What's in a Pearl?

No two pearls are the same.

Pearls are organic material cultivated in molluscs, where layers upon layers of mother-of-pearl (the iridescent nacre inside of the mollusc) are deposited onto the core ‘seed’ of a pearl. It takes approximately one thousand layers to achieve a total thickness of 0.5 mm of pearl.

When pearls are graded, several factors are taken into consideration, including lustre, shape, colour, surface, and size. Pearls are typically graded using the AAA-AA pearl grading system, in terms of which pearls are graded on a scale from AAA to A, with AAA being the highest grade.

Lustre is the amount of light a pearl reflects from both its surface glow and the deep mirror-like reflection of its inner light. Pearls vary widely in colour based on the type of oyster that produces them. While colour choice is a matter of personal preference, KIPPIE always looks for rich colour, evenly distributed throughout the pearl. Subtle blemishes and tiny marks are part of a pearl’s natural texture and proof of its genuine origin. These blemishes are the result of sea particles that drift into the oyster/mollusc and brush against the pearl as it forms.

Freshwater pearls are formed in molluscs that live in freshwater environments. The largest production of cultured freshwater pearls tend to happen in rivers in China.

Baroque freshwater pearls are pearls with an irregular non-spherical shape - a firm favourite at KIPPIE! 

Akoya pearls are the classical white, cultured saltwater pearls that originate from the Akoya pearl oyster (Pinctada fucata). These beauties are originally only cultivated in Japan, and are typically what we use when designing bespoke pieces.


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