Pearl Necklace Sets
When looking for a gift for a loved one, pearl necklace sets top the list. The beauty and purity of a pearl necklace set radiates and shines. Usually a pearl necklace set consists of a pearl necklace and pearl earrings. However, some pearl necklace sets include pearl bracelets.
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Pearl Earrings Pearl Bracelets Pearl Jewelry
Where Pearls Call Home by Margaret Burgon Klemp
Pearl hunting has been practiced for thousands of years. It is only in the modern era that the whole industry has moved to a different level. Today, most of what we actually see is cultured pearls that have been produced on pearl farms. Prior to the 20th century divers were often forced to dive to ocean floors, lakes or river bottom to retrieve oysters. They were called free-divers, and the work was very dangerous. A diver had to dive 100 feet on one breath if they weren't attacked by a myriad of sea creatures. Because of the perilous work most people didn't want to do it. So, a slave tradition surrounded the early pearl hunting enterprises. Presently, pearl hunting in most of the world is obsolete.
Today, some of the world's finest natural pearls still come from Bahrain in the area around the Persian Gulf. Bahrain is known for its' high quality pearls, and is one of the only places that still practices the old method of pearling. Pearling is the practice of diving into the depths and retrieving oysters and bringing them to the surface. Cultured pearls are actually banned from the market there. Historically, it is this that area produced the best pearl specimens until the advent of the oil industry which polluted the Gulf waters. The country of Bahrain makes an honest attempt to preserve the tradition of pearling, and is concerned about their environment. It is probably this effort the leaves them as one of the most respected markets for natural pearls.
One of the last fleet of pearl diving ships is in Australia where divers probe the South Seas for oysters which are then used to produce cultured pearls. In the process large numbers of natural pearls are found in the Australian Indian Ocean, and so Australia is home to both industries. Australia, Indonesia and Myanmar are known for the large white pearl, and pearls from Japan are sought because they are so lustrous. China is known for freshwater pearls.
Pearls predominately come from Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Myanmar, China, India, Philippines, and Tahiti. However, pearls are found all over the world. Early Native Americans in the United States who lived along the Atlantic Coast and the Mississippi River had a long tradition of retrieving pearls from both freshwater and saline mussels. They used the gems for decorative purposes, and some tribal chieftains prized the pearl as a form of currency. Today there is a fairly large pearl farming industry in the United States. Until the marketing of plastic one of the main uses for American pearl farmers was in the pearl button industry. After World War II plastics become more popular and plentiful, and that particular use for the pearl became extinct.
Tahiti is where most of the rare and prized black pearls are found. They are known as Black Tahitian Pearls. They are cultured in smaller quantities and are not mass produced making them more expensive. They have rather slim chances of survival because of ill health or total rejection of the intruders that break into the oyster shell. They also have an unusual sensitivity to changing weather conditions. Black pearls can also be found at many other island areas in the Pacific Ocean where the cultured pearl industry thrives. In past history black pearls were a prized commodity because they were hardly ever found. White pearl oysters hardly ever produce a natural black pearl. The only other pearl that has a higher value than the more black pearl is the south sea pearl. The larger south sea pearl oyster is rarer and cannot be found in tributaries or lagoons, but can only be found in special areas in the ocean. They cannot be found anywhere else. South sea pearls are the color of a host oyster known as the Pinctada maxima. The pearls from these oysters can be white, silver, pink, gold, cream, and any combination of these basic colors. They can also have overtones that are displayed in the nacre body of the pearl.
Japan and China produce Akoya cultured pearls. Kokichi Mikimoto, Tokichi Hishikawa and Tatsuhei Mise are credited with founding the Japanese cultured pearl industry. Each did not realize that other was busy working on the project. They did it by inserting a piece of mantle tissue along with shell or metal into the oyster which formed a pearl sac. This started the pearl production process.
Mikimoto took out a loan in 1888 to start a farming enterprise on the Shinmei inlet near Ago Bay where he could produce cultured pearls. He and his wife began experimenting with the culturing process, and after a lot of hard work they produced the first semi-spherical cultured pearl in 1893. They presented their findings at an exposition in Norway in 1897, but were not able to produce commercially valid complete cultured pearls until 1913. For a while he and Tatsuhei Mise collaborated on the project until there was a problem over patent registration. Mikimoto had to change his patent to show that perfectly round pearls could be produced through the culturing process, and the two entrepreneurs had to proceed on their own. Tokichi Hishikawa died in 1909. While both Mikimoto and Mise are credited with furthering the cultured pearl industry in Japan and Asia it is Mikimoto who is given most of the credit. As the son of a noodle shop owner in Toba, Shima Province he watched pearl divers haul their discoveries to shore, and became absolutely fascinated with pearls. For him it was a life long love of the seabed gems. He opened his first shop in Tokyo in 1899, and from that point forward he had enterprises all over the world. He died at the age of 96 in 1954. He once said shortly after producing his first round pearls, "I would like to adorn the necks of all the women of the world with pearls,"
Pearl necklace sets are fabulous gifts for any lady in your life.
Gems: A Lively Guide for the Casual Collector, by Daniel J. Dennis Jr., Henry N. Abrams, Incorporated, New York, New York
Gemstones: Symbols of Beauty and Power, by Eduard Gubelin and Franz-Xaver Erni, Geoscience Press, Tucson, Arizona