| Brigitte Geiselhart |
MUNICH dpa) – The ancient Persians considered pearls the tears of the deities: just one of the many myths and stories surrounding pearls.
For the ancient Greeks, pearls were formed from dew-drops that had fallen in the night of a full moon. The Polynesians thought pearls where a gift of the deity of peace, Oro, who would descend to earth on a rainbow.
They have been a symbol of love, joy and happiness since ancient times. Pearls have adorned kings and queens through the ages as an insignia of power.
With all that history you could be forgiven for thinking that pearls are only for the old fashioned. Not so, says Irmie Schuech-Schamburek, a trend scout at the Inhorgenta jewellery trade fair in Munich.
Pearls remain a popular gift in the holiday season.
“The best pearls are natural pearls. Unlike precious stones, a pearl does not need to be cut, polished, coloured or irradiated,” explains Schuech-Schamburek. That makes them particularly attractive in an age when sustainability has become a watchword.
“Nothing stands for beauty, perfection and singularity like a pearl,” says Schuech-Schamburek. “No two pearls are the same. Each one has its own character, its own life.”
The traditional pearl necklace remains as popular as ever, according to Schuech-Schamburek.
Necklaces come in simple single strands or with two or three rows of pearls. A pearl necklace looks perfect with an elegant dress or trouser suit. But designers are trying to shake off the respectable image pearl necklaces have.
“Pearl jewellery needs to become more contemporary, fresher and younger. It needs to reach new target groups,” explains Thilo Brueckner from Germany’s Jewellery and Watch Trade Association.
Schuech-Schamburek says there is a definite trend towards fashionable variations on the pearl necklace that also look timeless. Many of those pieces include gold, platinum, steel and diamonds.
Freshwater cultured pearls are mainly produced in China. Over a billion of them come from there every year. They were very popular in the 1980s and 90s but are no longer so.
The biggest producer of saltwater pearls is Japan. The best selling pearls are white South Sea pearls followed by Akoya pearls in different colours and black South Sea pearls.
Statistically speaking there is a connection between the size of a pearl and the age of its owner, according to Raphael Fischer from the Central Association of German Goldsmiths, Silversmiths and Jewellers.
Younger women prefer pearls with a diameter from between two and four millimetres, while older women buy pearls of eight millimetres’ diameter or more.
A fine quality pearl is defined by the purity and clarity of its surface, which is known as its lustre, as well as its size and the thickness of the pearl’s wall. The longer a pearl remains inside the mollusc, the thicker the wall.