Traditionally pearl strands have different lengths, thus they require various outfits and occasions to be worn.
“A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls”
“Marco Polo had seen the inhabitants of Zipangu place rose-colored pearls in the mouths of the dead. A sea-monster had been enamored of the pearl that the diver brought to King Perozes, and had slain the thief, and mourned for seven moons over its loss.”
“All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.”
Lady Sarah Churchill
“I feel undressed if I don’t have my pearls on. My pearls are my security blanket.”
“I had just received La Peregrina from New York on a delicate little chain and I was touching it like a talisman.”
Genevieve Antoine Dariaux
“There is just one piece of jewelry that is equally becoming to everybody, lovely with almost every ensemble, appropriate for almost any occasion, and indispensable in every woman’s wardrobe…long live the pearl necklace, true or false, from our first date until our last breath!”
Jean de la Bruyere
“The rarest things in the world, next to a spirit of discernment, are diamonds and pearls.”
“The pearl is the queen of gems and the gem of queens.”
“I favor pearls on screen and in my private life.”
“Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.”
“Pearls lie not on the seashore. If thou desirest one thou must dive for it.”
“Pearls are always appropriate.”
Pearls offered in the market are cultured and have been bred in farms. These farms are set both in fresh and salt water reservoirs depending on the species of mussels.
After implantation the mussels are put in baskets floating under water surface. The water in the reservoir is nutritious, so the mussels grow and cover the implanted tissue with layers of nacre. Farm staff check the temperatures and feeding conditions at different depths everyday. If necessary, they move the baskets with mussels up or down as appropriate. Periodically the mussels are lifted from the water for cleaning and health treatment. Seaweed, barnacles and other water organisms that might interfere with their feeding are removed from the shells. The shells are also treated with medicinal compounds to discourage parasites.
After many months of growth and care, the oysters are ready for harvest. When everything has gone well, a beauty is revealed – the result is a lovely, lustrous and very valuable cultured pearl.
After harvesting, the pearls must be sorted and classified by experts. Sorting pearls is an extremely difficult and time-consuming effort, because there are no two pearls alike. Each pearl must be sorted by size, shape, color and lustre, so it is handled hundreds of times.
After sorting, the pearls are carefully and precisely drilled. Careless handling can lead to splitting and damaging of the pearl. A hole drilled even slightly off-center can ruin a necklace or other piece of jewelry that depends upon the symmetry of its assembly of pearls.
Finally, it comes to matching and stringing. This stage can be even more difficult than sorting, because now experts must compare pearls that are similar in size, shape, lustre and color — looking for nearly exact matches. The art of assembling pearls into a necklace, a pair of earrings or other jewelry requires really refined skills in matching. So this task can be performed only by highly-trained experts with years of experience.
To find 47 pearls for a perfectly matched 16-inch necklace, a pearl processor must cull through more than 10,000 pearls.