I've been collecting seashells for as long as I can remember. From east to west, coast to coast, and shore to shore, I always find a treasure to keep, and adore.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sweetheart Seashell Earrings in 14k Gold

I couldn't leave well enough alone, and had to make another pair of Valentine earrings. I wanted a pair with the pearl hearts as dangles off the front.
If you have been by the shop recently, then you've already seen these. I listed them sometime last week.
I just love the colors in them, and those sweet cultured freshwater pearl hearts are loaded down in lustrous nacre. 
Usually, cultured pearls and freshwater pearls are completely different. Cultured meaning "helped by man" and freshwater meaning naturally developed by freshwater bivalves, such as mussels. These pearls were cultured. That heart shape is not naturally occurring, but they were cultured in a freshwater bivalve.

A cultured pearl is made by inserting something such as a glass bead, piece of metal, plastic...any irritant that will make the oyster or mussel secrete nacre around the man made nucleus. 
That's also how they get them to form in shapes, like hearts, diamonds, spades, and crosses.

A freshwater pearl is 100% nacre. No man made nucleus inserted. A mussel doesn't need an irritant to make it form a pearl. It can just do it. Slicing into the meat of a live mussel will cause nacre secretion. I think this form of  "culturing" is cruel, even to a mere mussel. Naturally occurring pearls are more to my taste, as I hate the thought of injuring any animal for the sake of beauty.

A saltwater pearl generally is a natural pearl, occurring when a grain of sand enters the oyster or clam, and causes irritation, in which the nacre continually coats the offending sand, making a pearl. 

Pearls really do come in various colors naturally, but many pearls are dyed to achieve the desired color.

Did you know the Native Americans wore freshwater pearls ( and probably saltwater, too) in their jewelry, and on clothing? I'd like to know how they drilled them! 
What kind of tool did they use? How long did it take?

There are so many interesting pearl facts, that I could go on, and on. I don't think I've broached on any of the facts when I've posted pics of some of my pearl strands. Have I? 
I know I've wanted to post on pearl facts, not just photos and how gorgeous they are. 
Like....one species of freshwater mussels are endangered, and are protected.


Kim@Snug Harbor said...

That was really interesting. I always wanted to find a real one myself!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

You always come up with a new design that is unique and beautiful! I love the facts about pearls! My youngest son went to China a couple of years ago and brought me back a string of pearls...I cherish them! I'm off to look at your Etsy store! I think I go every day now! I don't want to miss anything! Hugs! ♥

Unknown said...

Freshwater pearls have so much more character than cultured. The combo with the scallop & bead really works. Perfect for Valentine's Day.

Kathryn Dyche said...

Beautiful Della.

Sheryl Hastings said...

Beautiful earrings! You have such a talent of putting all the pieces together to make something so beautiful.

That was some interesting reading. I agree with you when you said you couldn't imaging huring an animal just for the sake of using it.

I wonder how they did half the things they did in ancient times without modern tools. I suppose they made their own and if we saw them, it would all make sense.

Great post.

Cheryl K said...

Gorgeous! I wish saltwater pearls were more affordable! There is so much about the freshwater industry that bothers me, too.
Oh well...look for these lovely earrings in a treasury later today!

Daniella said...

WOW! What an interesting post! I didn't know most of that information on pearls.
And, I love your beautiful earrings! It is nice to see you use gold metal too. I am allergic to silver. Not the actual silver, but the nickle they use in it. Pure silver is fine, but so soft I couldn't really wear it because I kept denting it!!
stainless steel is my metal of choice, because it is so cheap!!!
Of course gold is fabulous too!!! But those prices are crazy right now!!

I was afraid I scared you off with my last email!!! Sorry!!

Have a wonderful weekend!

DaCraftyLady said...

love the facts on pearls.. :) and the colors on those earrings are so pretty beautiful shells....we have a shell shop here on the beach and he has the most unique shells I always love to browse them and find unique colors and shapes...♥

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