Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More on pearls

Pearls can be cut. For example: a baroque pearl can be cut in two halves and the halves set as matching earrings, or in a pin or bracelet. But pearls can't be reshaped. If a pearl is almost completely round but has a major bump that bump can't be sanded down without losing the value of the pearl.

The color of a pearl can be affected by dying. Usually you can see the dye mark where the pearl has been drilled, as there will be a ring of color. Pearls can be bleached, but the bleach wears away the nacre of the pearl. Cultured pearls, especially low quality pearls, often have only a thin layer of nacre, so bleaching can destroy the value of the pearl.

Keep pearls away from commercial jewelry cleansers. Just dip them quickly in soapy warm water, rinse in distilled water, and dry with a soft cloth. Keep pearls away from other jewelry as they can scratch easily.

If you wear your pearl necklace often, have it restrung every few years. The restringing is not simply popping beads on silk threads. The pearls have to be removed in order and then restrung in that same order with a small knot tied between each pearl. The knot has two purposes, it keeps the pearls from rubbing against each other and if the necklace breaks, the knots prevent the pearls from all sliding off onto the floor.

How can you tell a pearl is real? Gently rub the pearl across the surface of your teeth, it should feel gritty and artificial pearls won't