The precious pearl

Real pearls, salt- and freshwater pearls, baroque pearls, and imitation pearls. Pearls today come in several different colours, shapes, and designs and it can therefore be difficult to keep the different types apart. Read on to learn more about the most common varieties and what sets them apart.
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  2. The precious pearl

You can say that jewellery with pearls is synonymous with Coco Chanel since she almost always was seen with pearls around her neck - and we can really understand why. Each pearl is unique and classic in its colour and shape, and therefore adds something very special to your jewellery.

Among our collections, you can find jewellery adorned with timeless pearls. Classic and chic pieces as well as more edgy designs. Whether you are looking for a round or a baroque pearl, you can be sure that we do not offer any imitation pearls but only freshwater pearls.

The history of the pearl
Pearls can be found almost everywhere but occur mainly in Asia and the South Pacific. As early as the 13th century, the Chinese were able to cover Buddha figurines with pearl substance. In the 18th century, the Swedish botanist Carl von Linné was the first to succeed in growing a round pearl, but the cultivation did not start on a large scale until the beginning of the 20th century in Japan. Pearls, like diamonds and gemstones, are judged by their colour, shape, size and lustre.

Real pearls

Of the 8,000 existing clam species, it is only about twenty clams that can produce pearls. Creating a pearl naturally in a clam is a pure coincidence. The production of a pearl occurs in defence when a foreign object (such as a grain of sand or a parasite) enters the clam when it takes in water for oxygen or food. The clam first tries to get rid of the object, and if it fails, the stranger is encapsulated.

To form a pearl, the object needs to have brought a fragment of the clam’s tissue. This tissue is divided into cells where a container is formed around the object after a few days. The clam then weaves a lot of layers of pearl secretion around it – and voila, a real pearl has been made. Since the pearl is formed around a foreign object that is rarely round, real pearls are often irregular.

Cultivation of pearls

There are different types of pearls: natural, cultured, baroque and imitations. Do you know the difference between these?

Saltwater- and freshwater pearls
Due to the preciousness and rarity of the natural pearl, hundreds of years were spent exploring the possibility of growing pearls. It was not until the end of the 19th century that whole pearls were grown in quantity. The cultivation of pearls means that one inserts a foreign object into the clam to induce the same process as in the natural formation. Cultivation of saltwater pearls is a very sensitive and time-consuming operation where great accuracy is required for the clam to survive. Freshwater pearls are much less complicated to grow; therefore, about 90% of the world trade of pearls is with freshwater pearls.

Baroque pearls
A baroque pearl is uneven in its shape and often has a more vibrant surface and a more beautiful shimmer than a round one. When it comes to pearls, it's not their colour and shape that matters the most - but their lustre. As fashion is constantly changing, the baroque pearl has never been trendier. Get inspired by our beautiful Baroque pearls from the Nature's Unique collection.

Imitation pearls
Whether the pearl in your jewellery is real or cultured, it’s always a pearl. However, a so-called imitation pearl is not a pearl. These are made from a glass bead that receives a coating of pearl essence solution, artificial nacre. The easiest way to separate a real pearl from imitation is to rub the pearl against the front teeth. A real or cultured pearl feels gritty, while an imitation feels smooth.

Did you know?

Pearls have always been considered the most magical and feminine piece of jewellery, and according to ancient Chinese legend, the moon has the power to create pearls. They symbolize both innocence, purity and honesty. They are also said to bring truth, sincerity and spiritual guidance to situations that needs it.

We want you to be able to have your pearl jewellery from us for a long time. Since our pearls are real, it is important that you take good care of them. An advice is to put on your pearl jewellery the last thing you do and remove it first of all to protect it from degreasing products, such as perfume. Read more about our care advice here.


The making of the Bend over

Many of our rings are made to order by our goldsmiths in our atelier in Stockholm. Follow the journey to a real dream ring – the creation of the iconic cocktail ring Bend over.