Fresh Water Pearl
Mohs Hardness: 3
June Birthstone: Health
Pearl is formed in shellfish as a reactant to an irritant such as a piece of sand. Cultured pearls are created by adding a piece of mussel or shell inside of an oyster of mussel. This then creates a pearl as layers of the inside of the shell grow over the added substance. Pearls are generally white, brown, silver, cream, black or pink depending on the type of shellfish and water. Pearl has a hardness of 3.
The price of pearls vary widely as a result of luster, size, how they were grown, color and type. Natural pearls are the most expensive, followed by cultured pearls. Fresh water pearls tend to be relatively inexpensive.
Some say rubbing a pearl against their teeth can determine whether a pearl is real or fake since fake ones will feel too smooth. Fake pearls will usually be either too heavy (inside is filled with glass) or too light (inside is plastic). The most reliable method of testing if a pearl is natural or cultured is a combination of the X-radiography and X-ray fluorescence testing procedures.
Pearls are less durable than most gems. They are sensitive to acids, dryness, and humidity. If you wear cosmetics and/or perfume, put these on before wearing your pearl jewelry. When taking off your pearls, wipe them with a dry, lint-free cloth. If needed, clean your pearls with warm soapy water being very careful to not get water into the drill hole as the pearl may discolor. Dry your pearls flat on an absorbant soft (preferably lint-free) towel.
Always store your pearl necklaces flat as the silk will stretch. Store pearls separately from other jewelry as they will scratch. Store pearls in a dry environment. Avoid using plastic bags (as moisture may get trapped and cause damage).