Thomas Laine Jewelry Blog
Let’s talk about pearls
Pearl jewelry is one of the most classic and timeless options for wedding day jewelry. At Thomas Laine, we pride ourselves on our exceptional selection of pearl bridal jewelry. But how much do we really know about these luminous beauties?
What is a pearl?
Pearls are created when an irritant particle of some kind becomes imbedded in the mantle tissue of certain species of shelled mollusk. The particle causes the oyster to undergo a kind of immune response. The irritant is coated with layers of the same shimmering material that lines the inner shell of the mollusk itself. In the case of Pinctada genus of saltwater oysters, and a few species of freshwater mussel, that material is nacre. Because of the properties and composition of nacre, the surface of the pearl acts as a prism, refracting back the color spectrum and creating the iridescence for which pearls are known and loved.
What is a “cultured” pearl?
On the Thomas Laine website, you will see our genuine pearl jewelry referred to as “cultured”. This refers to pearls that are harvested in oyster farms using a process that was created by Kokichi Mikimoto in the late 1800s. Irritants are inserted into the oyster by the oyster farmers to stimulate the production of pearls for commercial use. Natural pearls — pearls that are found after having formed naturally in a wild oyster — are exceedingly uncommon and are rarely encountered in the fine jewelry marketplace.
But not all of the “pearl” jewelry that we offer at Thomas Laine features genuine pearls that formed in oysters. Some of the most beautiful pieces we carry are costume jewelry pieces by iconic designers such as Ben Amun and Kenneth Jay Lane. In this case, the pearls are “faux”–that is, they are made of glass or resin of some kind. For this reason, you can purchase large and elaborate pearl bridal jewelry pieces that would be prohibitively expensive if they featured genuine pearls.
Genuine Pearl Bridal Jewelry Ideas
Pearl Costume Jewelry Ideas
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