cultured pearls

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Faberge, one of the world’s most recognized fine artist jewelers, have unveiled a new creation of their iconic Imperial Eggs. The lucky attendees of last week’s Doha Watch and Jewellery Exhibition in Qatar witnessed the first debut of the extraordinary masterpiece: the $2 million Pearl Egg.

Using a combination of white and yellow gold, the meticulously crafted egg features a total of 139 natural white pearls, gleams with a mother-of-pearl finish and adorned with over 3,300 diamonds and hand-carved rock quartz. The centerpiece is an incredibly rare, unique 12.17-carat natural grey pearl sourced from the Arabian Gulf. To reveal it, the outer egg shell is rotated on the base which allows the six sides to flower open simultaneously to reveal the treasure; reminiscent of how an oyster opens to reveal its’ cultured pearl.

The House of Faberge collaborated with the Al-Fardan family to create this egg in honor of the upcoming centenary marking the last Imperial Egg ever made. A renowned pearl collector and connouisseur, Hussain Ibrahim Al-Fardan personally hand-selected each pearl from his family’s collection to be used in making the Pearl Egg.

The Pearl Egg is the first imperial class egg made in almost a century – the last imperial class egg was created in 1917, under the supervision of Peter Carl Faberge himself. The Karelian Birch, also referred to as the “Birch Egg”, was commissioned by the last Tsar of Russia Nicholas II, intended as an Easter gift to his mother, the Empress Maria Feodorovna. The February Revolution began before the egg could be delivered, signalling the end of the imperial era of Russia and subsequently, Faberge’s eggs.

 

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Pearl necklaceWhen you walk into a jewellery store, let’s be honest, at first glance we think all pearls look the same except they come in different colors, it’s kind of like diamonds, at first glance most diamonds look the same until you put two diamonds with different quality side by side then you can tell the difference. Well, it’s the same with pearls. All pearls sold on the retail market are “cultured pearls” unless otherwise labeled as natural pearls which are extremely rare nowadays. If you are in a rush (a lot of gentlemen are) and don’t have time to learn all about pearls, easiest way is to ask a jewellery professional what you can get for your budget, an educated jeweller or a graduate gemologists should be able to offer good advice on what type of pearls you should get. Below are the pearl types in the market today.

  • Freshwater pearls: Freshwater pearls come from freshwater mussels which live in ponds, lakes and rivers and are primarily produced by China. The typical size of freshwater pearls is 2mm – 16mm with 7mm – 8mm being the most common.
  • Akoya pearls: Akoya pearls are the classic white pearls and typically have the highest luster and greatest shine of all cultured pearls. Typical Akoya pearls range from 5 mm to 11 mm.
  • South Sea pearls: South Sea pearls are saltwater pearls cultivated from the oyster, found in the South Seas centering on Northern Australia and South-East Asia, including Myanmar and Indonesia. They produce 10-20 mm pearls of white, creamy, silver or gold color, the largest of any cultured pearl. South Sea pearls are also the most expensive pearl on the market due to their rarity and thick nacre.
  • Tahitian pearls: Tahitian Pearls come from the warm waters of the South Seas and are grown in a Black-Lipped oyster. They are the only pearl to achieve a black body color naturally and are typically very large, 9mm- 16mm. Tahitian pearls, although mostly dark, also come in a wide range of hues, including black, gray, silver, green, blue and purple.

You can get all technical and get into the surface, luster, nacre and all that before buying pearls but just by reading about it doesn’t make you a pearl buying expert when you shop in a store, best is to have a few to choose from in person and ask questions, after you understand the value of all different types you will be ready to make an informed purchase. You will see the why two pearl strands look similar from far have very different price tags. Don’t get hung up on brand names; Tiffany’s and Mikimoto both are known for high quality goods, but by no means do they have a monopoly on high quality pearls. You can buy high quality pearls in many Vancouver jewellery stores!

 

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