Pearls “A pearl is a hard object produced within the soft tissue (specifically the mantle) of a living shelled mollusk. Just like the shell of a mollusk, a pearl is made up of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form, which has been deposited in concentric layers. The ideal pearl is perfectly round and smooth, but many other shapes of pearls (baroque pearls) occur. The finest quality natural pearls have been highly valued as gemstones and objects of beauty for many centuries, and because of this, the word pearl has become a metaphor for something very rare, fine, admirable, and valuable. Pearls have been harvested and cultivated primarily for use in jewelry, but in the past they were also stitched onto lavish clothing.
Phuket, Pearl of the Andaman. Situated in the South of Thailand, Phuket is an island embraced by sandy beaches, clear waters and cool breezes. Its beauty is recognised internationally and has led Phuket to be known as “The Pearl of the Andaman” The combination of pearls – one of the sea’s most carefully guarded wonders – and the skills of local craftsman producing jewelry is a pride to own.
Type of Pearls
‘Artificial Pearls’ are pearls created by synthetic substances, including beads of crystal, glass or other materials that attempt to recreate the brilliance of natural pearls.
- ‘Natural Pearls’ grow when the irritant that stimulates nacre production enters the seashell by natural processes. The shell-secreting cells of the mollusk are located in the mantle of its body. When a foreign particle penetrates the mantle, the cells attach to the particle and build up concentric layers of nacre around it. Irregularly shaped pearls, called baroque pearls, are those that have grown in muscular tissue; pearls that grow adjacent to the shell are often flat on one side and are called blister pearls. The chief component of the nacre that constitutes the pearl is aragonite (CaCO3). Nacre also contains a small amount of conchiolin, a hornlike organic substance (albuminoid) that is the main constituent of the mollusk’s outer shell. Natural pearls are extremely rare. Even harder to find are those that form into highly-prized spherical forms. As a result, there are almost no new natural pearls commercially available in the world today.
- ‘Cultured pearls’ are produced on farms and are similar to natural pearls in every way – except that nature is given a ‘jump start’ when technicians surgically implant a nucleus into the oyster. This nucleus consists of a small bead and piece of mantle tissue, around which the oyster secretes layers of the crystalline substance, nacre that forms the pearl. Simulating the natural processes that create blister shells, cultured pearls can be grown into hemispherical, or ‘half-pearl’, forms. These are often combined to form a single, spherical pearl. Cultured pearls closely approximate natural pearls and differ only in that the pearl’s initial growth is initiated by man.
Phuket Pearl Factory is the true F2C (Farm to Customer) pearl company. Offering a wide selection of cultured pearl jewelry, from necklaces and earrings to pendants and full sets, expertly hand-crafted using only the finest Akoya, Mabe and South Sea pearls, at reasonable prices. They invite interested buyers to come and view the entire production process, ensuring the pearls and pearl jewelry capture the finest beauty nature has to offer.
Mr Jitti Intorncharoen, Managing Director of the Phuket Pearl Factory said “Our Company was the country’s first pearl producer using a fully integrated process. It runs two pearl farms and a factory which sorts the pearls and designs and produces the jewelry. The company plays large a part in pulling in tourist money for Phuket and serves as a learning centre for those interested in seeking knowledge about the production of pearls.”
There are a wide variety of pearls available on the market today and at Phuket Pearl Pearl Factory their pearl education will assist in guiding you in the right direction with which pearls to choose. In this article you will find exclusive information provided by Phuket Pearl Factory to give you a better idea of what’s available, and to help you better educate yourself on your pearl purchases.
Pearls are not only just beautiful accessories; they also define those who wear them. Pearls are counted as the only valuable world gem created by living organisms – they are Pearl Oysters.
Mr Jitti said “A pearl is cultured inside the shell of an oyster. A perfectly round pearl can fetch a very high price. In 1993, the company successfully cultured and harvested its first perfectly round pearl – the rarest shape for a cultured pearl – after working with several universities to carry out research on pearl cultivation.
A year later, the company changed from a family business to a manufacturer with a fully integrated production process, ranging from breeding and farming pearl oysters, to producing and designing pearl jewelry and setting up shops to sell the products.
In 2003, the company succeeded in producing a Rather Round Pearl and applied for a patent for the method used to produce the pearl. The RRP is a cross between the distinctive South Sea Pearl and the Mabe Pearl, and it has a gold-rainbow colour. In 2004 and right up until now, our company has received several awards in recognition of its business management but it is its product innovation and craftsmanship that have made the pearl industry in Phuket shine. It shows that the skills of Thai people are second to none.”
Wang Talang is a renowned pearl center. Each of their pearls, cultured, nature or fresh water are carefully selected and collected in order to uphold the fine name of Wang Talang. They supply various kinds of jewelry, souvenir and gifts including exclusive collections of mens and ladies rings, pendants, earrings, bangles, bracelets, necklaces and brooches.
Miss Benjamas Koysiripong, Managing Director of Wang Talang International Lapidary said “Our pearls can be used in jewelry and also crushed in cosmetics or paint formulations. They are valued as a gemstone and cultivated or harvested for jewelry.
At Wang Talang, we only look for good quality raw pearls such as South Sea and Akoya. These pearls need to be cultivated for about 5 years before turning into their amazing pink, white, black, or gold colour. To add more value to them, our staff will transform these pearl into beautiful accessories to meet the needs of our customers.”
Miss Benjamas also added, “Even though we have a variety of accessories and jewelry, pearls on their own are always the best seller. As for now, Phuket and pearls go together. Many tourists, from all over the world, come to this beautiful island to buy pearls. European and Japanese customers are in favour of Phuket Pearls because of their unique and beautiful designs and their luxuriousness.
Those who buy pearl accessories from Wang Talang will receive a warranty certificate in order to guarantee the quality of our products. After-sales services are provided to our customers so that we meet their expectations and they will persuade their friends to visit Phuket in the future.”
How to tell the differences between Fake Pearls and Real Pearls
by Phuket Pearls Factory
- Check the weight of the pearl. A real pearl has some heft to it and is, of course, heavier than a plastic imitation.
- Feel the surface of the pearl. If you gently rub two pearls together and feel a slight grittiness, the pearls are real. If the sensation is smooth, it’s likely the “pearls” are made of plastic.
- Check for natural flaws. All real pearls have flaws because this is a natural product; the likelihood of a real pearl having a perfect shape is next to nothing. On the other hand, a good pearl should not have too many flaws.
- Sea pearls take time to produce. Some pearl shops may try to fool buyers into paying over the odds by selling them river pearls, which take a much shorter time to produce. Also, a river pearl oyster can produce 50 pearls or more, whereas its marine cousin can produce only one at a time.
- The most difficult scam to detect is pearls made from the dust left over after real pearls are made into jewelry. Using modern technology, this dust can be molded into a “pearl” that is so like the real thing, with the right weight, luster and even colour, that it takes a professional to tell the difference.