Pearl Earrings

Experience the Style and Class of Pearl Earrings

For little balls of what's basically oyster spit, pearls just seem to have a certain inherent classiness that shines through in any item of jewelry in which they're included. It's not often that you see pearls used in bright, gaudy jewelry; they're most often found in graceful necklace strings and as integral elements of pearl earrings. As such, they offer a gracious, classic look that is as ageless as it is elegant.

Most of us are aware of the origins of pearls, the one natural gemstone that can be grown quickly and deliberately. The most durable, regular, and lovely of these items, and the ones most often used in necklaces and pearl earrings, are those derived from oceanic oysters. Less desirable versions, which are sometimes used in necklaces, are found in freshwater bivalves as well. Basically, they form when a bit of irritating material (often sand, but sometimes a tiny fish) gets inside the bivalve's shell. The animal inside coats it with calcium carbonate to decrease the irritation. The coating is made up of crystals in the form of the minerals aragonite or calcite, held together by a material called conchiolin that's much like the material in fingernails or horn. The result is a multi-layered iridescent sphere that catches light in the way that only a pearl can.

Unmatched beauty

Pearls are usually white or cream-colored, though they may be pink; a few scale down through the spectrum into black. Black pearls are rare and highly valued, though ironically they are produced only when the bivalve is ill. These days, gem merchants don't leave pearl production to chance. Since not all oysters (or pearl mussels) produce pearls naturally, they infect the target oyster with an irritating core or nucleus, and keep them together with similarly infected oysters in isolated, quiet lagoons. The pearl forms in 3-6 years, just the right size for your lovely pearl earrings.

The pearl is the birthstone for June, but that doesn't mean that you can't be that "girl with the pearl earrings," to paraphrase Vermeer, even if your birthday's in December. Whoever wears them, pearl earrings convey a classic beauty, glamour, and elegance that flashier fine jewelry does not. Audrey Hepburn wore them, famously enough, so why can't you?

Lovely for the lobes

There's an old wives' tale that it's bad luck to buy earrings for yourself; according to this tradition, they should be received as gifts only. While pearl earrings do make lovely gifts, there's no reason to wait for someone to give you a pair if you want to enjoy their understated elegance. After all, when you refused to send on that crank chain letter last month, did your computer melt? No. Nor will your earlobes melt if you buy your own set of stunning pearl earrings. No jewelry is truly unlucky, though you may feel unlucky indeed if you don't have at least one pair of these earrings to call your own. Whether they take the form of lovely studs or are imbedded in a lovely gold or silver settings, you'll find that pearls will add a touch of class to your earlobes.

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