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Article: All About Pearls: Symbolism, Cleaning + Care Tips, + Styling the Queen of All Gems

All About Pearls: Symbolism, Cleaning + Care Tips, + Styling the Queen of All Gems

In the world of jewelry, few gems captivate with the same timeless allure as pearls. Renowned for their natural beauty and classic elegance, pearls have adorned queens, celebrities, and fashionistas throughout history. Let's delve into the enchanting world of pearls and discover the irresistible charm they bring to exquisite pearl jewelry, and how to care for your gorgeous pearl jewelry.

NOLIA Jewelry β€’ All About Pearls, Facts, Care Tips

Pearls fall into one of three categories, freshwater pearls, saltwater pearls, and synthetic pearls. Since we only use natural pearls here in the NOLIA studio, we will only cover the two types of natural pearls below.

Freshwater Pearls

Origin: Cultivated in mussels inhabiting rivers, lakes, and ponds, freshwater pearls have a distinct charm. These pearls are primarily produced in countries such as China and the United States.

Size and Shape: Freshwater pearls are generally smaller in size than their saltwater counterparts. While they were traditionally less spherical, advancements in cultivation techniques now yield freshwater pearls with round and near-round shapes, rivaling the appeal of saltwater pearls.

Luster and Texture: Freshwater pearls exhibit a softer, more subtle luster, giving them a natural and organic appearance. The nacre layers may be thinner, but this characteristic can enhance the unique textures and overtones found in freshwater pearls.

Affordability and Accessibility: Freshwater pearls are often more affordable than saltwater pearls, making them an excellent choice for those seeking elegance without breaking the bank. Their accessibility and versatility make freshwater pearls a popular option for a wide range of jewelry styles.

Saltwater Pearls

Origin: Saltwater pearls are typically cultivated in oysters found in oceans and seas. The most renowned varieties include Akoya, Tahitian, and South Sea pearls, each originating from specific oyster species and regions.

Size and Shape: Saltwater pearls are known for their larger size and round or near-round shapes. The Akoya pearl, for example, is celebrated for its perfectly spherical appearance.

Luster and Saturation: The nacre, the iridescent coating that forms over time, tends to be thicker on saltwater pearls, resulting in a high luster and a deep, captivating glow. This inherent quality contributes to the luxurious appeal of saltwater pearl jewelry.

Color Palette: Saltwater pearls boast a diverse range of colors, from the classic white and cream to more exotic hues like black, gray, and even peacock green in the case of Tahitian pearls.

NOLIA Jewelry β€’ About Pearls, Care + Cleaning Tips, Fun Facts

What do pearls symbolize?

Pearls have transcended their role as mere jewelry to embody a rich tapestry of symbolism across cultures and centuries. Universally, pearls are often associated with purity and innocence, representing the unblemished beauty that emerges from adversity. The process of a pearl forming within the protective confines of an oyster serves as a metaphor for personal growth and transformation. Beyond their connection to purity, pearls symbolize wisdom, embodying the experiences and lessons learned over time. In many cultures, pearls are considered tokens of love, signifying enduring relationships and marital bliss. As timeless gems, pearls carry an air of sophistication and elegance, often adorning those who seek to express their refined taste and appreciation for life's inherent beauty. Whether worn as a symbol of purity, wisdom, or love, pearls are more than just precious stonesβ€”they are timeless storytellers, weaving narratives of grace, resilience, and enduring charm.

Caring for Pearls

Hydration for PearlsπŸ’§Pearls can benefit from the natural oils of your skin. Wear them frequently to maintain their moisture, preventing them from drying out and losing their luster.

Gentle Cleaning 🧼 Clean your pearls with a soft, damp cloth after wearing to remove any oils or perspiration. Avoid using abrasive materials that may scratch the delicate surface.

Avoid Chemicals 🚫 Keep pearls away from harsh chemicals, including perfumes, cosmetics, and household cleaners. These substances can dull the luster and damage the surface of your pearls.

Proper Storage πŸ“¦ Store your pearl jewelry separately from other gems and metals to prevent scratches. Consider keeping them in a soft pouch or lined jewelry box to protect them from potential damage.

Remember, a little TLC goes a long way in preserving the enchanting beauty of your pearl jewelry. By incorporating these care practices into your routine, you'll ensure that your pearls remain a cherished and radiant accessory for years to come.

Fun facts about pearls

Natural Marvels 🌊 Unlike other gemstones, pearls are the only jewels created by living organisms. Formed inside the protective shells of mollusks, pearls are a testament to the beauty that emerges from nature's ingenious processes.

A Rainbow of Hues 🌈 While the classic image of pearls is often associated with a pristine white hue, these mesmerizing gems come in an array of colors. From the blush tones of rose pearls to the dark and mysterious shades of Tahitian pearls, each type boasts its own unique and enchanting color palette.

The Queen's Obsession πŸ‘‘ Queen Cleopatra, known for her exquisite taste, was an ardent fan of pearls. Legend has it that she dissolved a single pearl in a glass of wine and drank it, believing it would enhance her beauty. While we don't recommend such extravagant practices, it highlights the historical reverence for these precious gems.

The Largest Pearl 🌐 Dubbed the "Pearl of Lao Tzu" or "Pearl of Allah," this colossal pearl weighs a staggering 14 pounds and was discovered off the coast of Palawan, Philippines. Its size and luster make it one of the most remarkable pearls ever found.

Pearls in Art and Literature 🎨 Pearls have inspired artists and writers for centuries. In literature, pearls often symbolize wisdom and purity, while famous paintings like Johannes Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" showcase the timeless beauty and allure of these gems.

The Pearl of Wisdom πŸ’‘ In ancient Chinese culture, pearls were believed to grant wisdom and protection. Emperors and nobility adorned themselves with pearls, attributing them with mystical qualities and a connection to the divine.

Pearl Harvesting Traditions πŸš£β€β™‚οΈ Traditional pearl divers, known as "ama" in Japan, have been harvesting pearls for centuries. These skilled women free-dive without any breathing apparatus, showcasing a unique and eco-friendly method of pearl cultivation.

Looks We Love

NOLIA Jewelry Paper Heart Pearl Hoops
NOLIA Jewelry Tiny Margo Pearl Hoop Earrings
NOLIA Jewelry Verona Pearl Necklace + Hoop Earrings

NOLIA Jewelry Morgan Pearl Strand Necklace

Have any questions about our pearl jewelry? Feel free to reach out to us at

You are pearl-fect πŸ’— and don't you forget it!


the NOLIA team

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