Since the 1981, ARK Jewelers has been a respected source for some of the finest pearls in the world. ARK has offered some of the most beautiful pearls on earth. In selecting pearls, quality is of the utmost importance. Here you will find the qualities you should look for in selecting the best pearls for your collection.
A pearl is the product of a partnership between nature and chance.
When a foreign object, such as a grain of sand, is trapped in an oyster or mussel, it is coated with layers of a smooth, crystalline substance known as nacre. Over time, this natural process produces the luminescent gem we know as a pearl.
Nearly all pearls sold today are cultured. That is to say, each one is created by deliberately inserting an irritant into the oyster’s tissue. However, the quality of cultured pearls varies widely. Unlike diamonds, cultured pearls are not rated by an industry-wide grading system. As with diamonds, however, there are specific characteristics that do affect cultured pearl quality.
More than any other factor, size determines price. Pearl size is the result of the size of the implanted nucleus plus the thickness of the nacre, which grows layer by layer. A large cultured pearl is of little value if it lacks nacre thickness since a thinly coated cultured pearl will crack and discolor. Nacre thickness can be verified only by an expert.
Perfectly round cultured pearls are the rarest. While most cultured pearls are basically round, only about 1% are perfect spheres. To check a strand, roll it on a flat surface. The movement should be even and smooth.
Pearls occur in a spectrum of shades. The major classifications are white, pink, silver, cream,gold and black. Fine cultured pearls will also have a secondary color or “overtone” (usually rose, green or blue) around the outside of the pearl. Traditionally, cultured pearls with pinkish-white or pinkish-silver coloring are the most highly prized. Whatever the color, it should appear to emanate from deep within the cultured pearl.
A small percentage of cultured pearls display rainbow-like colors that appear to move over the surface.
Luster refers to the surface shine that gives cultured pearls their glowing beauty. Stand with your back to the light; the sharper the reflection of light on the cultured pearl, the higher the luster.
Like any product of nature, all cultured pearls have imperfections. However, a quality cultured pearl should be free of large pits or blemishes.
Why should I buy my cultured pearls at ARK Jewelers?
Because cultured pearls of high quality are increasingly rare today, it is important that you work with a jeweler you trust. In a ARK Jewelers cultured pearl, the color and luster appear to emanate from deep within the cultured pearl. In a ARK Jewelers. necklace, each cultured pearl is chosen cultured pearl by cultured pearl. Individual cultured pearls are rejected because they cannot be perfectly matched or they have obvious flaws.
Is there a grading system?
Unlike diamonds, cultured pearls are not evaluated by an industry-wide grading system. However, some merchants have developed their own grading scales for comparative purposes. Because we believe quality is so crucial in cultured pearls, ARK Jewelers offers only those cultured pearls that would be considered the highest grades at other stores.
Why are two different strands of the same length priced differently?
There are many criteria applied to judging cultured pearl quality. All of them can affect price. All other factors being equal, however, it is the size of the cultured pearls that determines the price of a strand. Larger cultured pearls are rarer and far more difficult to match than smaller ones.
How do I care for my cultured pearls?
Fine cultured pearls with thick nacre layers will last for generations if cared for properly. Cultured pearls should be kept free of perfumes, cosmetics, perspiration and dirt. You may gently wipe cultured pearls with a slightly damp cloth. ARK Jewelers cultured pearls are strung on pure silk with knots between each cultured pearl. Over time, the silk will stretch, weaken and become soiled. If you wear your cultured pearls regularly, we encourage you to have your cultured pearls cleaned and restrung annually.
How much should I expect to spend?
Considering how often cultured pearls can be worn, we believe you should not compromise on quality. We urge you to purchase the best cultured pearls you can afford within your budget. Good quality strands need not cost a fortune.
2002 Warrensville Center Road
South Euclid, OH 44121
Monday-Friday 12:00 pm-6:00 pm
Weekends and evenings by appointment