What does a pearl ring symbolise?
Luxurious, beautiful and elegant; pearls have been sought after for hundreds of years by the wealthy and elite, often proffered as gifts to royalty.
Throughout centuries different cultures have associated lunar activity with pearls, but more popularly, it’s the Chinese who have the strongest desire for pearls, specifically the golden variety, believing they bring good luck and prosperity. From intricate jewellery like diamond and pearl rings to depictions of pearl bearing dragons in artwork, these lustrous orbs are featured often throughout the culture.
History of the pearl
Until the advent of pearl farming in the early 1900s, all pearls were natural, found only in certain waters where a rare blend of natural factors combined. Between 1880 and 1914 Broome became known as the pearling capital of the world due to its fertile waters. But it wasn’t until 1956 when Australia’s first pearl farming operation opened 480km north of Broome in Kuri Bay. Safer practices were introduced along with innovative technologies and a greater understanding of sustainability and oyster husbandry, ultimately shaping Australia’s jewellery market by growing perfect pearls.
Aside from the obvious fact that pearls are created by oysters, clams and mussels, there are six other pearl facts you should know:
- Pearls are the official birthstone for June, symbolising clarity and purity. This makes pearl engagement rings an interesting choice, not only because of their beauty, but because pearls also symbolise loyalty, good fortune and prosperity – all very important for a long-lasting marriage.
- There are four main types of pearl:
- The freshwater pearl, the most well-known type of pearl and the lowest cost of all, is grown in large water sources across China.
- The Japanese Akoya pearl, also a variety of saltwater pearl, is found in both Japanese and Chinese waters. These pearls are known for having spherical shapes and a unique shine.
- Tahitian pearls, cultivated in the islands of French Polynesia, come in stunning variations of black, blue, green, grey and purple and are another type of saltwater pearl.
- South Sea pearls, found in the north west coastal waters of Australia and the Philippines, are the largest pearls available, coming in cream, golden and white.
- In 1BC, Julius Caesar ruled that only aristocrats were permitted to wear pearls as they were considered to be a symbol of prestige.
- The most expensive and largest pearl in the world is 26 inches long and weighs an astounding 75 pounds and is valued at a staggering $143 million AUS dollars.
What should you look for when choosing a pearl ring?
The best advice for picking a pearl is to choose the one that you absolutely love. But there are some other important aspects to take into account:
Freshwater pearls typically range from 5mm-10mm in size. However, they can be as large as 15mm. South Sea pearls have more variation in size, ranging between 9mm and 20mm. And Tahitian pearls are often between 8mm and 16mm.
The bigger the size and more perfectly spherical the shape, generally the more expensive pearls can be. However, larger doesn’t always mean more valuable. A smaller, perfectly round pearl could cost more than an oval-shaped pearl that is far bigger.
Perfectly round pearls are the rarest and are often sought after for pearl rings, but pearl enthusiasts also favour differing shapes for a variety of jewellery such as necklaces and earrings.
Pearls come in an array of colours, but this tends not to reflect on price points. Choosing a colour that complements skin tone and outfit choice is generally what matters here. If you’re choosing a pearl engagement ring it’s important to pick something timeless and elegant, something that matches your unique style.
The easiest method to judge the lustre of a pearl is to look at your reflection in it. If your face reflects back at you, it’s a quality pearl.
Even the most valuable pearls may have a few imperfections in the surface. This is simply down to the growing process within a living organism.
Where should you buy a pearl ring from?
When choosing a pearl ring it’s worthwhile conducting research as to the type of pearl you want and the purpose, whether that’s a necklace to be worn occasionally or whether it’s a pearl ring to be worn for years to come.
If it’s the latter, it’s vital to choose wisely, taking into account the size, shape, colour and lustre, as well as where the pearl is sourced.
The pristine coastal waters off northern Australia produce some of the very best pearls in the world. At The Perth Mint, South Sea Pearls exude understated luxury and are set in the most stunning pieces of jewellery, from diamond and pearl earrings to gold and pearl rings. Each piece really does symbolise purity, integrity and good fortune.
Visit The Perth Mint Shop today and discover the stunning range of pearl rings at our luxury jewellery boutique.
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