The ocean packages its jewels in pretty containers, too.
A valuable pearl is very smooth and free from markings associated with its growth.
The fine Akoya pearl is cultivated in saltwater nurseries, primarily in Japan. The scientific name of its mollusc is Pinctada martensii. Each mollusc may only be implanted with one kernel, which slowly becomes a cultured pearl. This growth process requires between nine and twenty-four months, during which time the pearl grows to a diameter of ten millimetres or, in exceptional cases, as much as eleven millimetres.
To appreciate their value, it is necessary to know that the cultivation of Akoya pearls is an extremely elaborate process. Only 80 pearls of good to very good quality - Wempe quality - result from every 1,000 implanted kernels.
If you wonder why there are different prices for pearl necklaces that may seem identical at first glance, please consider the provenance of the pearls. Many people confuse the fine Akoya pearl with the common Chinese freshwater pearl. The latter is a product of the attempt to cultivate as many pearls as possible by implanting numerous bits of tissue into one large mollusc. Betweenten and twenty pearls can be grown inside one mollusc, but most of them are not exactly spherical, as round kernels were not implanted. This may not be immediately noticeable, but pearls cannot hide imperfections. Directly compare two strands by twisting them: the difference is surprising.
Known throughout the world as “The Queen of Pearls”, the South Sea pearl fully deserves its regal nickname. Its mollusc, officially named Pinctada maxima, thrives in the warm waters of the South Sea, where it not only grows pearls of royal dimensions, but also “paints” its nacreous treasures in an unbelievably diverse array of colours. These silky, matte, shimmering beauties grow to a diameter of ten to twenty millimetres in 24 months or more. Many of their cultivation sites are located on the Australian coast and in Indonesia.
The dark version of the South Sea pearl is the Tahitian pearl. As its name states, this pearl is primarily cultivated in Tahiti, the Marquesas Islands and the Cook Islands. Between eighteen and twentyfour months transpire before this pearl attains a diameter of ten to twenty millimetres. Dark hues in an incredibly diverse array of colours are the special feature of this South Sea beauty, which is cultivated inside the Pinctada margaritifera mollusc. Its spectrum of colours ranges from dark and silvery grey to gold and champagne. Thanks to these diverse hues, Tahitian pearls offer an infinite number of combinations for jewellery creations.
Nature gives us pearls that are already consummately perfect, but delicate pearls need appropriate care. Perfume, powder, hairspray, acids and cosmetics containing alcohol can all cause a pearl to appear dim and less lustrous. Store your pearls separately from other pieces of jewellery. The best way to preserve and enhance their lustre is to wear them directly on your skin. As the interplay between adjacent pearls gradually increases over time, you should have your necklace examined once each year. If necessary, we will restring your necklace with natural silk cord, individually knotting each pearl by hand. If you purchased your necklace at Wempe, we will perform this service free of charge for the first five years.
Please note that the pearls depicted here are cultured pearls.