearls.  Your pearls should be the FIRST THING REMOVED at night.  Then don’t forget to clean them.

Information in this blog was obtained from:
·         Neil H. Landman
·         Mary Bailey
·         Paula M Mikkelsen
·         Bieler, Rudiger & Bronson, Bennet
·         Pearls: A Natural History, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. in association with The American Museum of Natural History & The Field Museum, New York, NY 02001
·         The Pearl Goddess – LadyLux – Betty Sue King

Funky Diva Accessories
~For The Diva In You~

‘CLASSY UP” Freshwater Pearls Bracelet ~ $150.00

Wedding Set ~ Freshwater Pearls Necklace & Earrings with Silver Accents & Swarovski Crystal Heart
(Yes, I do wedding jewelry too)  This piece was created for a dear friend, hence the name, "Melinda"


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