This elegant strand necklace features round 8-9mm white freshwater cultured pearls. Strung on silk thread and double knotted, these hand-selected pearls are AAA quality and have superior levels of luster. This strand is available in three lengths and secures with a 14K gold clasp in your choice of color. The necklace arrives in a beautiful gift box with a Certificate of Authenticity from Radiance Pearl.
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What are Freshwater Cultured Pearls?
Cultured in the freshwater lakes and rivers of China and Japan, these beautiful pearls have a lustrous natural white color. Freshwater pearl sizes usually range from 5mm to 9mm. Freshwater cultured pearls are luxurious yet affordable and are the perfect way to begin your pearl collection.
About AAA Quality Freshwater Cultured Pearls:
Very high grade freshwater cultured pearls are designated as AAA quality. These are pearls with very high surface luster and little to no surface blemishing. Another important feature of AAA quality pearls is the thickness of the nacre. Very high grade pearls naturally have a very thick nacre which helps make them more durable over time.
By far the most common color of gold used in jewelry, yellow gold is gold in its natural shade. Yellow gold is usually alloyed with copper and silver to increase the strength of the metal. How yellow the metal is depends upon the content of gold. A 14-karat piece of jewelry will have a brighter yellow hue than a 10-karat piece. Likewise, an 18-karat piece of jewelry will have a deeper yellow than 14-karat gold, and so on.
Increasing in popularity in recent years, white gold has become fashionable as the preferred cool and contemporary look. White gold boasts the same properties as classic yellow gold, but achieves its white color by mixing with different alloys. In general, white gold is created when a nickel or palladium alloy (zinc and copper) is used. White gold may also be plated with an even whiter metal, such as rhodium, to enhance its cool appearance. As well, a white gold setting can enhance the rapture of white diamonds.
Rose or Pink Gold
Rose or pink-colored gold can be created by alloying copper with yellow gold. This hue of gold tends to have a pink, bluish tint that complements many skin tones.
This color variation of gold can be created by alloying silver, copper and zinc with yellow gold.
Each year, 75% of the world's mined gold is used to make jewelry. Gold is a symbol of enduring love and heritage, making it the coveted choice for jewelry that will be passed from generation to generation. It has even earned its place as the traditional gift for 50th wedding anniversaries.
The unrivaled permanence and emotion attached to gold result from many factors. The most obvious is that gold is aesthetically pleasing. The warm golden color is much loved, as are alloys that can be used to create a rainbow of different shades of the metal. Gold is extremely rare, requiring several tons of ore to produce just one ounce of gold. In fact, estimates are that all the gold ever mined could fit beneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris!
Gold's durability gives it an incredibly long-lasting value. Ancient gold jewelry, coins and artifacts on display in museums worldwide are testament to gold's enduring beauty. Additionally, gold is a heavy metal. In fact, one cubic foot weighs half a ton! When alloyed with other metals, the relatively soft metal becomes exceptionally strong, durable and indestructible. Gold is a pure substance resistant to the effects of air, heat and moisture. Thus, it resists tarnish and remains pleasing to the eye for lifetimes and beyond.
In spite of gold's strength and heaviness, it is very malleable, making it easy enough to work with that just one ounce can be worked into a continuous strand approximately 60 miles long. As well, it can be melted or shaped into an infinite number of designs, making it quite versatile for creative and beautiful jewelry designs.
History & Significance
Gold has been romanticized in popular culture for eras, used as currency and treasure in great civilizations, and even ascribed miraculous powers. Gold's long and winding history has traversed the world many times over. The Etruscans crafted objects by hand with threads of gold. Ancient Egyptians reserved gold's use for pharaohs only, equating it with the sun. The Incas called gold “the sweat of the sun” and the Chinese thought of gold as the sun's yang.
Chinese and Indian culture today remains that brides wear 24K gold on their wedding day for a lifetime of luck and happiness. Furthermore, in some cultures people eat gold to treat ailments that include arthritis, tuberculosis and ulcers.
In addition to gold's historical value, the tangible lasting value of gold has been established by its use as currency. Gold has been used for more than 5,000 years as currency. It holds its value and boasts a sense of permanency that paper currency does not. People tend to buy it in large quantities during times of crisis.
Beyond even the historical and monetary value of gold, the rare precious metal is an alluring aesthetic material with which some of this world's finest and most prized jewelry is crafted.
Finishes on Gold Jewelry
Gold jewelry is often “finished.” This refers to surface treatments for gold jewelry, creating patterns and designs. Different types of finishes are often used in tandem to create contrasting effects.
Brushed: A satiny finish produced by a stiff metal brush applied in linear or circular patterns.
Diamond Cut: Tiny angled cuts into the surface create a bright faceted look.
Diamond Laser: Hammering the surface with a faceted, diamond-tipped tool creates a highly reflective finish.
Embossed: A relief pattern shaped in sheet metal.
Enameled: Colored glass fused onto a metal surface.
Engraved: A design cut with a sharp tool.
Etched: Chemical or hand-created designs or patterns cut into the surface to make a textured finish.
Filigree: Delicate patterns created by twisting together fine wires and flattening and bending them into intricate designs; these patterns are surrounded by a sturdy gold framework.
Florentine: Parallel lines are engraved in one direction with lighter perpendicular cross-hatchings or curved strokes; these lines are deeper than on brushed or satin finishes.
Granulated: Small and round gold particles hand-placed on a gold surface, then fastened by heating.
Hammered: Varied light to deep hammering applied directly to the surface to create a design.
High Polish: Bright and shiny, highly reflective finish.
Matte: Velvety finish lacking shine but boasting a soft luster.
Satin Finish: Soft and lustrous appearance resulting from light parallel lines that sharply reduce the metal's reflections.
Often referred to as a gift from the sea, pearl’s origin has been an object of folklore throughout history. Early Chinese myths told of pearls falling from the sky when dragons fought. Ancient Persian legend said that pearls were tears of the gods. In classical times, it was believed that pearls were formed when moonbeams lit upon shellfish, while Indian mythology suggested pearls were formed when dewdrops fell from the heavens into the sea.
In truth, pearls are lustrous gems with an organic origin. They are formed inside mollusks such as oysters, clams and mussels when an irritant such as a tiny stone, grain of sand or small parasite enters the mollusk's shell. To protect its soft inner body, the mollusk secretes a smooth, lustrous substance called nacre around the foreign object. Layer upon layer of nacre coats the irritant and hardens, ultimately forming a pearl.
This process of building a solid pearl can take up to seven or eight years. Generally, the thicker the nacre becomes, the richer the “glow” of the pearl and greater its value. While pearls that have formed on the inside of the shell (called blister pearls) are usually irregular in shape and have little commercial value, those that are formed within the tissue of the mollusk are either spherical or pear-shaped and are highly sought-after for jewelry. Most pearls on the market measure 7.0-7.5mm in diameter, but can be found as small as 1mm or as large as 20mm.
Although some pearls are found naturally in mollusks (considered the most valuable), the vast majority of pearls are grown, or cultured, on pearl farms. To instigate this culturing process, a small shell bead, or nucleus, is surgically inserted into the mantle of an oyster. Despite the fact that pearls are harvested in great quantities on pearl farms, producing a quality pearl is an extremely rare event. It is estimated that half of all nucleated oysters do not survive and, from those that do, only 20 percent create marketable pearls.
Cultured and natural pearls can be distinguished from imitation pearls by rubbing them gently against the edge of a tooth. Cultured and natural pearls will feel slightly rough, like fine sandpaper, because of the texture of natural nacre. Imitations will feel quite smooth because their surfaces are merely molded or painted on smooth beads. Since nacre is organic, pearls are quite “soft” and rank only a 2.5-4.5 on the Mohs Scale. The gems are very sensitive and special care should be taken when wearing and storing them.
The value of a pearl is judged by several factors, and high-quality pearl strands should feature pearls well-matched in these factors: “orient,” the lustrous iridescence that’s produced when light is reflected from the nacre, should glow with a soft brilliance; the nacre’s texture should be clean and smooth, absent of spots, bumps or cracks; the shape of a pearl should be symmetrical and generally the rounder a pearl is, the higher its value; and although pearls come in many different colors (depending on the environment and species of mollusk), the most favored are those that have a rose-tinted hue.
Pearls are cultured in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. Akoya pearls are the classic round pearls found in most pearl jewelry. They are mainly grown in the waters off Japan and are found in a range of hues, including white, cream, pink and peach. Mabe pearls are grown in Japan, Indonesia, French Polynesia and Australia. They are usually flat-backed and often called blister pearls because they form against the inside shells of oysters rather than within oysters’ bodies. Tahitian pearls are grown in French Polynesia and come in a range of colors, including gray and black with green, purple or rose overtones. Because of their large size and unique dark colors, they command very high prices. Also prized for their large size, white South Sea pearls are grown in Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and other areas of the South Pacific.
Freshwater pearls come in various colors and are grown in bays, lakes and rivers primarily in Japan, China, Europe and the United States (Mississippi River). They are often irregularly shaped and less lustrous than saltwater cultured pearls, making them substantially less expensive.
Pearls have been treasured throughout ancient folklore and history. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, considered pearls to be sacred. The Greeks prized the gems for their beauty and believed that wearing pearls would promote marital bliss and prevent newlywed women from crying. In ancient Rome, pearls were considered the ultimate symbol of wealth and status. The ancient Egyptians were buried with them and the Egyptian queen Cleopatra favored pearls immensely. It is said that while dining with Mark Anthony, she purposely dropped a pearl into her drink to demonstrate the wealth of her rule.
As early as 2000 B.C., pearls have been used as medicine in China, where it was believed to represent wealth, power and longevity. Even today, low-grade pearls are ground for use as medicine in the Orient. Arabs and Persians also believed it was a cure for various kinds of diseases, as well as insanity.
Long ago, when pearls were not cultured and thousands of oysters had to be searched for only one pearl, the gems were important financial assets, comparable in price to real estate. Some European countries even banned all but nobility from the right to wear them. Medieval knights wore them in battle as a talisman against injury, while warriors in India encrusted pearls into their sword handles to symbolize the tears that swords can bring.
Today, the pearl is a universal symbol of innocence and purity. It is the birthstone for June and is considered the traditional gift for couples celebrating their 3rd and 30th wedding anniversaries. Many believe the gem gives wisdom through experience, quickens the laws of karma and cements engagements and love relationships. It is also considered to offer the powers of wealth, protection and luck.
The largest pearl in the world is approximately 3” long and 2” wide, weighing one-third of a pound. Called the Pearl of Asia, it was a gift from India’s Shah Jahan to his favorite wife, for whom he also built the Taj Mahal. Another famous pearl is called “La Peregrina,” or “the Wanderer,” and is considered by experts to be the most beautiful pearl in the world. Pear-shaped and measuring 1-1/2” in length, it is said that 400 years ago the pearl was found by a slave in Panama, who gave it up in return for his freedom. In 1570, the conquistadors sent the pearl to King Philip II of Spain. The pearl was passed to Mary I of England, who gave it to Prince Louis Napoleon of France, who sold it to the British Marquis of Abercon. After disappearing for a century, the pearl turned up once again in 1969 at a New York auction house. It was purchased by actor Richard Burton for his wife, Elizabeth Taylor.