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Black Pearl Pendants...

Black pearl pendants can be as elegant as an entire strand of pearls, or equally as casual. But as with any other black pearl jewelry, they require special care. Black pearls are an extremely soft gem, and require some special care to keep them in the best condition. The following paragraphs will provide some helpful information to assist you with caring for, and cleaning them.

Besides being a soft gem, black pearls can be easily damaged by chemicals found in perfume, lemon juice, and vinegar. If at all possible, the actual pearls in a black pearl pendant should never come in constant contact with your skin for an extended period of time. The oils and chemicals in your skin can also damage your black pearls . You should always take great care to prevent your pendants from coming in constant contact with any type of chemical to help insure the quality of your black pearls. Some helpful tips to remember include:

•  Remove your necklace while applying hair spray, perfume, or make-up.

•  Remove your pendant before showering or swimming.

•  Try to avoid wearing your necklace when wearing rough fabric like wool.

When caring for your black pearl pendants, you should remember that heat is another factor that can cause damage to the black pearls. Excessive heat can actually discolor your black pearls, as well as dry them out and make them crack. This goes for dry air, as well, thus making safety deposit boxes a bad place to store your black pearl necklace . Your pendants should always be stored in a pouch of their own, and never next to other jewelry in a jewelry box.

When cleaning your black pearl pendants, you should never use a steam cleaner or basic jewelry cleaner. You should always read the label to ensure it is suitable for black pearl jewelry, and will not damage the pearls. A dry or damp cloth can also be used to wipe the pearl clean before and after wearing it. A drop of olive oil can also help maintain the luster of the black pearls in your pendants.

How Do Imitation Pearls Differ from Cultured?

Natural pearls and cultured pearls are produced in rivers, lakes, and a by living mollusks and can be very similar in appearance. Imitation pearls -- also called "faux," "stimulated," and most recently "semi-cultured" are not created by any living creature. They should not be referred to in any way as a genuine or cultured. Imitation pearls have never seen the inside of a mollusk. They are entirely artificial, made firm round glass, plastic, or shell beads dipped in a bath of ground fish scales and lacquer (called pearlessence), or one of the new plastic substances. The difference can usually be seen right away when compared side-by-side. One of the most obvious differences is in the luster. Give it the Luster Test: the cultured Pearl will have a depth of luster that the fake cannot duplicate. The fake usually has a surface "shine" but no inner "glow." Look at a fine cultured Pearl and on imitation pearl side-by-side (away from direct light) and notice the difference.

Use the "Tooth Test" to Spot the Fake

There are some fine imitations today that can be very convincing. Some have actually been mistaken for fine cultured pearls. An easy, reliable test in most cases is that "test." Run the Pearl gently along the edge of your teeth (the upper teeth are more sensitive, and also be aware that this test won't work with false teeth). The genuine Pearl will have eight mildly abrasive or gritty feel (think of the gritty feeling of sand at the seaside -- real pearls come from the sea), while the imitation will be slippery smooth (like the con artist, slippery smooth signifies a fake!). Try this test on pearls you know are genuine, and then on known imitation to get a feel for the difference. You will never forget!

The two tests may be unreliable for amateurs when applied to the imitation "Majorica" Pearl, however. Although to the trained eye they have a very different look from cultured pearls, this is an imitation pearl which might be mistaken for genuine. Close examination of the surface under magnification will reveal a fine" employee" surface that is very different from the smooth surface of a cultured or natural Pearl. An experienced jeweler or gemologist can quickly and easily identified a Majorica for you.

How Long Does It Take to Make a Beautiful "Pearl"?

In the case of natural pearls, as we mentioned, it can take many years to create a beautiful Pearl. With a cultured pearls, cultivation. -- the amount of time in nucleus remains in the mollusk after the implant procedure -- normally ranges from about two years to six months, or less. The shorter the cultivation period, the thinner the nacre; the longer the cultivation period the thicker the nacre. If the cultivation period is too short, pearls will not last. Buyers must be careful not to buy pearls with nacre that is too thin. Many inexpensive pearls sold and special promotions have such thin nacre that it is already chipped in starting to peel. Be sure to look very carefully near the drill hole by the knots for any sign of chipping. If you see this, don't buy them; then nacre will soon come off and you will have worthless shell beats, not pearls.

The link of the cultivation period is a matter of serious debate today. At one time pearls remained in the oyster for much longer periods, up to five years; in the 1920s to 1940s, the cultivation period was much longer that it is today some most cultured pearls had very thick nacre. However, surfaces were more spotted. For culture Pearl growers today, escalating production costs and ever present natural risks to the oyster crop are reducing by shortening the cultivation., as are deviations in shape and imperfections across the surface of the Pearl. Each of Pearl producer must decide how to best to balance all the factors involved so that a lovely Pearl is produced, at an affordable price, without unnecessary risk, or nacre that is too thin.

How Much of the Pearl Is Really "Pearl"?

Primary physical differences between natural and cultured pearls are related to the thickness of the actual "Pearl" substance, the nacre. The thickness of the nacre FX size, shape, beauty, and how long the Pearl will last.

While it takes several years to raise the mollusk and produce a find culture Pearl, natural pearls take many years, even for very small pearls. With natural pearls, the Pearl is an essentially all nacre, with no nucleus at its core. The process that creates the natural Pearl is usually started by a very small intruder, so the size of the Pearl is an indication of the number of years the Pearl has been in the mollusk rather then the size of an implant. Small natural pearls have normally been in the mollusk for a shorter time; larger pearls a much longer time. The Process that creates the cultured Pearl starts with a nucleus; smaller pearls have a smaller nucleus, larger pearls have a larger nucleus.