Why pearl and diamond rings are a match
What is the appeal of pearl and diamond rings? Let us explore the nature of pearls.
Pearls are produced by mussels of the oyster type and are built up of mother-of-pearl or nacre which is mainly calcium carbonate & an organic horn substance (conchiolin) that bind the micro-crystalssround an irritant.
This irritant intrudes in to the shell of the mussel and the mantle or in to the interior of the mussel.
The outer skin of this mantle, the epithelium normally forms the shell by secretion of mother-of-pearl & covers all foreign bodies within its reach.
Such encrusted foreign bodies will develop in to pearls.
You can now appreciate that your pearl engagement rings go through quite a process before landing on your finger.
Pearls have quite a low mohs hardess number of only 2.5 – 4.5 Despite this, they have extraordinary compactness & it’s very difficult to crush them.
Pearls vary in size from a pin head to a pigeon’s egg. The largest peal known is called the Hope Pearl after a former owner & is 2.5 inches long and weighs 90.8 grams.
It is displayed at the Kensington Museum in London.
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Pearls have a luster produced by the overlapping platelets of aragonite and film of conchiolin nearer to the pearl surface.
This is what causes the refraction of light and the resulting colors observed on the surface of the pearl.
The different colors of pearl vary with the type of mussel & the water it is found in.
The difference between cheap pearl and gem rings and expensive ones is how the pearl is obtained.
Genuine or natural pearls are those that come in to being in nature without the involvement of human beings.
The global demand for pearls led to the cultivation in large quantities of pearls.
It is good to note that these pearls are not fake or imitations. They are natural products produced with the assistance of human beings.
There are also fake pearls which you’ll also find in pearl and diamond rings.
One of the best being fish-scale pearl which consists of glass or enamel covered with essence d orient; this is produced from the scales of certain fish.
Other imitation use part of a sea snail (Antilles pearls), mussels (takara pearls from Japan) or teeth (of the sea cow dugong pearl). Plastic is also used as a pearl substitute.
The principle behind cultivated or cultured pearls is simple.
Humans cause the mussel to produce a pearl by insertion of a foreign body…normally a bead in to it.
Mother-of-pearl beads from the shell of the North American freshwater mussel are first wrapped with tissue from the mantle of a pearl mollusk.
This is then inserted in to the cell lining of another mussel; this tissue continues to grow & has the effect of a pearl sac.
The most important element in pearl production is the tissue not the bead or foreign body.
You can do without the foreign body but not without the tissue; however this is not economically viable since it takes a long time to grow a large pearl.
Seeding of these mussels requires skilled & agile hands and women commonly do it operating on between 250 – 900 oysters a day.
Beads normally vary in size from between 6-7mm and require a 3 year old mollusk which can only be used once and normally dies after the pear has been removed.
The path to obtaining pearl and diamond rings is quite complex.
Pearls are valued according to shape, size, color and luster. The most valuable being the spherical shape.
The half-spherical and flattened ones are called “bouton” or button pearls.
Irregular pearls are called baroque pearls. Pearls are weighed in grains. 1 grain = carat.
Am sure you might have wondered how pearls are attached to pearl and diamond rings.
The point of a pearl which either has a mark or is less perfect is chosen for drilling a hole.
According to international agreement, the diameter of the drill hole should be 0.3mm; the depth of 2/3 or of the pearls diameter is usually deep enough.
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How do you take care of pearls?
- Pearls are made from conchiolin an organic substance and are prone to change especially to drying out which leads to an apparent aging of the pearls limiting their useful life.
- They are sensitive to extreme dryness, moisture, acids, perspiration, cosmetics and hair spray.
- Regular maintenance & examination by a company specializing in pearls can also prolong their life.
- Due to their low hardness, pearls should be worn in such a way that the pearl surface is never in contact with metal.
- Be careful that your pearl and diamond rings do not come in to contact with rough surfaces.
How do you differentiate between Natural and Cultured pearls?
To the naked eye, there is little or no difference in the physical appearance of natural and cultured pearls.
However, if you get an opportunity to look in to the drilled hole of a pearl with a pen light, you’ll see the outline of the bead while a natural pearl will be translucent.
From the above, pearl and diamond rings should not be worn on a daily basis and if so, they should be worn with care.
If you do this, your pearls should last you for at least 100 years. Now that’s what I call value for money!!
Diamond Info > Pearl & Diamond