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Introduction to Pearls

Before the times of written history, the beauty of these seaborn natural stones was discovered. Fragments of pearl jewelry dating back to at least 420 B.C. let us know that stunning pearls have been used as adornments for hundreds of years, and for good reason. These luminous gems are the epitome of natural beauty. 


One of the attributes that have long attracted us to pearls is their luster. The word luster refers to a pearl’s ability to reflect light. Layers of mineral deposits give a pearl its iridescent and mirror-like reflective capabilities. Lower levels of luster in pearls make them appear milky. 


Nacre, on the other hand, refers to a pearl’s uniquely iridescent quality. This means that when the pearl is moved in the light hints of many different colors become visible. Mineral layers are similarly responsible for this effect. Different types of pearl nacre produce different colors with varying degrees of visibility. 

Surface Perfection

As naturally created gems, the appearance of pearls can vary greatly, some including certain substances or “imperfections” on their surface. This can occur if a particle or irritant enters the mollusk’s shell during the pearl’s formation. The level of smoothness, clarity, and lack of any other distinct inclusions, determines the overall value of the pearl.


Perfectly round and symmetrical pearls are likely what you think of when you think of pearls. This is certainly the most common shape used in pearl jewelry and often the most valuable, However, according to the mollusk type and number of other attributes, pearls can be sick shaped, curved, or completely organically shaped. These types of uniquely shaped pearls are referred to as “baroque” pearls.


Though white pearls are most commonly used in jewelry, there are a wide spectrum of naturally occurring colors of pearls. The color of the pearl depends, again, on the type of mollusk. Pearls can occur in a myriad of hues from white to black and nearly every color of the rainbow. The quality of the color is determined by a consistency across the whole pearl.


Lastly, the value of a pearl is, in part, determined by its size as larger pearls tend to be more costly. Certain species of mollusks tend to produce pearls of roughly the same size. Pearls are measured in millimeters (mm). Classic Japanese pearls rarely exceed 8 or 10mm, while South Seas pearls range from 8 to 18mm.

Shop Pearl Jewelry at Albert’s Diamond Jewelers

Let Albert’s Diamond Jewelers be your destination for exquisite pearl jewelry by some of the world’s most reputable designers. Our Schererville jewelry store is home to a carefully curated selection certain to please even the most discerning of tastes. Request an appointment for a personal consultation with one of our team members, or browse our inventory online.