Pearl Guide

Pearls are a gift from nature. They are created in the calm, dark depths of the sea, and for centuries, humans have treasured these small, luminous miracles.

Natural pearls

A natural pearl forms when a grain of sand or a small animal finds its way inside the mussel or oyster shell, creating an irritation. As a natural defence mechanism, the mussel or oyster coats the object in layer upon layer of a substance called nacre. Many layers later, this reaction is transformed into a fascinating pearl.

How are pearls cultivated?

Before inventing a method for cultivation, pearl divers risked their lives to retrieve precious pearls.

South Sea pearls

South Sea pearls shimmer almost like satin, with a soft gloss. South Sea pearls are famous for glowing from deep inside, as opposed to freshwater pearls, for example, which have a clearer, outer lustre.

Tahiti pearls

As the name suggests, this is a saltwater pearl that is grown in the seas around Tahiti. As much as 90 % of the world's black pearls are sourced from Tahiti.

Freshwater pearls

As the name suggests, freshwater pearls are formed in freshwater mussels.

What is a cultured pearl?

Cultured pearls are grown in mussels and oysters on pearl farms around the world.

What are baroque pearls?

Baroque pearls have an organic shape, and in the past they were often discarded in the context of exclusive jewellery. Nowadays, we have opened our eyes to the beautiful, wild, natural shapes of baroque pearls, and they have become highly coveted.

How is a pearl’s value determined?

The pearl's value depends on seven factors:

Size – the bigger, the better
Shape – the more symmetrical, the better
Color and overtone – the value of color and overtone depends on the demand 
Gloss/reflection – the more light reflected, the better
Surface quality – the fewer inclusions, the better
Mother-of-pearl quality/thickness of mother-of-pearl layer – the thicker, the better
Match – pearls that match others in a piece increase in value.

Anello Pearl necklace with Tahitian pearl. Gold 18 K

Myths about pearls

Archaeologists have found pearls in remains of 6,000-year-old dwellings. This tells us that the pearl has long been valued by humans. Ancient peoples had no logical explanation for how something so beautiful could emerge from nothing; this gave rise to the myths that have always surrounded the pearl.

Pearls in art

Pearls can be seen in many famous paintings because it has played a major role throughout history as a status symbol, steeped in legend.

What’s the best way to care for pearls?

Unlike gemstones, the pearl is not a mineral; it’s an organic product. In other words, pearls are made of a natural material, and they require care to preserve their beauty.

Pearls from Dulong

At Dulong, we love pearls. Pearls of various kinds are often included in our jewellery and collections. We incorporate pearls either as the piece's focal point or in interaction with gemstones or diamonds.