Pearl represents the birthstone for people who were born in June, it is also the gemstone traditionally given for a 30th wedding anniversary. The smooth silky appearance of pearls have given it a reputation of purity, however it was also said that pearls had aphrodisiac properties and were once used as a key ingredient in love potions.

How are pearls formed?

Pearls are created differently to other precious gemstones as they are grown by living organisms in the form of oysters and mussels. Oysters tend to produce the majority of pearls that you will see in the jewellers’ windows and produce saltwater pearls, mussels, on the other hand, prefer freshwater and so create freshwater pearls. As pearls are grown they are classified as organic gemstones. The pearl is actually the result of a defence mechanism for the oyster; if a tiny bead is inserted into the centre of the oysters then it will secret a substance called nacre. As the layers of nacre build up around the irritant a pearl is created. When the light reflects over the layers of the pearl then you will be able to see the characteristic iridescent lustre. It usually takes around 7-8 years for a good quality pearl to be formed.

Different species of oyster will create different types of pearl, for example the Pinctada Maxima creates large high quality South Sea pearls from the Pacific Ocean, and these are the largest commercially harvested pearls in the world. Pearls can come in many different colours. Sometimes these colours are due to human interference when a dye is injected into the oyster. Nature itself does also create some wonderful colours. The black lip oyster that is responsible for making Tahitian pearls creates colours from jet black to silvery or dark grey. Pink pearls are the most popular variety but they also come in lilac, white, cream, gold, black and even grey shades Pearl jewellery has been extremely popular for thousands of years, and one of the reasons Julius Caesar decided to invade Britain was rumours of rich oyster beds. It was also once thought that pearls were tears of the gods that had fallen from the heavens to the seas.

Not just white…

Pearls can come in many different colours. Sometimes these colours are due to human interference when a dye is injected into the oyster. Nature itself does also create some wonderful colours. The black lip oyster that is responsible for making Tahitian pearls creates colours from jet black to silvery or dark grey. Pink pearls are the most popular variety but they also come in lilac, white, cream, gold, black and even grey shades

Loved by the Romans

At Rudells we are very fortunate to stock the Mikimoto collection of fine pearl jewellery. Mikimoto are considered by many to be the number one pearl manufacturer in the world. It was the company’s founder, Mikimoto Kokichi, who was credited with creating the first cultured pearl and the process of farming them. Mikimoto pearls are of such a fine quality that they only use the top 5% of the total worlds harvest and are the only company to issue a grading system for their pearls. Both Wolverhampton and Harborne Rudells showrooms have exclusive Mikimoto areas with branded showcases which are a tribute to the excellence of the brand.