From Pearl to Pearl Culture.
For millennia, no other gem has fascinated and enchanted the eye quite as much as the pearl with its lustrous glow. Ancient, yet always contemporary, the pearl has survived a thousand changing fashions with all its original appeal intact.
Once, pearl divers provided the only source of pearls. At great risk, they explored the oyster beds in the ocean's depths to find their mysterious treasures. But oysters containing a gem of the finest shape, colour, lustre and size were rare.
For many women the development of the cultured pearl made an age-old dream come true. Now, they too could possess pearls that had once been accessible to only a fortunate few. Cultured pearls from Schoeffel are among the most beautiful in the world. We will share the secrets of pearl culture with you.
The Birth of a Cultured Pearl.
It was long believed that a pearl begins to from when a grain of sand enters and oyster. But in most cases other tiny foreign particles are responsible for the pearl's formation. With cultured pearls, the process is initiated by the human hand, thus overcoming the random whims of nature.
the first ingredient in pearl culture are pearl oysters. They are primarily raised on oyster farms. Oyster breeding and pearl culture are separate processes that together require several years.
To culture a pearl, a particle of mother-of-pearl and a tiny piece of tissue taken from another oyster are implanted in a pearl oyster, which then starts to enclose the "intruding" body in layers of mother-of-pearl. The birth of a cultured pearl has begun.
After approximately two and a half years of painstaking care, the most exciting moment arrives - the harvest. There is something miraculous in the creation of a cultured pearl. Although the method seems simple, only one in hundreds or even thousands of the pearls produced is of near perfect quality and shape.
The skills and dedication of pearl breeders are crucial to ensure that nature regularly produces rare treasures. For their part, pearl traders spend their lives searching for the world's most unusual and fascinating pearls.
Of these, only the most beautiful are selected for Schoeffel pearl necklaces and jewelry.
Incomparable Beauty and Splendor.
South SeaPearls are considered the "Queens Among Pearls". They are primarily cultured in the northern waters of Australia, the Philippines and Indonesia. Their rarity and exceptional size, 10 to 20 mm, make them extremely precious. Their colours range from white and silvery blue to pale gold and suit the most discerning tastes.
Dark, Mysterious and Seductive.
Tahitian Pearls mirror the mystical deep of the ocean and reflect light as a dusky rainbow. Most come from the atolls and emerald-green lagoons of the South Pacific. They tend to be more drop-shaped than round and vary in size from 10 t0 15 mm. They can be black, silver or dark grey. The rarest colour is the greenish black of a peacock feather.
Classic Beauties with an Enchanting Lustre.
Akoya pearls are the classics among cultured pearls. They are exquisite gems primarily round or oval in shape, measuring 2 to 10 mm and cultured in southwestern Japan and China. With their palette of luminous hues, from pinkish white to delicate creamy shades and silvery blue, they delight the eye with a lustre that accents the beauty of every woman who wears them.
Treasures from the Kasumiga-ura Lake.
The Kusumiga pearl, a fascinating new type of pearl, comes from a lake northeast of Tokyo. It is cultured in a highly sensitive process relying on the close cooperation of man and nature. The mussels here, a crossbreed between Japanese and Chinese freshwater mussels, are implanted with round or flat seeds, producing pearls of glowing iridescent beauty in rosy hues of light to dark pink.
Surprises From Nature.
Seedless Keshi pearls are delightful surprises from nature, arising spontaneously in the culture of Akoya, South Sea and Tahitian pearls. Their irregular shapes give them the subtle appeal of ornaments designed by nature herself, in colours ranging from silvery white to dark anthracite, as in the Keshi pearls shown in the photograph here.
A Wealth of Shapes and Shades.
Harking back to a tradition that endured for thousands of years, China revived the culture of freshwater pearls in the tributaries and canals of the Yangtsekiang River some time ago. They grow in an amazing variety of delicate shapes, round, oval, button, drop and baroque. Their colours vary from pure white to orange and rosy violet.
The Five Criteria for Grading Pearls
The most important criterion is lustre - the mysterious glow that seems to radiate from the inside. This unique phenomenon of light gives the pearl a life and radiance that delight both the eye and the heart. Lustre is also the distinctive aspect of a cultured pearl's lasting quality. Only strong layers of mother-of-pearl can produce deep lustre.
A pearl's colour is above all a question of personal taste, although some shades are especially rare or popular, and therefore highly valued, such as a rosy white, silvery white and pale gold. However, the colour of a pearl is not an indication of its quality.
The ideal pearl has an almost perfectly round or graceful drop shape. However, here again personal taste should prevail. The attraction of a pearl does not lie in a flawless shape but in its unique qualities.
In general, the fewer the spots or blemishes a pearl has, the higher its value. Even costly pearls can have small surface flaws. But again, absolute perfection is produced purely by chance and is very, very rare.
Size is not a decisive factor when selecting pearls, since the larger they are the more disproportionately their value increases. The key question is, which size pearls suit you best? When in doubt, the general guideline is that lustre is more important than size.