By Tara Andrews
December 31st, 2009
I am often asked whether the colored pearls I use in my jewelry designs are naturally occuring. Pearls naturally occur in white, ivory, shades of pink or peach, and Tahitian black pearls. All the other colors of pearls are dyed. So does that mean that the pearls are less valuable because they are dyed? Not necessarily.
Often, the pearls that are dyed are ones that lack a certain quality in its natural form. For example, it may be lacking some luster or may have some slight color variances. By dyeing the pearls it can create a uniform color and increase the pearls luster to make the pearls more valuable than they were in their natural condition.
Dyed pearls can allow you to obtain pearls in colors that you may not be able to afford as natural pearls. The black Tahitian pearl can cost anywhere from $1,800.00 and up for one pearl! Freshwater pearls dyed black can be purchased for a small fraction of that price and you can purchase a beautiful hand-knotted necklace, bracelet, and earrings for a small fraction of the price of one Tahitian pearl. Black freshwater pearls are some of my favorites.
So how are pearls dyed? Well, I leave that to the experts but the basic idea is that they are put in a solution to coat the outer layers of nacre on the pearl to change the pearl’s color. Every batch of pearls dyed can be a slightly different color which makes it hard to match pieces of jewelry later. This can be due to variances in the pearls or variances in the solution used to dye them. I recommend that if you are interested in buying dyed pearls that you buy all your colored pearl jewelry at once to ensure that the colors match.
Is the dye permanent? Yes, the dye is permanent. Although the pearl’s color may fade over time; however, they sometimes look even better once the colors fade a little. Fading takes several years so if you are purchasing pearls for a special occasion like a wedding, you can be sure that they won’t fade before your big day.
By dyeing freshwater pearls, you can get pearls in every color of the rainbow – from blue, green, yellow, orange, red, and even metallic colors like gold, silver, and bronze.
So which color pearls are on your wish list?
By Tara Andrews
December 17th, 2009
One of the most common questions that I am always asked is: “How can I clean my pearls?” To understand how to safely clean your pearls, you need to remember what they are.
Pearls are organic in nature and porous which means that they are easily damaged by harsh chemicals and can be scratched easily by rough or abrasive materials. You should never clean your pearls with chemical dips or cleansers. This can damage the pearls and make them more susceptible to picking up more dirt.
To clean a strand of pearls:
- Get a clean soft cloth such as cotton or microfiber. Pick something that is not abrasive and has little to no lint.
- Dampen the cloth and gently roll the string of pearls in the cloth. Be gentle and do not rub too hard on the silk string. When silk is wet, it can be damaged easily by rubbing it too hard.
- Once the pearls are clean lay them on a flat surface and allow them to dry completely.
To prevent them from building up dirt from every day wear you can also keep a clean dry microfibre cloth close to your jewelry box and when you put them away use the dry cloth to gently run over the strand a few times. This removes any dirt or natural oils from the surface of the pearls which can attract dirt as it builds up over time.
By Tara Andrews
December 11th, 2009
Pearl necklaces can be bought with knots between each pearl or simply strung onto thread or beading wire. There are many advantages to buying hand knotted pearls.
When pearls are hand knotted, the knot between the pearls protects them from bumping into each other on the strand. As the pearls rub against each other, they can slowly develop scratches and fractures. Dirt and other pollutants like perfume, makeup, and hairspray can get into the fractures which can damage them over time.
Another advantage to knotted pearls is that they have much more movement than un-knotted pearls. Since there is more room between the pearls, the necklace or bracelet is able to hang more easily and can move when you move. Un-knotted pearls have less movement and when strung tightly can look more like a rigid necklace than a string of pearls. Many sellers these days are selling their pearls without having knots between them.
The biggest advantage of buying hand knotted pearls is if the strand breaks, you will only lose one pearl since there are knots between each one. Imagine an un-knotted pearl necklace breaking and all the pearls end up scattered all over the floor.
So if you want to keep your pearls safe and reduce their wear and tear, search for bracelets and necklaces that are hand knotted.
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I'm the author of this blog, a writer and independent jewelry artist from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
I love writing and sharing ideas and information about weddings while introducing readers to my new designs.
Vendors and products mentioned in posts did not pay me to be featured on this blog. I share wedding vendors and products that I believe my readers would like to know about.
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