Hot on the heels of our post about the best splurges (in which I include my pearls), I thought now would be a great time for guest poster/Corporette commenter “Kanye East” to demystify buying pearls for us. In real life,the author is an attorney at law, New York City ex-pat, sarcastic Corporette commenter, and amateur metalsmith. On the rare occasions she leaves the office, Ms. East slays dragons and makes jewelry with their treasures.
I only have a few hard-and-fast rules when it comes to purchasing jewelry. Rule One: know what you’re buying. (There’s also Rule One-And-A-Half—don’t get ripped off—but it’s really just a restatement of Rule One). Rule Two almost throws the other rules out the window: buy (and wear) what you like. That’s it. Two and a half rules. Still with me? Good. We’ve already covered metals, so now let’s talk pearl basics.
Pearls are organic, non-vegan gems produced by different varieties of mollusks, both salt water and freshwater. They’re created when an irritant (nucleus) is introduced and then covered by the mollusk in layers of nacre. When this occurs naturally, pearls fetch top dollar; when it’s achieved with the intervention of pearl harvesters, it results in “nucleated” or “cultured” pearls, which tend to be more affordable. [Read more…]