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Tears of Mermaids: The Secret Story of Pearls

Jun 22, 2010

by Linzee McCray

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Linzee_bio_.jpgI’ve always had a thing for pearls. They’re my birthstone, for one. I wore a single, round, Japanese pearl around my neck the day I got married. I even have a dog named Pearl. So when I learned that my neighbor Stephen Bloom had written a book about pearls, I wanted to learn more.

Steve is a journalism professor at the University of Iowa and I met him in his office, lined with the books and file cabinets typical of an academic. His professorial nonchalance altered, however, as soon we started talking about pearls. His voice rose, he leaned forward in his seat, he pulled out a manila folder in which a plastic grocery bag held fake pearls, an oyster shell from Japan, a gleaming, polished pearl shell from Tahiti, and a pair of tweezers used to sort pearls. He even asked to see the strand of pearls I was wearing.

SB_bio.jpgLike me, Steve’s had a thing for pearls since childhood. He has memories of watching his dad help his mom with the clasp on her pearls as they dressed for a special occasion. A lot of us remember moments like that, but they don’t lead to a four-year, 30,000 mile journey. The history of pearls, as well as Steve’s attempt to trace a pearl from the floor of the ocean to the neck of a woman, and the characters he met along the way, is chronicled in Tears of Mermaids: The Secret Story of Pearls. I sat down with Steve to talk and share a peek of his findings with you.

Tell us a little about how pearls come into being.
Many people think that a pearl is created when a piece of sand gets into an oyster, but this isn’t true. Real pearls grow in oysters and mussels, which are incredibly adept at filtering sand out of their systems. What happens is that a tiny piece of coral or an unfortunate tiny living organism attaches itself to the meat of the oyster and, in order to protect itself from the irritation, the oyster covers the invader with layers of nacre, the smooth, luminous substance that makes up the pearl. Now this is how natural pearls are created, but it’s extremely rare to find a natural pearl.

Almost all pearls today are cultured or cultivated pearls. In oysters, they’re grown by inserting a small bead — which is made of a piece of clam shell from the Mississippi River Delta — and a piece of oyster tissue into the mollusk; in Chinese mussels there are no beads, just tissue inserted. The shells are returned to the water, turned regularly, and harvested. Oysters produce one pearl, like an egg and a yolk, while a mussel can produce as many as 60 pearls of all different shapes and colors. 

Searching_for_Chinese_Seawater_Pearls.jpg

Searching for Chinese seawater pearls

What parts of the world produce pearls?
Tahitian_Pearls_cut.jpgChina, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, French Polynesia, Australia, Mexico, and the Phillippines. Pearls from Japanese oysters made up the largest portion of the market for many years. In the 1970s, the Chinese started producing freshwater pearls in mussels, and today, 99% of freshwater pearls come from China. Most people involved in crafts use Chinese pearls. Freshwater pearls typically aren’t round, although as Chinese technology has improved, they are also producing round pearls and much larger pearls than those that could grow in Japanese oysters. Chinese pearls come in a variety of colors, and the Chinese also treat some of their pearls, using bleach or dyes.

The Philippines produce a gold pearl that is totally over-the-top magnificent. Australia produces some of the largest and loveliest pearls in the world off their northern coast. They’re not grown in hatcheries like they are in China and Japan, and harvesting them on the open sea can be dangerous work. Tahiti is known especially for its black pearls (on right). 

How do you tell if a pearl is real?
If you rub it across your teeth, a real pearl will feel slightly gritty. Pearl dealers, however, prefer to rub them together — if they’re smooth, they’re fake, while the telltale grittiness means they’re real.

Pearls_from_Chinese_freshwater_mussel.jpg

Pearls from Chinese freshwater mussels

How should you care for pearls?
Pearl_end.jpgPearls are soft, and on a scale of zero to ten, with zero being talc and ten being diamonds, pearls are a three. So the old adage is “last on, first off” — when you get dressed, you put on your clothes and make-up and put on your pearls last and take them off first when you get undressed. Pearls will collect perfume and perspiration — you can even collect DNA off pearls. So you need to wipe them off regularly and they should be moistened a couple times a year with soap and water. They’ll wither if they’re left in a box or vault. 

What do you find so special about pearls?

Pearls reflect light, they’re organic, the way they come out of the shell is pretty much the way any craftsperson or jeweler will display them. You can’t change the shape of them like you can gold, for example, which you can mold to whatever shape you want, or diamonds, which are cut and faceted. Pearls are as close to natural adornment as it gets. They have a natural luminescence — they literally light up your face when you wear them.

Pearl and Lace Necklace by nyjolejewellery

Tears_of_Mermaids_cover.jpg


No wonder we love them! You can learn more about Steve’s quest to understand the journey of pearls in his book
Tears of Mermaids: The Secret Story of Pearls, which is available at an independent bookseller or on Amazon.

A lifelong sewer/knitter and former weaver/spinner, Linzee Kull McCray, a.k.a. lkmccray, is a writer and editor living in Iowa. She feels fortunate to meet and write about people, from scientists to stitchers, who are passionate about their work. Her freelance writing appears in Quilts and More, Stitch, Fiberarts, American Patchwork and Quilting and more. For more textile musings, visit her blog.

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257 comments

  • VintageZen

    VintageZen said 6 years ago

    Love the peas in a pod! I love Pearls!

  • epicCpoke

    epicCpoke said 6 years ago

    Love it! Really nice article!

  • MoniCandles

    MoniCandles said 6 years ago

    <3 pearls!

  • BululuStudio

    BululuStudio said 6 years ago

    Great article.

  • GardenAngels

    GardenAngels said 6 years ago

    Timeless Pearls, it used to be white, big, and round were the sought after. Now, any shape, size, or color can accent one's body/fashion/style. Hooray for all shapes, sizes, and colors, we are all timeless. Great article.

  • VeraVague

    VeraVague said 6 years ago

    ahhhh, pearls. a girls best friend.

  • NaiyaArtBoutique

    NaiyaArtBoutique said 6 years ago

    I am obsessed with pearls!! they are a girl's best friend

  • bowlabeau

    bowlabeau said 6 years ago

    Very interesting article. I didn't know most of that and am glad I do now. Thanks!

  • ageratum

    ageratum said 6 years ago

    Linzee - Thank you so much for this article. Its so informative, I must save it! ;)

  • ageratum

    ageratum said 6 years ago

    Linzee - Thanks so much for this article. It's so informative, I must save it! ;)

  • bbbennyandthejet

    bbbennyandthejet said 6 years ago

    Whoa.. pearls aren't formed from sand bits!? awesome and informative post... gorgeous pictures! I'm going to put my pearls on right now...

  • candacejean

    candacejean said 6 years ago

    Neat story; my mom loves pearls and I think they are very pretty. I think it's fascinating how they are created, but I feel kinda sorry for all the little mussels and oysters.. snapped in half come harvest time.

  • NaiyaArtBoutique

    NaiyaArtBoutique said 6 years ago

    In 1917, jeweler Pierre Cartier purchased the Fifth Avenue mansion (that is now the New York Cartier store) for US$100 cash and a double strand of matched natural pearls valued at the time at US$1 million --------------------------------------Wikipedia, Value of a Natural Pearl

  • manvsgeorge

    manvsgeorge said 6 years ago

    Great, informative post! I have always preferred pearls that were not perfectly round. I love the selection of pearl items here on Etsy...could get a girl in trouble! ;-)

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 6 years ago

    so beautiful! i love the idea of wearing a single pearl necklace on your wedding day. simple and exquisite.

  • ACrookedSixpence

    ACrookedSixpence said 6 years ago

    A lovely article,I also love my pearls. I am heading to Amazon to check out Steve's book.

  • akcArt

    akcArt said 6 years ago

    Beautiful! So delicate and elegant!

  • mildajlingerie

    mildajlingerie said 6 years ago

    ..I love pearls, although only from recently...they always look a bit nostalgic and whenever I see them I hear my friend's comment: never wear pearls for the wedding - they bring tears...

  • junipa

    junipa said 6 years ago

    Beautiful photos, lovely pearls <3

  • CherokeeDreams

    CherokeeDreams said 6 years ago

    I learned something new about pearls - thank you! (didn't know I needed to moisten them once a year!!!) Great story about a lovely gem.

  • opendoorstudio

    opendoorstudio said 6 years ago

    this article is a pearl ! so much wonderful information... thank you for sharing! I will have to get my hands on Steves book!

  • Ayca

    Ayca said 6 years ago

    Great article!Thanks for sharing :)

  • KarinAllie

    KarinAllie said 6 years ago

    This article kept me glued to my computer, thank you so much for all this useful information! I never knew something as simple as a pearl had such a story behind it. =)

  • mermaidclaire

    mermaidclaire said 6 years ago

    Great story! I have a bit of a pearl obsession too (being part Filipino and part mermaid...) and have always found them magical. I look forward to checking out the book!

  • NaturalAmber

    NaturalAmber said 6 years ago

    Very useful information! Thank you!

  • SilverSistersStudio

    SilverSistersStudio said 6 years ago

    The fact that you have to kill animals to harvest them totally turns me off of pearls. I think they are gorgeous, but feel guilty thinking of wearing them.

  • ScentedLuxuries

    ScentedLuxuries said 6 years ago

    What an interesting article!

  • AMIdesigns

    AMIdesigns said 6 years ago

    Nice story! I use loads of pearls - though mainly glass - in my work and they are a big hit in all colours and shades :)

  • OrganicByNature

    OrganicByNature said 6 years ago

    what a great article! thank you so much!

  • jbeaudet

    jbeaudet said 6 years ago

    Very nice article Linzee! I absolutely love pearls and always have! How could I not? They're from the ocean! I would like to buy every choice on here(wish I could...)! :)

  • GrannyGrant

    GrannyGrant said 6 years ago

    I just started learning about pearls too and i have fallen in love with them!

  • atelierpompadour

    atelierpompadour said 6 years ago

    -Many people think that a pearl is created when a piece of sand gets into an oyster- I always believed that!! thank you Linzee!! so interesting!!

  • riricreations

    riricreations said 6 years ago

    Wow~I learn new stuff every day on etsy~thanks for the great article!

  • missbatch

    missbatch said 6 years ago

    Great article. I can't wait to read more!

  • GreenRoomStudios

    GreenRoomStudios said 6 years ago

    Beautiful article. I learned so much! I'm excited to check this book out :)

  • PamelasCloset

    PamelasCloset said 6 years ago

    I love pearls almost as much as I love the legends behind them. I grew up by the ocean and loved selecting my own oyster at those shops on the pier when I had any money and now that I am in my 50's I still get a kick out of picking out my own oyster when I visit...Last year I got an 11mm beauty, The mother lode for me. Can't wait to get my hands on Steve's book! I live on a river in Wyoming now and every once in a while my son brings a clam out of the river and I always hope there is a pearl in there. Thanks for the great article.

  • ForetTwo

    ForetTwo said 6 years ago

    I adore pearls! Great article! In my shop here, I have both natural and colored freshwater pearls. How about the color of these beauties: http://www.etsy.com/listing/41254975/red-plum-colored-freshwater-rice-pearls

  • 6catspinNsew

    6catspinNsew said 6 years ago

    Great article. I have a beautiful vintage string of pearls from a beloved aunt. I knew about the gritty test for pearls but did not know about moistening them a few times a year. Thanks for the information.

  • blueskyclouds

    blueskyclouds said 6 years ago

    My wonderful husband surprised me, out of the blue, with a gorgeous, long strand of pearls and a matching 3-strand bracelet--they were a combo of various blue/green colors--and yes--very real. I really enjoyed learning a little about the care and cleaning of them here in this article.

  • dutchpearl

    dutchpearl said 6 years ago

    You talk about freshwater pearls and feature a faux pearl brooch?

  • ByBrown

    ByBrown said 6 years ago

    Pearls, I love them! I wore them on my wedding day as well.

  • TheMerchantMariner

    TheMerchantMariner said 6 years ago

    Lovely article!

  • JustBakin

    JustBakin said 6 years ago

    I love pearls!

  • allaboutbabypages

    allaboutbabypages said 6 years ago

    Thanks for the interesting article and I will probably check out the book by Stephen Bloom. I never got over losing my mother's pearl ring! I feel terrible

  • busterandboo

    busterandboo said 6 years ago

    Love pearls. :)

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie said 6 years ago

    Linzee, thank you for such an interesting article!

  • AnnTig

    AnnTig said 6 years ago

    Great article. We love to design AnnTig jewelry with freshwater pearls!

  • BlackStar

    BlackStar said 6 years ago

    Great article! I love working with pearls.

  • pinkdiamonddesign

    pinkdiamonddesign said 6 years ago

    I love pearls, this was a very interesting article <3

  • mucar

    mucar said 6 years ago

    superrrrrrrrrr.

  • BeaumontStudio

    BeaumontStudio said 6 years ago

    This is such a great article that debunked a myth about the natural formation of pearls which I long held as fact. Thanks! The book sounds great

  • AntiqueWings

    AntiqueWings said 6 years ago

    What a lovely article. I have a large strand of baroque pearls that I need restringing but I don't know where to go too, yet I wear them anyway.

  • blackandwhitejewels

    blackandwhitejewels said 6 years ago

    Awesome article!! I love pearls more than anything! I can't wait to get my hands on Steve's book!! :)

  • pileofstones

    pileofstones said 6 years ago

    Fascinating article, great Etsy picks. Thanks for sharing both. The book is next on my wish list! Who can resist pearls?

  • jewelboxballerina

    jewelboxballerina said 6 years ago

    Thank you for the great article! The Southsea Pearls here in the Philippines are really gorgeous. Whenever my aunt from the States visits here in the Philippines, we would usually take her to this mall/flea market where she can get the pearls as presents to her friends. Though I create flamboyant jewelry with wire, my favorite is still the simple baroque earrings my mom gave me. Pearls, being luminous really help brighten the face.

  • PorsbyDesign

    PorsbyDesign said 6 years ago

    Beautiful! I love working with pearls.

  • frogprincessdesigns

    frogprincessdesigns said 6 years ago

    What a great article on a lovely subject! I love pearls, they are natural and beautiful just as they are.

  • NGjewelry

    NGjewelry said 6 years ago

    loved to read this article and learn more about pearls! thank you for sharing!

  • VintageStarrBeads

    VintageStarrBeads said 6 years ago

    Love pearls.. I love seeing them, selling them touching them, collecting them! In my vintage store i have many faux types and some cultured and in my design store(Starrbeads) I use only freshwater pearls because of their organic unuusual shapes! I will look for the book!-Rachelle Starr

  • ladnamedfelix

    ladnamedfelix said 6 years ago

    Really well-written blog, and thank you for the book recommendation! Pearls are so "in" right now, and this will help so many Etsyians in their listings! Thanks!

  • VintageStarrBeads

    VintageStarrBeads said 6 years ago

    I Forgot!! TUULAGEMS photo is exquisite!

  • TeenahTime

    TeenahTime said 6 years ago

    thank you

  • leewen

    leewen said 6 years ago

    Love pearls! Thanks for sharing the article and book information.

  • DesertHippie642

    DesertHippie642 said 6 years ago

    Wonderful article and beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it with everyone.

  • thelittlemarket

    thelittlemarket said 6 years ago

    Love pearls, they have a very classic & vintage look. Great article...Thanks!

  • obtp

    obtp said 6 years ago

    Great article!! Pearls have always been a favorite of mine. My Grandmother never left the house without a pearl necklace and pearl earrings on. They are also mybirthstone!

  • lorenabr

    lorenabr said 6 years ago

    Love the article and pearls are just great. :)

  • HorrorisAllure

    HorrorisAllure said 6 years ago

    I found this article very helpful hence I have a delicate pearl Necklace that my grandmother handed down to me... They were purchased in Germany they look so uniquely vintage with a yellowish tint to them ... Can pearls discolor ? :) I absolutely adore PEARLS mmmm zzzz .

  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions said 6 years ago

    Great article!! Beautiful stuff!!

  • cleobelle

    cleobelle said 6 years ago

    cool article! LOVE pearls so much.

  • Foxgloves

    Foxgloves said 6 years ago

    Pearls... *swoon*

  • somethingjeweled

    somethingjeweled said 6 years ago

    Wonderful article!! Thanks for including my earrings in 'related items' :)

  • Tarapparel

    Tarapparel said 6 years ago

    very informative and interesting article!

  • voleurdebijoux

    voleurdebijoux said 6 years ago

    i adore pearls!! lovelovelove

  • ItsBella

    ItsBella said 6 years ago

    so so beautiful. in college i wrote a paper on the history of pearl diving in japan.... really inspiring female divers.

  • minnabean

    minnabean said 6 years ago

    thanks so much for this article!! I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE pearls!

  • shizendesigns

    shizendesigns said 6 years ago

    I love pearls!

  • MomsantiquesNthings

    MomsantiquesNthings said 6 years ago

    Amazing article!!! LOVE THOSE PEARLS!!

  • TraceyAnns

    TraceyAnns said 6 years ago

    Love this! Now I have to list more vintage pearl items in shop!!

  • loveliette

    loveliette said 6 years ago

    that is really neat, thanks for sharing! my engagement ring has a pearl in the center (nope, i don't wear it all the time) and it happens to be my husband's birthstone (he didn't know that). pearls are very special to me too. :)

  • bylynnkrestel

    bylynnkrestel said 6 years ago

    lovely article - and informative... i love all colors of pearls, but esp the strand of creamy white that husband purchased for me!!

  • cridesigns

    cridesigns said 6 years ago

    What a timely and wonderful article! Pearl is my birthstone as well! I love them so much and just hours ago posted on my blog my plans for adding more beautiful pearl jewelry to the shop. Talk about timing.:o) Smiles.....

  • VeronicaRStudio

    VeronicaRStudio said 6 years ago

    Lovely article. Pearls are my birthstone as well, and I adore them. I have about 15 pearl necklaces that I wear often. I also love how glowy and feminine pearls are, you never see guys wearing them.

  • cadreams

    cadreams said 6 years ago

    Great article! Love pearls!

  • StringsnTings

    StringsnTings said 6 years ago

    Love this! The 3 peas in a pod necklace is stunning!

  • GoodGriefGlass

    GoodGriefGlass said 6 years ago

    Beautiful! Thank you.

  • miznovember

    miznovember said 6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing. This is so interesting. There is something captivating about pearls, for sure. Those black ones are stunning.

  • MoonriseStudio

    MoonriseStudio said 6 years ago

    Fantastic article, pearls are favorites of mine. :)

  • MarilyndaGallery

    MarilyndaGallery said 6 years ago

    The idea that pearls are mermaids" tears is so intriguing-and why are the mermaids crying? Even so, I do love pearls-hope someday to own a set of real pearls.

  • TeroldegoAndTomatoes

    TeroldegoAndTomatoes said 6 years ago

    I think I need to pick up this book! Thanks for the article!

  • marebear

    marebear said 6 years ago

    anyone heard of "Icon Pearls", yet?

  • pixestreasurechest

    pixestreasurechest said 6 years ago

    I have to check this book out...it sounds fascinating! I've loved pearls every since my Mom gave me my first pair when I was 16! I think every gal should own some...I even wear them with my knock around clothes!

  • greengirlieusa

    greengirlieusa said 6 years ago

    Wow! How interesting.

  • hamatova

    hamatova said 6 years ago

    Great article!!! I Love pearls

  • chrdesigns

    chrdesigns said 6 years ago

    I enjoyed the article even before I scrolled down and saw my earrings being featured--thank you so much! I love pearls!

  • Asianexpressions

    Asianexpressions said 6 years ago

    Pearls are June's birth stone. I love pearls!

  • Asianexpressions

    Asianexpressions said 6 years ago

    Pearls are June's birth stone. I love pearls!

  • vintagemimosette

    vintagemimosette said 6 years ago

    This has to be one of my favorite blog posts yet,riveting, very well written. I must say that , although my shop is full of more classic vintage, I myself am drawn to the baroque pearls......the larger, the better... AND I SHALL NEVER CLUTCH MY PEARLS IN SHOCK!

  • cocorosecouture

    cocorosecouture said 6 years ago

    fascinating loved this post!

  • yoshibearstudio

    yoshibearstudio said 6 years ago

    I got goosebumps as soon as I saw those pink pearls on the front page... BEAUTIFUL! And one of my favorite materials to work with because no two are the same but equally as beautiful!!!

  • LetLooseJewelry

    LetLooseJewelry said 6 years ago

    Thanks you-so interesting! I love learning more about the materials I use- and I use a LOT of pearls:)

  • inkOBSESSIONdesigns

    inkOBSESSIONdesigns said 6 years ago

    Very interesting!

  • craftpile

    craftpile said 6 years ago

    Wonderful article....thank you for sharing!

  • BlueRibbonJewelry

    BlueRibbonJewelry said 6 years ago

    I think people love pearls so much that it spills over to the faux version too. I found two extremely long strands at a vintage store last year that cost me $25.00 for both and I felt like I died and went to heaven so don't dismiss them. I have tons of vintage costume jewelry that are loaded with faux pearls and I love them as much as the strand that cost me 15K!

  • feesk

    feesk said 6 years ago

    I love the fact that pearls are not only beautiful and luminous, but also organic! I've used them in a couple of my sandal designs- in fact one of my designs is "called" wedding pearl! http://www.etsy.com/listing/29779582/the-wedding-pearl

  • ARTBEADING1

    ARTBEADING1 said 6 years ago

    A VERY interesting story of pearls, and I learned some reading your blog. The longer I bead, the more I use these beads of the ocean. THANKS YOUR work is beautiful!!!

  • sharonperisho

    sharonperisho said 6 years ago

    Nice article and so informative. I love pearls and agree how beautiful they look for either casual or dress up. Pearls make me feel close to the sea when I wear them which is my favorite place to be.

  • strut

    strut said 6 years ago

    Super article! I love working with pearls and now will have even more info to share with my clients about them :) Thanks!

  • SaviGart

    SaviGart said 6 years ago

    very informative...thanks for sharing it with us :)

  • nickandnessies

    nickandnessies said 6 years ago

    Wow, such beautiful pearls. I had no idea that pearls needed special care - good to know!

  • H2OCouture

    H2OCouture said 6 years ago

    Pearls so Classy and Elegant! Love the sory

  • H2OCouture

    H2OCouture said 6 years ago

    oops LOVE the story!

  • DIVINEsweetness

    DIVINEsweetness said 6 years ago

    pearls will forever be classics! here in the Philippines, pearls are exquisite and of excellent quality!! the champagne colored pearls are my faves! thanks for this article

  • ClearCrickCottage

    ClearCrickCottage said 6 years ago

    By far my favorite Etsy Storque Blog to date. Applause applause. Thank you Linzee!

  • 310jewelry

    310jewelry said 6 years ago

    Makes pearls even more mystic to hear of their creation! I love this article!!! Almost feel bad for the poor oysters, though... how annoying that must feel!

  • trinketsandbeaus

    trinketsandbeaus said 6 years ago

    Oooooooooo I love pearls tooooo. Thank you for the great article. There is nothing like a gorgeous pearl.

  • reflectionsjewelry

    reflectionsjewelry said 6 years ago

    What a beautiful article! It makes me think of the stories behind the pearls that I use!

  • SchickiMickis

    SchickiMickis said 6 years ago

    Wonderful article and information! Pearls are nature at it best :) thank you for featuring my kinetic necklace!

  • loriyab

    loriyab said 6 years ago

    I luv pearls!! Great article.

  • byae

    byae said 6 years ago

    Fantastic article, didn't use to like pearls until 5 years ago now i am in love!

  • ldh13

    ldh13 said 6 years ago

    Love pearls! If anyone is looking for pearl jewelry, check out my shop! http://www.etsy.com/shop/ldh13

  • 1920

    1920 said 6 years ago

    love the story! pearl is my best friend.

  • julieboyles

    julieboyles said 6 years ago

    That is fascinating! Thanks for the informative article!

  • kimiko611

    kimiko611 said 6 years ago

    I must admit, I've never read an article on the Storque. Never even been interested. But there was something about this article that struck my fancy and I'm glad I read it. Very interesting and enlightening! Well done!

  • christianesutherland

    christianesutherland said 6 years ago

    I love pearls, so classy, so chic, makes us fancy and feminine... The only time I saw a man using a pearl was Sean Conery in a earring, but I don't remember the name of the movie... thank you for writing this article!

  • beyondtherockz

    beyondtherockz said 6 years ago

    Ah pearls ... ... A beauty cultivated!

  • BingoBox

    BingoBox said 6 years ago

    Another great article Linzee - thanks for the Pearls of wisdom.

  • Serrelynda

    Serrelynda said 6 years ago

    Truly some interesting information, thank you so much. I especially love the black pearls that Tahiti is known for.

  • ShimmeringSky

    ShimmeringSky said 6 years ago

    Fascinating article! I've always loved the understated elegance of pearls, but now I have a new respect and understanding of them and their many varieties. Tears of Mermaids is now on my Amazon wish list. Thank you!

  • scarletbegonia11

    scarletbegonia11 said 6 years ago

    Very interesting, i just recently made a necklace with a freshwater pearl and had no idea how they came into this world. Fascinating information! http://www.etsy.com/listing/46360561/freshwater-pearl-crystal-bullet-pendant

  • SilvermintSupplies

    SilvermintSupplies said 6 years ago

    Very interesting, I never was really into pearls much, but I am now able to appreciate it thanx to you =)

  • eternalprincess

    eternalprincess said 6 years ago

    love pearls. check out my shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/eternalprincess

  • sweetbabylove

    sweetbabylove said 6 years ago

    thanks for sharing this with us! very interesting article- how fun!

  • designbycassandra

    designbycassandra said 6 years ago

    What a great article. I learned something new today. Thanks so much! :)

  • nyjolejewellery

    nyjolejewellery said 6 years ago

    What a wonderful Article, thanks for including my White lace Necklace. What can I say about Pearls.....that they are my most favorite of all things gorgeous to work with. Once I discovered them, I have not left them alone. I think if they stopped culturing pearls I would just stop making wonderful wedding jewelry!!!! I would be very sad and wouldn't know what to do. Pearls complete my designs! Ok I will be quite now!!!!

  • BonTons

    BonTons said 6 years ago

    Lovely pearls, interesting read

  • dspdavey

    dspdavey said 6 years ago

    Oh wow, who could resist pearls? So beautiful!

  • SuziQsCreations

    SuziQsCreations said 6 years ago

    Like someone before me said, I think they're very pretty... but it makes me really sad that the oysters/mussels die... I heard once that certain kinds of pearls do not require the little sea creatures that make them to die... but I don't know if that's true and if so, I don't know which kind! Anyway, I'm not sure I could ever own my own string of pearls--I think they'd make me sad-- but I do have a gold ring with two black pearls on it. My mum died when I was really little, and on my 16th birthday, my dad gave me that ring... it was the first ring he ever gave her, when they were in high school (they were both born in June, too!). My mum's fingers were a size or two smaller than mine, so I don't really wear it anyway... but I must admit it looks lovely in its place on my ring holder :)

  • surfandsand

    surfandsand said 6 years ago

    Great article!

  • somsstudiosupplies

    somsstudiosupplies said 6 years ago

    Fantastic article. I love pearls! They do light up the face beautifully because of their natural luminescence. In fact all of my best selling bridal jewelry is made with pearls. I think, even modern brides prefer pearls. Pearls are also the greatest gift because they are timeless. Any woman can wear a string of pearls at any age and still look classic. I have this string of pearls that I knotted myself. Its slightly baroque in shape and is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry.

  • RoseoftheMire

    RoseoftheMire said 6 years ago

    pearls rock the house!

  • Jessina

    Jessina said 6 years ago

    such interesting post! i didn't know much about pearl and origin it, but now i know how to tell if the pearls are read or not!

  • EllenKatherine

    EllenKatherine said 6 years ago

    fascinating! thanks for the great article! now I know how to take care of my pearls a little bit better...

  • swakdesigns

    swakdesigns said 6 years ago

    Great article! Pearls are a favorite of mine too--they are fabulous!

  • nyjolejewellery

    nyjolejewellery said 6 years ago

    It is my birthday today. I love pearls and it's my birthstone, no wonder I love them so much!

  • nowonder

    nowonder said 6 years ago

    Great article! Im very much into pearls lately!

  • HelenesDreams

    HelenesDreams said 6 years ago

    Fantastic article..thanks!

  • postscripted

    postscripted said 6 years ago

    I absolutely love how pearls illuminate the face! What a great point that they are such an organic, unchanged adornment, I hadn't realized it before and I love that!

  • Lynnaddison

    Lynnaddison said 6 years ago

    What a lovely article. I have always loved them..and always will. They are so special. As was your teaching us even more about them. Thanks!

  • ayawedding

    ayawedding said 6 years ago

    amazing share for pearls

  • HandmadeHandsome

    HandmadeHandsome said 6 years ago

    That's very interesting. I love pearls and wear one every day.

  • GlassElephant

    GlassElephant said 6 years ago

    What a great article! Thanks for sharing. I recently developed a thing for pearls. I was excited to learn more about them. I will defiantly have to bookmark this and look for the book.

  • trinlayk

    trinlayk said 6 years ago

    I have an Aunt Pearl! but I also have the pearls my dad gave my mom in the 1960s. I should wear them more.

  • realfaery

    realfaery said 6 years ago

    Linzee, this article is awesome, truly, one of the best I read recently on the Storque! Hope to read more from you!

  • MariesCorner

    MariesCorner said 6 years ago

    what a great article! thank you so much!

  • barefootbeadshawaii

    barefootbeadshawaii said 6 years ago

    I love this article. I am a pearl fanatic, my obsession is Tahitian Black Pearls. I can't get enough of them...

  • mnhince

    mnhince said 6 years ago

    Gorgeous picks! I love the pearl and lace necklace - simply stunning.

  • littlemoandfriends

    littlemoandfriends said 6 years ago

    beautiful article, I love pearls too..I wore them when I got married..just a simple pearl earring and bracelet. I adore the pearl and lace necklace! Nyjole's jewellery is exquisite!

  • imeldasutil

    imeldasutil said 6 years ago

    Really interesting... Thanks!

  • meluseena

    meluseena said 6 years ago

    I've had a pearl obsession for a long while now! Pearls and cameos :D

  • davisdesignsau

    davisdesignsau said 6 years ago

    Good to share this knowledge with others, helps them care for their jewels. Sounds like a good read!!

  • gardenleafdesign

    gardenleafdesign said 6 years ago

    Love the article! and....i LOVE pearls!

  • marbled

    marbled said 6 years ago

    Love it! Really nice article!

  • yeganeart

    yeganeart said 6 years ago

    I was always very noble pearl...

  • matouenpeluche

    matouenpeluche said 6 years ago

    Super fabulous sneak peek at his book! Looking at those wonderous photos reminded me of how much I adore pearls! Thank you!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 6 years ago

    I love pearls they're beautiful for some reason I never thought about where they come from!

  • TattooDreams

    TattooDreams said 6 years ago

    Great story! As someone who loves pearls, I learned more about them and appreciate them even more now! Thank you!

  • AmyMadden

    AmyMadden said 6 years ago

    Fascinating! Can't wait to read the book!

  • themefragrance

    themefragrance said 6 years ago

    http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c0bad8138f76d914e004e80/aqua-pearl-wedding-sea-charm A treasury for some of the pearl creations and creators on Etsy. We love Pearls. Informative article. Enjoy

  • asundrynotion

    asundrynotion said 6 years ago

    Excellent feature & tips! Instantly I appreciate so much more the double strand of antique natural pearls my grandmother gave me long ago. Heading straight to wipe them down, per advice.

  • ABoxForMyTreasure

    ABoxForMyTreasure said 6 years ago

    It's my birthstone too and I love the elegance of pearls - thanks for this very informative article.

  • melodieperfumes

    melodieperfumes said 6 years ago

    Pearls are classic, and there are so many colors available! Wonderful article

  • MsPremiseConclusion

    MsPremiseConclusion said 6 years ago

    Wonderful article! Fabulous pearls! What eye candy. The ones you've found that are irregularly shaped are just so fantastic.

  • annaaizic

    annaaizic said 6 years ago

    Thanks for this great article! Pearls are the classics , and just like diamonds, pearls are forever:-) Thanks Anna

  • SusanKJewelry

    SusanKJewelry said 6 years ago

    what a wonderful post! I too love pearls and are drawn to them. I include or offer them with many designs that I sell. Thanks for your insights.

  • BeadsnResin

    BeadsnResin said 6 years ago

    Thanks for that info, I just love pearls!

  • BeadsnResin

    BeadsnResin said 6 years ago

    Thanks for that info, I love pearls!

  • ANursingReminder

    ANursingReminder said 6 years ago

    This was so fascinating! I can't wait to read the book!!!

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 6 years ago

    Wonderful article on pearls! I may have to pick up his book!

  • designlab443

    designlab443 said 6 years ago

    neat info, thank you!

  • polkadotmagpie

    polkadotmagpie said 6 years ago

    The book sounds fascinating...must get it. How lucky to have such an interesting neighbor.

  • jennyhoople

    jennyhoople said 6 years ago

    Cool! I read this book and loved it, and then wrote a review of it on my blog...Stephen found my blog and commented! It's like having a signed copy of the book, only I have a signed blog post ;) I highly recommend it, excellent read and fascinating!! (and important to know about for anyone using or buying pearls!)

  • DanaCastle

    DanaCastle said 6 years ago

    Great story - I'm going to have to check out the book! I'm also going to have to moisten the 1 pearl necklace I own when I get home tonight, because I didn't realize you were supposed to do that once a year! I don't want it to wither...

  • cottonbirddesigns

    cottonbirddesigns said 6 years ago

    Great article!

  • pinkphile

    pinkphile said 6 years ago

    great article! thank you =)

  • contempojewels

    contempojewels said 6 years ago

    Love pearls... thanks for the story!

  • turskaj

    turskaj said 6 years ago

    Great:) Now I can afford only for a plasic pearls, but im sure it will change :)

  • vonderschonenrapunze

    vonderschonenrapunze said 6 years ago

    love, love, love pearls. it's nice to know i'm not the only one!

  • laughingrat

    laughingrat said 6 years ago

    Great read and lots of cool new info (to me :)). Love the pics, too!

  • MieleMelograno

    MieleMelograno said 6 years ago

    Totally obsessed with pearls here especially saltwater pearls. The nacre is so much more iridescent!

  • 12anglesart

    12anglesart said 6 years ago

    Great article !

  • unepromesse

    unepromesse said 6 years ago

    Pearls are one of my favorite things to use/wear. Thanks for the great article! I loved reading it.

  • littlebugjewelry

    littlebugjewelry said 6 years ago

    Oh! Pretty finds :-)

  • thebeachcomber631

    thebeachcomber631 said 6 years ago

    Pearls are so elegant and timeless! Great article!

  • KIMMSMITH

    KIMMSMITH said 6 years ago

    A very interesting read and gorgeous picks too!

  • 2TrickPony

    2TrickPony said 6 years ago

    the book sounds like a fantastic read.

  • SpareBedroomStudio

    SpareBedroomStudio said 6 years ago

    Pearls are just pure heaven! Incredibly interesting piece!

  • LIDOSkincare

    LIDOSkincare said 6 years ago

    Pearls are soo beautiful. I feel so elegant when I wear mine

  • BeadedTreasurebySue

    BeadedTreasurebySue said 6 years ago

    Pearls are a girl's best friend!

  • OriginalsByLynnette

    OriginalsByLynnette said 6 years ago

    I've always loved pearls, too. There's so much dimension to them, so shimmering and elegant. I guess I'm lucky it's my birthstone as well. Great article, thanks.

  • TheNightjar

    TheNightjar said 6 years ago

    how fascinating! and a big oops too I have to take mine out of that vault!

  • Tiffabulous

    Tiffabulous said 6 years ago

    Ooh I love pearls! They are so elegant.

  • Rioch

    Rioch said 6 years ago

    Wonderful article! Pearl is also my birthstone and I have yet to find something that really captures me as a person and doesn't give the 'old lady' look that a lot of pearls do. So seeing your suggested items is just fascinating to see how people steer away from that 'Marge Simpson' look. Thanks!

  • interdom

    interdom said 6 years ago

    Colored pearls are exceptionally beautiful! I still have some in my shop too.

  • ohdanger

    ohdanger said 6 years ago

    Pearls ARE beautiful but I prefer the synthetic version.

  • beadgoddess61

    beadgoddess61 said 6 years ago

    Fascinating, I always wondered how pearls were made. Learned something new today!

  • LibertyImages

    LibertyImages said 6 years ago

    What a fantastic article! I adore pearls, and even have 2 pearl necklaces, both from maternal great-grandmothers. Pearls are beautiful, timeless, and flattering to everyone. Those Tahitian pearls are beauties for sure, too.

  • madcatpearls

    madcatpearls said 6 years ago

    An article dear to my heart. I have met many of the people in Stephen's book and they are a wealth of information that continue to fuel my passion.

  • madcatpearls

    madcatpearls said 6 years ago

    An article dear to my heart. I have met many of the 'charachters' in Stephen's book and they are all wonderful souls that teach me more and more about pearls each day.

  • Lawlessfairy

    Lawlessfairy said 6 years ago

    Pearls, pearls , pearls... They are gorgeous and so innocent.

  • RoyalPaper

    RoyalPaper said 6 years ago

    Such a great and fun read, learned so much about pearls!

  • HourGlassStudio

    HourGlassStudio said 6 years ago

    Very cool article....I love PEARLS aswell :)

  • FloweryDeer

    FloweryDeer said 6 years ago

    I love love love pearls too!

  • PureaAccessory

    PureaAccessory said 6 years ago

    I love irregular shapes and color of freshwater pearls! They are unique and one of a kind. I sell more pearl jewelry in Japan than in the U.S.

  • jewellerytreasures

    jewellerytreasures said 6 years ago

    fascinating article I have just started to make and design my jewellery products and I already have a liking for pearls so this article was really interesting

  • stephaniesoderborg

    stephaniesoderborg said 6 years ago

    love knowing more about where my pearls come from! I use lots of freshwater pearls, and I live in Thailand... so I'm guessing my supplies are from China

  • barrofsoap

    barrofsoap said 6 years ago

    totally enjoyed the article:)

  • carlossantiago

    carlossantiago said 6 years ago

    GORGEOUS!! I wish I could embellish one of my pillows with some pearls!

  • thedoghouse

    thedoghouse said 6 years ago

    It's a shame that living creatures must be killed in order for pearls to be harvested - this, to me, mars their beauty.

  • KimBalee9

    KimBalee9 said 6 years ago

    Very interesting article! How lovely the pearls.

  • poplovedesigns

    poplovedesigns said 6 years ago

    Wonderful article, and the book looks very interesting, I'll have to keep an eye out for it! <3 Andrea

  • kidmarket

    kidmarket said 6 years ago

    Thank you for the article. I love pearls!

  • FrenchKnot2U

    FrenchKnot2U said 6 years ago

    It is great to see all the folks out there that love pearls-they were such a traditional piece of jewelry in my upbringing and I always felt others would view them as old fashioned when I wore them out-but how can anything so beautiful and so lustrous ever go out of fashion. Thanks for the book recommendation-can't wait to learn more. Thank you.

  • MyHappyThings

    MyHappyThings said 6 years ago

    I love how they're so simply beautiful & stunning alone, but also lend themselves to complement so many other textures. You can include them in all kinds of pieces and they always accent and complement! Thank you for the wonderful article!

  • ElizaWestArt

    ElizaWestArt said 6 years ago

    Beautiful.... I'm off to rub my pearls.

  • LoveHonorUpcycle

    LoveHonorUpcycle said 6 years ago

    Lovely article. I've always loved pearls and when you said it's the most "natural adornment" I think that answers why. I now see pearls as unaltered, fabulous beauty that reflects light and lovliness on anyone who wears them!

  • WarrioressRising

    WarrioressRising said 6 years ago

    Pearls are a favorite of mine. My daughter sent me pearls from Qatar when she was stationed there with the Air Force. Black pearls. I had never seen any. They're so beautiful. These are a deep rich purple black. I've since taken up the study of pearls along with gemstones, to learn how to incorporate them into my jewelry making style. I'd love to grow a pearl, that would be a blast, but I'm sure it's an extremely involved process. Tears of Mermaids is on my shopping list.

  • RomanceCatsAndWhimsy

    RomanceCatsAndWhimsy said 6 years ago

    What an interesting article - love the finds too. Pearls are so beautiful.

  • chaseylacey

    chaseylacey said 6 years ago

    Wonderful article! It's enjoyable and very informative. "Tears of Mermaids" is going to make a perfect gift for a good friend of mine who LOVES pearls! :)

  • lilew

    lilew said 6 years ago

    Pearls are magical, lovely article and treasures.

  • earthnskystudio

    earthnskystudio said 6 years ago

    Pearls are so beautiful and feminine. Loved this article. Thanks!

  • SterlingRosesDesign

    SterlingRosesDesign said 6 years ago

    Wonderful article! And thank you soooo much for featuring my Luxe pearl necklace! :) xoxo mimi

  • newhopebeading

    newhopebeading said 6 years ago

    Love me some pearls! Keishi are my favorite! Great article :)

  • mwenyacollings

    mwenyacollings said 6 years ago

    i made this necklace for a bride...used Swarosvki beads , clear beading string and a lobster clasp...very beautiful

  • GrannyGrant

    GrannyGrant said 6 years ago

    Pearls are the prettiest creation! Always a work of art!

  • panagar4

    panagar4 said 6 years ago

    I just wanted to say that I too have a great love of pearls, and I read your blog with appreciation for what was said. I also found the information to be quite interesting.

  • Mirael

    Mirael said 6 years ago

    Really interesting!

  • ilikeitiloveit

    ilikeitiloveit said 6 years ago

    Wonderful! I learn things I did not know about pearls. I am going to look into buying Tears Of Mermaids to learn more. The pearl is also my birth stone. Whether or not that is what caused of my love for pearls I do not know. Everyone should own at least on strand of pearls even if it is not their birth stone. Classy statement.

  • Unintentional

    Unintentional said 6 years ago

    Very interesting article. I didn't know that natural pearls were so rare.

  • kittybblove

    kittybblove said 5 years ago

    I loved reading this article- cleared up the misconception of the sand I definitely had and shed some light on my birthstone. What is it that makes the mussels and oysters produce different colored pearls- now i'm intrigued! And the point of how they are natural and luminous makes me even prouder to have such a unique birthstone. Thanks for the article & interview <3 !

  • ginacrg

    ginacrg said 5 years ago

    This is so interesting. I am going to go in search of the book. I could feel Steve's excitement & love of pearls in his candor. I have always thought pearls were a jewel for ladies, thanks for this read. Thank you for the information & a new perspective on the jewel of a lady!

  • mothrasue

    mothrasue said 5 years ago

    I know I am in the minority here.. but... Synthetic pearls are so much nicer looking and cruelty free. Mollusks are living creatures... Factory farming in all its forms (including pearl "cultivation") is so violent, selfish, and such an ugly and wasteful enterprise. I vote for synthetic pearls! :)

  • aktie9

    aktie9 said 5 years ago

    I agree, Mothrasue. Plus.. can you imagine the 'smell' of that photo of all the people looking for pearls? Yuck! We need the mollusks in the water doing their job cleaning it up--every creature on the planet is here for a reason. We need to stop being so invasive to planet earth.

  • ScrapHappyLyrebird

    ScrapHappyLyrebird said 5 years ago

    Poor oysters :( Pearls are pretty but it's not worth killing an animal for me.

  • ikabags

    ikabags said 5 years ago

    Beautiful!

  • jennyhoople

    jennyhoople said 5 years ago

    I absolutely adored this book! Wonderful mix of science, adventure, everything! The author's great :) He even commented on the book review I wrote of it on my blog! I read it while I was on vacation in Mexico away from my beads. That was the only mistake. Reading about those wonderful, bumpy baroque pearls and not being able to see and touch any! :D

  • jennyhoople

    jennyhoople said 5 years ago

    (I respect the comment from the person arguing for cruelty free synthetic pearls, and I understand it in some ways, but I'd like to point out that synthetic pearls aren't really cruelty free if you look at the big picture. The manufacturing processes/transport/etc that almost any industrial material has to go through to get into your hands is harming some creature somewhere in some way. I think the fact that freshwater pearls can be farmed in waters that are polluted with agricultural runoff, actually thrive in it, is an interesting part of the equation. Think of the cruelty involved with creating a salad. Even an organic, local, CSA salad can include cruelty. I work on a farm and we've had to kill plenty of aphids and gophers and woodchucks and raccoons to protect the organic, local veggies that we provide people with. Life sucks and life is awesome. It's like that for all of us, not just for the oysters.)

  • GemworksBeth

    GemworksBeth said 5 years ago

    The Pearl is also my Birthstone. Love the article and the story of the Pearl! Thank you!

  • veggieshaveaheart

    veggieshaveaheart said 5 years ago

    Nice article and photos, but harvesting pearls is cruel. It's not worth it to kill an animal just to have something to hang around your neck when there are so many other alternatives to that kind of beauty.

  • Chriscreations2

    Chriscreations2 said 4 years ago

    I love pearls. They are a simple thing, but strung together they can be so elegant! I remember both my Mom and Grandmother wearing a simple strand of pearls. They always looked so pretty. Your article was very interesting. Thank you for sharing it.

  • ximafaeryx

    Chloe Henderson from ChloeHenderson9 said 1 year ago

    This was fascinating! Very much buying that book. Would love to add some of the historical information of pearls to my MerGems listings :)

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