Morays Pearl Buying Guide

Pearls for all times

From colorful "Mark and Cleo" stories, to financing entire currencies, Today's Pearl** sits before us, for all practical purposes "extinct."  Still grown naturally, organically.   In oyster beds, lakes and rivers worldwide, some "pearled out" centuries ago, some yet to find.

With fashion timelessness and truly multi-national dedication to its natural and industrial preservation, today's Pearl industry grades, measures, labels, etc., $ millions and $ millions.  A huge, multi-national, multi-continental industry evolved from pearls once so rare, it took but a few well of these well-matched baubles to fair trade for a lovely castle.

On pearls stayed.  Reinventing, yet always the same.  The flappers' Roaring Twenties "ropes" grew to the even longer, more closely matched opera length strands worn by surprisingly many through the Great Depression.   It wasn't until the 60s, when they evolved into plastic mardi gras and love beads, that Pearls fell from the top of most "Hope Chest"  lists, along with silver and china patterns, homemade aprons and complete financial reliance upon  "The Perfect Man..."

( Elena: Use images from Yoko London,  through out)

Whatever your pearl, Morays knows the right oyster

(Image of Beau)

Morays new owner, Beau Hequin, marvels at grower's humane, more healthy farming and international conservation methods, so important to our grandchildren - even to ourselves. 

Morays includes today's newer buying habits and newer lines using innovative designs for traditional/non-traditional gems, time pieces, settings, etc.  In this, and some of the amazing new designer color pearls he now carries, Hequin understands for many he walks a fine line.  "It's the air I breathe, I still remember my first heirloom Mikimoto".

"Today they still amaze me, their natural  pastels have such fine uniqueness - now there is a non-traditional  design and quality to match."

One of Hequin's newest pearl lines is Yoko London (link to Yoko London merchandise).  The pearls of Yoko London* have all the hues found in their "mother" - but cultured singly, one a pearl of bright pinks, or unexpected greens, blues. 

Fine "pop" pieces for today, opening to an entire classic line of pearls and pearl/gemstone combinations for International Miami's fast-approaching future.  London's younger set is - through visionaries like Beau Hequin, and Morays bringing them to Miami - and therefore the world.

Morays Pearls?  Don't get us wrong, there's nothing we love more.  But Morays Pearls aren't just for Grandma anymore.  Unless, of course, you are one very hip granny.

Pearl Glossary

Some Pearls of real wisdom you may run into:

Natural Pearls:

Unless a glass or bead imitaton, all pearls are "natural."  Whether watched, conserved  and harvested carefully by Austrailian and New Zealand "farmers" or created in one of Mikimoto's antisepctic facilities, a completely "Natural" pearl is an accident of nature and as such, extremely rare, very expensive and usually antique.

Cultured Pearls

A  person imitates the natural process a pearl oyster suffers to make a pearl.  The color of the implant can be used to manipulate the color of the resulting pearl.  It still takes Mother Nature, a few very rare Oyster Pearl beds, several years, careful husbandry, but it all keeps it Natural.

Freshwater Pearls

Know your local rivers and lakes - freshwater pearls grow inside the freshwater mullusk. Often considered to have given up in size what it gained in lumenosity.

Akoya Pearls

The mainstay of Japanese saltwater pearl industry - this is the round orb of lustre most people know and love.  Today, limited farming in China and other countries.

Bibb

Pearl necklace with three or more concentric stands

Black-Lipped Oyster

Famous for legendary Tahitian black and colored/multi-hued, high lustre, huge sized pearls.  Spawned by the black-lipped oyster throughout the South Pacific, natural pure black is still quite rare, very expensive and often, dipped. 

Blister Pearls

A Natural Mistake, Blister Pearls start when an irritant outside the pearl breaks through, to the inside.  The Oyster secretes its nacre (Mother of Pearl) inside and out, leaving a highly irrigular piece in both shape and what a very creative Morays Jeweler could do with it.

Blue Pearl

A dark colored cultured pearl, almost always an Akoya treated with a dark colored nacre.

Color

Discussed earlier, the type of oyster/mussell used, the nacre,  contribute greatly to color, as does geography.  Pearls come in a surprisingly variety of more solid colors, hues, tints, even lustres, most naturally cultivated from generation to generation, some dipped.

Cultivation

The care, selection, "seeding" and "harvesting" of a cultured pearl. 

Pearl Grade

Pearls are also graded by shape:

SPHERICAL PEARLS: 

Round, traitionally the most desirable, veratile and envied, particularly before the days of modern pearl culture, when a perfectly matched perfectly alligned choker pair traded, even-steven, with a small mansion (but a mansion, with servents, none the less).

SYMMETRICAL PEARLS:

  Pear- and -other (flower, natural buttterflies, grapes - any natural shape, as long as it is the exact same (symmetrical) on both sides.  Winter squash and cucumbers, building, autos, animals can be symmetrical,  as well as vert difficult to grow.

BAROQUE PEARLS:

Often considered bargains by those with more conventional tastes, Baroque Pearls are irregular in shape and color, often displaying Mother of Pearl "bubbles" and other imperfections which inspire many metallurgists and designers, young and old.

SEMI-BAROQUE PEARLS:

In general terms, typical pearl shapes not round/semi-round. 

Lustre:

  How vibrant, how much light do you see?  The quality of the Nacre is dependent upon the quality of its care.  Low Lustre pearls look cloudy and milky.  High lustre pearls, however, reflect enough light to reflect what they can see.   

Shape:

  Back and forth, perfectly round and/or perfectly imperfect.  If it's big, has great hue and high luster, that odd shape may send some craftsman/custom jeweler to paying more when there's only one like it. 

A few More Morays Pearl Facts:

If you purchase your fine Mikimoto, Yoko London or any other Moray's pearl, here are a few more things you may want to ask your Moray's representative - about our pearls or anyone else's - before you finalize the deal at our Downtown Miami store:

PEARL:  SURFACE BLEMISHES

As perfect as Mother Nature Intended.  Mother Nature did not intend for real pearls to feel as slick as they look.  Using your Moray's Jewelers' 10X Magnification, check  the pearl's surface for nicks, scratches, unexplained color variances.  Expect some variation, but the golden rule:  the more round, the more symmetrical, the brighter the lustre the bigger the size - the more valuable the Pearl.     

Look closely.  Use the jewelers' scope.  The fewer blemishes, the more valuable the pearl.  These little marks, bumps, etc., can compromise your setting. Inspect each pearl indiidually,surface quality counts. Watch for symmetry of shape.

Dog Collar:

Choker length necklace form many different strands.

Gold-Lipped Oyster:

Found mostly around the Pacific Rim (Thailand, Indonesia, The Philippines, etc.), these mollusks produce pearls of a rare, exquisite light yellow/gold.

Graduated Strand:

Pearls carefully collected and strung in graduating sizes, with largest pearls in front, smallest where clasp will attach.

Half Pearls:

Usually called "three-quarter pearls," these have had a damaged portion removed from  the pearl.

Imitation Pearls:

As you may recall, easy to spot.  Imitation pearls are usually made from solid or hollow glass beads coated with fish scale "pearl essence."  You can also find them in plastic.

Iridescence:

The colors of the rainbow, all flowing together with silver luminescience.  Iridescence is what makes a pearl and pearl, flowing to repair itself, making itself more beautiful in the process.

Keshi Pearls:

Small, roundish, longish, shortish unmatched "pearls" cultivated naturally by bits of oyster shell broken off while cultivating the real pearl.  Often quite pretty, used in crafts, costumes, etc.

Knotting:

The difference between "my pearls flew out the windows" and "See?  They're blue pearls, Your Honor, like your eyes..."

Mabe Pearls:

Half-pearls, cultured blister pearl, because they grow unevenly from the inner shell Mabe Pearls must have a closed-back setting.

Mantle:

Part of soft mullusk tissue secreting nacrae (Mother of Pearl), used to nucleate and stimulate pearl formation in Freshwater Pearls.

Mallorca:

Tourists treasured imitation pearl, some quite valable, none of them "real" anything but "real" Mallorca Imitation Pearls

Mattinee Length:

Twenty to twenty-six inches of perfectly matched, perfectly graduated pearls, running small (for clasp) to very respectable, back again to little but nice at the clasp again.  She'd love that deco diamond and pearl clasp, by the way...

Mollusk:

Clams, Oysters, Mussles.  Hard shell outside, sweet meat inside.  Pearl shell repair in right species.

Mother of Pearl:

Ultimately, Nacre, the smooth, hard pearl lining  inside oysters, mollusk shells, etc.  Well known as buttons, guitar fretss, furniture inlays.

Nacre (NAY-ker)

The pearly substance secreted by oysters, clams, mussells and certain mullusk to protect itself from injury, forming a pearl.

Natural Pearls

Considered extremely rare, all natural peals, grown without influence of mankind are so rare, of upi see one it's probably an antique.

Near Round Pearls

Somewhat closer to round than almost, but not almost round, either.

Non-Nucleated Pearls

Freshwater, mantle-to-mantle tissue-generated pearls. 

Nucleated Pearls

A neucleus inserted into certain pearl-bearing molluscs takes hold, causing the oyster, mussle. Etc. to grow more quickly, contributing to color, size, luster.

Off-Round Pearls

Pearls somewhat oval, slightly flattened.

Opera Length

28"-36" Pearls Necklace.  Long enough for Fashion, short enough to sit down.

"Orient"

Pearly lustre, iridescence seen on pearls, Mother-of-Pearl shells

"Oriental Pearls"

Near extinct, natural if found, but very rarely in Persian Gulf water pollution

"Pearl"

Though not necessarily legal, the correct answer is "Yes"  By definition, only "un-cultured" pearls may call themselves "natural."  As there are no new pearls being grown except through "culture" the only "nasural" pearls are cultured.  Otherise, it's a Natural (Non-Cultured) Pearl and/or a Natural Cultured Pearl.

"Princess Length"

Pearl necklace 17"-19" in length, considered classic pearl length.

"Rope Length"

40" or longer pearl strand.  Can be tied, have several sets/sizes of clasps, wrapped.

"Shape"

Key to Pearl pricing and quality Most pearls are categorized "Round," "Off-Round," "Semi-Baroque" and "Baroque"

"Silver Lipped Oyster"

South Sea variety known for large, silvery white pearls

"South Sea Cultured Pearls"

In the area of SE Asia ranging from Thailand and Burma down to Indonesia, the Philippines through Australia, back up through the South Pacific are many ancient and newly developed beds known for the size, beauty and speed at which their quite large pearls mature.

"Standard Length"

Standard for a pearl necklace is 16".

"Torsade"

Popular for  freshwater pearls, multi-strand pearls are twisted around each other.

"Uniform Standard"

Pearl strand of pearls closely sized, rather than graduated.