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In 1828, Captain HUGH CUMING, whose passion was the collection of seashells, anchored his boat in the lagoon of Marutea after navigating in the Tuamotus archipelago for 6 months.
Forty tons of wild pearl oysters were collected and opened. From this adventure, Captain Hugh Cuming brought back not only nacres, but also 27 000 fine pearls. He then succeeded in obtaining the official recognition by the scientific community of the Polynesian pearl oyster, the Pinctada Margaritifera.
In 1957, JEAN MARIE DOMARD, a young veterinarian, was sent to Tahiti as a nacreous lagoon populating specialist to ensure the survival of pearl oysters threatened with extinction.
He classified the lagoons of the different islands according to the importance of their production. At the top of the list were Hikueru and Takume with nacres of excellent quality.
In 1958 and 1959, he set up several pearl oyster farms to ensure their survival. Once the oysters were saved, he devoted himself to fulfilling his dream: performing the first oyster transplant in Polynesia.
Thanks to a Japanese grafter, Cheroku Muroi, who was made available by the director of Nippon Pearls Code Tokyo, Jean-Marie Domard witnessed the first successful transplants in Hikueru in 1961.
In 1968, “The Perlière Society of Manihi”, the first pearl farm, was created and in 1970, the first round pearl was produced.
Birth of a pearl
The colored pearls are naturally produced by the black-lipped oyster, the Pinctada Margaritifera (“treasure” in Latin) in the crystalline waters of the Polynesian lagoons.
During the hot season, pearl farmers select spats in their natural environment and raise them in nurseries for about two years, during which they are meticulously and thoroughly cleaned of their parasites.
At maturity, when pearl oysters reach about 10 cm, they are ready to be grafted.
A foreign body, the graft, accompanied by a nucleus (created from a freshwater bivalve from the Mississippi) is surgically inserted into the oyster.
To protect itself from this intrusion, the pearl oyster begins to create nacre around the nucleus.
Two years are necessary to obtain a minimum layer of 0.8mm of nacre; two years during which the pearl oyster is regularly cleaned and protected from parasitic intrusions.
The oyster is then ready to be harvested and the pearl is meticulously extracted.
Copyright : Philippe Bacchet
A genuine commitment to quality. We take pride in our strict pearl selection process. Handpicked one by one, only the finest pearls are selected for P.Originals jewelry.
P.Originals maintains the strictest quality grading standards. Five factors are used to assess quality:
Luster is the amount of light a pearl reflects from both its surface glow and the deep mirror-like reflection of its inner light. The better the nacre quality of the pearl, the more superior its luster.
Subtle blemishes and tiny marks are part of a pearl’s natural texture and proof of its genuine origin. These blemishes are the result of sea particles that drift into the oyster and brush against the pearl as it forms. Fewer surface imperfections denote a higher quality, more valuable pearl.
- Top Gem : Flawless pearl. Naturally perfect. Only 1% of the production
- A quality : Slight imperfections concentrated on less than 10% of the surface
- B quality : Slight imperfections up to 1/3 of the surface of the pearl
- C quality : Imperfections up to 2/3 of the surface of the pearl
- D quality : Imperfections on more than 2/3 of the surface of the pearl
Of the many shapes available, perfectly round pearls are the rarest and most valuable.
Still not being round is not an imperfection, and other shapes remains very interesting for creation purpose.
Typical shades are silver and gray but Tahitian Pearls come in an array of stunning colors.
The rarer the shade, the more valuable the pearl.
Colors we carry at P.Originals range from pure white to ebony black including all the rainbow colors in between.
While color choice is a matter of personal preference, always look for rich color, evenly distributed throughout the pearl.
Tahitian pearls range from 7 to 20mm
While size does not affect the quality of cultured pearls, it does affect the price. Large pearls are more difficult to cultivate and their rarity makes them more valuable. Pearls are measured in diameter increments of millimeters (mm)
Pearls are resilient and meant to be worn but they are also delicate and require proper care.
Pearls are organic gemstones that are vulnerable to acid, alkaline and extremes of humidity. To preserve your pearls’ radiance, avoid letting them come into contact with cosmetics, hair spray, or perfume. Always put on your jewelry as a final touch, after applying make-up and styling hair. The pearl’s luster can also be harmed by perspiration. To prevent this, before returning your pearls to the jewelry box, wipe them gently with a soft cloth.
Pearls are exceptionally cohesive and shock-resistant, but may be scratched by contact with sharp objects or other gemstones. To prevent tangles and scratches, fasten clasps and pins, then lay each item out separately in a compartmentalized jewelry box. When carrying jewelry, use a protective jewelry pouch. Leaving pearl jewelry in a security box for long periods may cause pearls to dehydrate, so enjoy them frequently.
Be careful not to dip pearl strands in water or wear them while bathing, as water can weaken the silk thread. It’s also best to avoid direct sunlight or high temperatures such as in a sauna. If pearls come into contact with substances such as vinegar, fruit juices or detergents, immediately wipe clean with a soft cloth. Following these simple guidelines should preserve your pearls for generations.
Reference : Mikimoto