South Sea Pearls
South Sea Pearls are the most sought after pearls in the world and are grown in the Gold and Silver lipped Pearl Oyster Shell ( Pinctada maxima ) common in Australia and South East Asia.
The round pearl process begins by surgically operating the pearl oyster by cutting into the gonad and inserting a round nucleus made from shell which is accompanied by a graft of mantle tissue 3 mm square from a donor oyster. The operated shells are then returned to the ocean in netting panels suspended from surface longlines for a period of 2 years. During this time the mantle tissue graft forms a sac around the nucleus which will secrets enzymes that produce micro-fine layers of nacre, thus producing a pearl.
Only one pearl is grown per cultivation cycle however some that have produced gem quality pearls can be re-operated for another production cycle. A Keishi pearl can also be produced during this cycle and is a result of the mantle tissue graft forming a pearl of its own.These pearls tend to be baroque shaped and smaller in size 8-10 millimeters.
South Sea Pearls are larger in size ranging from 10-20 millimeters in diameter. and come in a variety of shapes from Round , Near Round , Drop , Oval , Button and Baroque. Colours are typically White , Silver/White , Silver , Cream and Golden.
Freshwater Pearls are cultured in a similar process to the South Sea Pearl only in Mussels shells not Pearl Oyster shells.This process is also by way of nucleation with up to 20 pieces of mantle tissue from a donor Mussel shell being inserted into small surgical cuts in the mantle tissue of the Mussel , not the gonad.
Freshwater Pearls take 2-3 years to cultivate and come in a variety of natural colours ranging from White, Silver ,Silver/White , Pink , Peach and Lavender depending on the species of Mussel shell operated. Only a small percentage of Freshwater pearls are Round and most are Near Round , Drop , Oval , Button and Baroque shaped 8-12 millimeters in diameter.
Half ( Mabe ) Pearls
Half Pearls are formed by attaching different nuclei shapes ( Round , Teardrop , Oval , Heart ) onto the inner side of the Pearl shell.The mantle tissue of the shell will form around the inserted shape and secret fine layers of narce to form a Half pearl after 9-12 months.Depending on the shells size up to 8 nuclei can be inserted at one time.
The Half pearls then have to be cut out from the shell and fitted with a polished Mother of Pearl shell backing before being ready to set into Jewelry designs. Half pearls can be cultivated in the Pearl oyster shell , Freshwater mussel shell and the Winged pearl oyster shell and range in size from 10-25 millimeters.
Pearls come in many Shapes , Sizes & Colours and are graded accordingly.
Treasures from the Deep uses the Gemological Institute of America Pearl grading system which evaluates the Pearl using a number of factors.
Lustre : The lustre of the Pearl is the most important factor and will be graded Excellent , Good , Fair
Surface : As the Pearl is of an organic nature most will exhibit some form of blemish or mark
The surface will be graded Clean , Lightly marked , Moderately marked
Size : Measured in millimeters using a micrometer
Shape : Graded – Round , Near Round , Oval , Drop ,Button , Circle and Baroque
Colour : The colour of the Pearl can vary greatly and depends on the species of shell being nucleated as the Pearl will form its colour from the Mother shell.
Round Pearls are valued the highest and the size and quality of the Pearl will ultimately determine its final price.
Our Pearl Jewelry
Only the finest quality pearls are selected for handcrafting into exquisite designs by our Thai and Vietnamese artisans.
Our Sterling Silver jewelry range uses only A grade quality Mother of Pearl and Abalone shell ( Paua) which is inlayed into our unique designs.
All our products are produced to the highest international standards and are quality controlled by our GIA Pearl graduate.