Saturday, February 13, 2010

Girls and Pearls

So I've seen this trend everywhere this winter. Multi-colored pearl strands. Even my mother got a set for Christmas. Normally I'm not completely up to date on the latest trends, (I usually dress like I'm at the beach year round) but this being a sea themed trend it's definately something I'm aware of.  Also wouldn't pearls be perfect for Valentines Day tomorrow?

A pearl is basically a shelled mollusk's kidney stone. A parasite or some other debris gets in the folds of the mollusk. The mollusk deposits layers of calcium carbonate and conchiolin onto the debris to stop the irritation. This happens over and over again which eventually results in a pearl. Kind of gross right?

Any type of mollusk can form a "pearl" although not all are valuable. One of the most valuable is the conch pearl as they are particularly tricky to find.

It is important to note that many pearls are artificially colored. This is widely practiced with freshwater, akoya, and at times Tahitian pearls. The colors are artificially infused by a treatment known as dyeing, or by subjecting the pearls to irradiation. These treated colors are typically easy to spot by a trained observer who may peer down the drill hole looking for concentrations of color, which indicates the presence of dye, or a darkened pearl nucleus, which indicates radiation treatment.



I'm not sure which I like better, the bold colors or the pastels ones. Either way, I hope this trend sticks around long enough for me to enjoy it!

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