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Understanding Pearl Jewellery

by Despina Mitrakas 21 Apr 2023

At Palomino Jewels we pride ourselves on designing and creating the finest horse jewellery in Australia. We love it when we are able to say a piece is entirely deigned and made by us using materials produced locally. And we can certainly say that when it comes to our Australian South Sea Pearl Jewellery.

But being patriotic isn’t the only reason we use Australian pearls in our jewellery. It is also a decision about quality.

So, what is the real difference between the different types of pearls and what really drives our decision to use some types of pearls over others? Looking at the different types of pearls will give you the reasons.

Australian South Sea Pearls

Australia produces the best pearls the world has ever seen.

Stretching from Darwin all the way around the northwest of Western Australia, pearls farms produce large lustrous pearls from Pinctada Maxima; the Australian Gold Lipped Oyster. We are only able to produce these pearls because strict regulations ensure a pristine marine environment.

The pearls are composed of layers of calcium carbonate known as nacre. The layers of nacre on Australian pearls are relatively thick compared to other pearls making them very strong and resilient.

When the layers of nacre are uniform the light reflected from the pearl will be broken up into its spectral colours giving the pearls a rosy hue. Given the strength of the material, Australian pearls are guaranteed to maintain their lustre your whole life.

Australian pearls have a natural colour and lustre. The pearls are not polished, coloured or enhanced in any way.

Palomino Jewels will always use Australian Pearls from Australian Pearl farms, not just because of their beauty but also because of the guarantee of quality. We want your Palomino Pearl jewellery to last a lifetime.

But you have to pay for this quality. Australian pearls are the most expensive pearls in the world. At Palomino we believe this price is worth paying.

Tahitian Pearls

The only time we don’t use Australian Pearls in our jewellery is when we use Tahitian Pearls. Tahitian Pearls are grown in French Polynesia under very strict environmental conditions enforced by the French Government.

Tahitian Pearls are grown in Pinctada Margaritifera, the Black Lipped Oyster, in pearl farms located around the lagoons of the Gambier and Tuamotu Archipelagos.

The pearls are not black as their name suggests. The pearls are vibrant green and blue and aubergines hues.

The layers of nacre are a lot finer than on Australian Pearls and produce a vivid iridescence. In very rare cases this produces an ‘oil on water’ effect known as peacock.

Palomino Jewels uses Tahitian Pearls in our jewellery not just because they are exceptionally beautiful but because they have natural colour and lustre and the guarantee of quality. A beautiful natural pearl from a very beautiful natural part of the world.

Like Australian Pearls, all this beauty and quality doesn’t come cheaply. But if you want your pearls to glimmer and sparkle your whole life this is the price you must pay.

Chinese Freshwater Pearls

Okay, I admit our jewellery would be a lot cheaper if we used Chinese Freshwater Pearls instead of Australian and Tahitian Pearls. But I’m not sure you would find the jewellery as desirable either.

Freshwater Pearls are grown in the large Chinese Freshwater Mussel.

The amount of lustre a pearl has is directly linked to the amount and quality of nacre covering the nucleus. Because the nucleus is kept in the oyster for a short period of time, the layers of nacre are very thin and irregular making the lustre very low or dull.

Rather leave the pearls with a low lustre, the producers cover the pearls with resin and polish them and colour them and re-shape them. There’s a fine line between Chinese Freshwater Pearls and costume jewellery.

These pearls are used in cheap costume and demi-fine jewellery. And although they are not expensive, the coating isn’t stable, and they lose their lustre.

Palomino Jewels makes the finest horse jewellery in Australia. We couldn’t say that if we used Chinese Freshwater Pearls.

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