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October 31, 2007

Pearl Bracelets - The Best Gift For All Occasions

A bracelet is one jewelry that enhances a woman's beauty and self-confidence. It gives an added appeal to the lower arm and boosts the overall aura of a woman. And what better gem to use for this type of jewelry than the beautiful freshwater pearl. By its natural beauty alone, a pearl is a perfect symbol of serenity and timelessness which can be worn or given as a gift on any occasion.

Freshwater pearls are a real treasure being very rare and expensive these days. Although similar in appearance to the natural and seawater pearls, the edge of freshwater pearls lies in their luster and depth. They are also well known for their wide range of color. Apart from the standard white, these freshwater pearls are also available in pastel colors like pink, rose, purple, blue, cream lavender and yellow as well as silvery white, salmon, red, copper bronze, brown and green.

While they have different colors, freshwater pearls also come in a variety of shapes such as drops, eggs, pears, dome, rounds and baroques. The baroque type are further classified into various shapes like wings, hammers, twins, barrels round-a-circle, rosebuds, nuggets and dog tooth.

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Where it all began

These freshwater pearls were first cultured in Japan notably in Lake Biwa near Kyoto. From 1950 to 1990, Japan was a leader in the cultured-pearl industry. Today, however, China has taken over being the biggest producer. And with the low cost of labor and materials in China, there's no reason why the pearl industry there will not sustain its momentum. China, has, in fact, employed modern technology in the processing of cultured pearls to make them stand out from the rest.

The U.S. has also been a major producer of freshwater cultured pearls since 1963 through the efforts of John Latendresse. Since that time, 31 states have claimed producing such pearls. And this increase in pearl production can be attributed to the growing popularity of freshwater pearls in jewelry making in the U.S.

Types of pearl bracelets

Freshwater pearls can be made into different styles and designs of bracelets and mixed with other precious gems for a unique but elegant appearance. They can be paired with gold, sterling silver or crystals of your preference. Some of these common styles are the chain and link, stretch, beaded and toggle.

Stretchy bracelet – With this type, pearls can be paired with gold beads using a stretchable nylon. Pearls are usually separated at the top and bottom by small 14k yellow gold beads. And being stretchable, you can just slip on this bracelet on your wrist to have that classic look.

Chain and link – This bracelet uses a sterling silver cable chain or gold that separates the pearls with the chain hanging on your wrist. This can have different types of clasps to secure the bracelet.

Bangles – A bangle can be created by using several strands of freshwater cultured pearls either in just one color or in a variety of colors. A silver clasp whatever the design can add beauty to the bracelet.

Woven – This kind of bracelet usually features two to five rows of pearls with the strands woven into eye-catching designs and secured at the end with a clasp.

Toggle – This type of bracelet can have just all pearls or pearls mixed with other gems with a round or heart-shaped toggle clasp in the end to secure the jewelry on your wrist.

October 8, 2007

Pearl Earring Jewelry - The Best Wedding Gift

A pearl is popular for its white color hence, a very fitting symbol of purity and chastity. This is the main reason why a pearl is closely associated with marital love and happiness. In fact, the Greeks refer to the pearl as a wedding gem.

Pearl jewelry has been a top choice as a wedding gift around the world for thousands of years now. It dates back to around 1,000 B.C. in India making it one of the oldest gems in existence. India used to be among the top international pearl trade centers for more than 40 centuries and to the people there, pearls symbolize peace of mind and strength of body and soul.

The pearl's timelessness and elegance makes it a great wedding present. It is a must-have jewelry for any woman which she can always bequeath to her daughter when her own wedding day comes. A bride, in particular, gifted with pearl jewelry either from the groom, her parents, grandparents or even friends is truly loved and valued.

Among the most important jewelry worn during weddings are, of course, the real pearl earrings. Whatever their type, design and make, the pearl earrings bring focus to a bride's beauty on the day she says "I do" to her future husband. This jewelry is very affordable and you have so many varieties, shapes and colors to choose from today.

Pearl earrings are now available in so many amazing styles whether made from purely pearls or mixed with other gemstones. But knowing the basic styles will help you in your choice. First on the list are the studs normally made with a post and a lock to secure the earrings. Then there are the dangles that flow from the bottom of the ears and which come in various lengths. This can either be a stud with dangles or a French hook design which just hangs from the ears without closure. The hoop style is circular or semi-circular just like a ring. And finally, there are the threaders or ear threads which are three to five inches long. By its name alone, this type of earring is used by threading through the ear hole via its small metal bar.

Freshwater cultured pearls are the perfect choice for wedding jewelry. Japan and China are now the top producers of these gems. There are some factors, though, that you need to look into when getting quality pearl jewelry.

. Size matters and keep in mind that the bigger, the more expensive it becomes.
. Be particular about its luster and surface markings. Look for a high luster but avoid a smooth surface.
. As for shape, the rarest and the most expensive pearls are the round-shaped ones. If this is not possible, you can always choose the baroque type.
. Pick a pearl with thick nacre. Consult a jeweler if you're not sure about this as this is usually hard to determine using the naked eye.
. Color should not be a problem because apart from the classic white, pearls come in pastels too. White is perfect for the bride while peach, lavender and pink are great for the bridesmaids and best if it matches the wedding motif.

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