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Everything you need to know about Pearls

The gemstone of the sea. Discover the ultimate gemmologists' guide to Pearls.

6 minute read | Words by Angeli 

The gemstone of the sea, Pearls have been treasured since ancient China and Egypt, adored for their beautiful lustre.  Known to be a staple in every jewellery collection throughout history, this delicate gemstone adds the perfect touch of elegance to any outfit or wedding look - think Pearl drop earrings, Pearl stud earrings or Pearl necklaces. Read on to discover our gemmologists guide covering everything you need to know about Pearls! 

Where do Pearls come from?

Did you know that unlike other gemstones such as Emeralds and Sapphires, which are formed by the earth over millions of years, Pearls are the only gemstone created by living organisms!  Pearls are what’s known as an organic gem material, which is created by molluscs found in oceans, lakes and rivers.  When a mollusc’s mantle tissue comes into contact with a foreign particle (such as a grain of sand), the mollusc protects itself by forming many layers of nacre around it, which results in the formation of a majestic pearl. 

Customisable Cultured Freshwater Pearl Stud Earrings with a halo of Emeralds from Fenton | Expert Guide to Pearls

Pearls can be formed in two ways, naturally or cultured by a pearl farmer. Naturally-formed Pearls are incredibly rare, with it being estimated that only 1 in 10,000 wild oysters contain one. When it comes to cultured Pearls, they are chemically identical, however, their formation is triggered by the Pearl farmer. At Fenton, ours are cultured freshwater Pearls. Depending on the type of mollusc that forms the Pearl, they can come in a range of hues, from iridescent white to a lustrous cream and even pink and black - pretty cool right?! Ours have a stunning white and cream colour, as most of us are familiar with.

As products of living organisms, Pearls will often have small blemishes and imperfections on their surface which are all part of their uniqueness. No two Pearls will have the same surface texture. 

How much do Pearls cost?

As with all gemstones, it is not uncommon for the price of Pearls to vary greatly. Its price will likely depend on its type, size, colour, surface quality, and more. 

South Sea Pearl example | The most valuable Pearl on the market with white and gold overtones | The Ultimate Guide to Pearls with Fenton

The most valuable Pearls found on the market today are South Sea Pearls, which are characterised by their white and gold overtones. South Sea Pearls are formed over longer periods of time, which are more costly to cultivate and contribute to their rarity. 

At Fenton, our Pearl jewellery features classic white-cream iridescent cultured freshwater Pearls, set into timeless stud and drop earrings and a pendant necklace. Each of these pieces is fully customisable, set with Diamonds and your choice of gemstone, crafted from recycled 18k gold. Prices start from £950 ranging to £1250. 

Customisable Freshwater Cultured Pearl and Blue Sapphire Drop Earrings from Fenton | The Ultimate Guide to Pearls

Pearl Drop Earrings in Blue Sapphire and 18K White Gold from Fenton

How do you care for and clean Pearl jewellery?

As the saying goes, "Pearls should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off"...

This is a question we are often asked, and a very important one, as Pearls require special care. They are soft and delicate gems, and due to their organic composition, they require more care than most gemstones. As such, we would always recommend removing your Pearl jewellery for showering, swimming, physical sports, and in any such occasion where your Pearl may come into contact with chemicals, including soap, lotions and perfume. 

If your Pearl needs to be cleaned, we recommend gently wiping it with a water-dampened cloth. And for storage we always recommend ensuring they’re stored separately from other jewellery, either in a box or soft cloth bag, to avoid possible scratching. 

Are Pearls suitable for everyday wear?

Gemstone hardness is ranked on the Mohs Scale, which ranges from 1 to 10. Pearls are a delicate gemstone, scoring between 2.5 and 4.5 on this scale, therefore they require extra care when worn. 

However, they are still suitable for everyday wear, having been adored for many centuries - especially in earrings and necklaces.  If you’d like to learn more about taking care of your Pearl jewellery, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert concierge and gemmologist team here

Pearl Jewellery

Customisable Freshwater Pearl Pendant Necklace in Blue Sapphire & 18K White Gold from Fenton | Expert Guide to Pearl Jewellery

Pearls are a beautiful choice for all types of jewellery, especially earrings and necklaces! Loved for the delicate elegance and timelessness, Pearls are the perfect jewellery to adorn your wedding or bridal outfit.

At Fenton, we offer three stunning Pearl Jewellery Designs. Each of which is crafted from recycled 18k gold, and set alongside responsibly sourced Diamonds and Gemstones of your choice. 

The Pearl Stud Earring 

Pearl Stud Earrings are a timeless addition to any jewellery collection. Our Pearl Studs feature a classic freshwater cultured Pearl framed by colourful star-like pave of delicate gemstone of your choice and crafted from solid, recycled 18K gold.

The Pearl Drop Earring 

The Classic Pearl Drops are guaranteed to become your new jewellery obsession. The Classic Pearl Drops feature a freshwater cultured Pearl drop complemented by a Diamond-encrusted bale showcasing a glittering, delicate gemstone and are crafted from solid, recycled 18K gold.

The Pearl Drop Necklace 

Meet our Pearl Drop Necklace. Pairing the majestic Pearl with a glittering gemstone of your choice, this is a timeless addition to any jewellery collection. Your chain and setting will be crafted from recycled 18K gold.

Bespoke Pearl Jewellery

Don’t see your perfect pearl jewellery in our standard range? Our bespoke team can make your dream pearl jewellery a glittering reality! Think custom shapes, cuts and gemstone pairings, such as tourmalines, morganites or tsavorites. Or you might be dreaming of a Pearl engagement ring, inspired by the increased popularity of celebrity engagement rings. Think Ariana Grande’s Toi et Moi ring or Emma Stone’s Solitaire. 

Ariana Grande's Pearl and Diamond Toi et Moi engagement ring and Emma Stone's Pearl Solitaire Engagement Ring | Expert Guide to Pearls

If you want to create your own bespoke Pearl jewellery, submit a bespoke enquiry via the form here. Alternatively, you are welcome to Call, Email or Whatsapp here to speak to our bespoke team.

It’s good to note that as creations of nature, Pearls are uniquely formed so no two gemstones are the same. Each Pearl stone is unique and beautiful in its own way with its colour hue varying slightly from one another. We recommend being as open-minded as possible when looking for the perfect stone. Nonetheless, we will source a range of gemstones for you to select from, so you can ensure your Pearl jewellery is the perfect one for you! 

Ready to discover your perfect Pearl jewellery? Click here to speak to our expert concierge team about Pearls. 

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