Choosing Pearls for Your Wedding
Traditionally given as a gift to the bride by her father, pearls are a perennial favourite at weddings.
For centuries pearls have been strongly associated with love. In Greek legend Aphrodite, the goddess of love, is often depicted with pearls and the Greeks believed that wearing them was one of the keys to wedded bliss!
Pearls and diamonds make very good companions but if your budget doesn't run to that level of extravagance, the same effect can be achieved with pearls and crystal or Cubic Zirconia.
These are perfectly round, which is considered the most desirable shape, and round pearls are therefore the most expensive.
Sometimes described as pear-shaped, these are not round but are symmetrical in shape. Sometimes the deviation from roundness is very slight, but they are generally less expensive.
This is the name given to irregularly shaped pearls, which in the pearl market are considered to be flawed and less desirable. However their uniqueness and their interesting and often very beautiful appearance appeals to a lot of people and they are the lest expensive type of natural pearl.
Types of Pearl
Natural pearls form when a small 'foreign body' accidentally gets into a mollusc's shell. Layers of a substance called nacre grow onion-like around the particle to create the pearl.
Their shape depends largely on the shape of the substance that is being coated. They are usually sold by carat weight and are both rare and very expensive.
Another name for fake or manmade pearls, these are manufactured in a process which generally involves glass and fish scales.
While frowned upon by purists, the quality and longevity of faux pearls has increased greatly in recent years, and they have the advantage of being available in a very wide range of colours.
In the case of cultured pearls the foreign object is deliberately introduced. Their size and colour is partly manipulated by the choice of introduced object, the water conditions and even the food the molluscs eat, it is still a natural process. Because of this they vary quite a bit in both size and quality.
Cultured pearls can be either freshwater or saltwater. They are sold by size in millimetres.
Although cultured pearls are usually described as white they are actually a slightly creamy shade and if your wedding dress is pure white can look somewhat out of synch. However for a cream, ivory or other off-white shade of wedding dress, pearls are the perfect companion.
How to tell the difference?
To tell the difference between faux and real, rub a pearl across the sharp surface of your tooth. A natural pearl will feel slightly gritty, whereas a fake one will be perfectly smooth