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Sometimes I feel like I am repeating myself when I tell a story (just ask my kids about that and they will shake their heads yes.) Probably the reason I first started to make jewelry had to do with the movie Tin Cup which I saw in 1996. Renee Russo had on a simple pearl necklace, but instead of the pearls strung traditionally on silk cord, they were spaced out a little on chain. I must have watched that movie 10 times because I was fascinated with this necklace. (It had nothing to do with Kevin Costner of course.) Making things was a part of my DNA. My mom and grandma spent a lot of time with me and my sister showing us how to cross stitch, knit, crochet an even tat. I loved all of it, but there was something in me that said “I can make that” and my love of jewelry making was born! This style of necklace has been a mainstay in my jewelry line since then.

A tin cup style necklace

Pearls have been loved by civilization since before recorded history. It is thought that they were first discovered when tribes were looking for food along seashores and found them in oysters. Pearls were presented as gifts to Chinese royalty as early as 2300 BC, while in ancient Rome, pearl jewelry was considered the ultimate status symbol. So precious were the spherical gems that in the 1st century BC, Julius Caesar passed a law limiting the wearing of pearls only to the ruling classes.

I love a legend from an ancient culture which states that pearls were formed from dewdrops that were swallowed by oysters when they fell into the sea. 

There have been some pretty famous women who were obsessed with pearls such as Queen Elizabeth I, Elizabeth Taylor, Coco Chanel and Holly Golightly (I know she’s a character in a movie, but come on!)

Coco Chanel stated that "A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls."

Pearls for healing

Pearls are thought to be good luck and keep you safe. They were carried into battle and even sewn into knights’ breastplates. Pearls can help you find your center and reflect on your life in a calm way as well as attune you to the ebbs and flows that happen along the way because they represent both the moon and water cycles. They promote faith, honesty, purity, wisdom, charity and personal integrity.

A display of pearl necklaces found at my craft show booth

Care of pearls

Time for the science part. Pearls are formed when an oyster, mussel or clam gets invaded by an irritant and forms a protective coating called nacre around it. Cultured pearls are formed by seeding the oyster. These are real pearls because they are formed in the same way. They can occur in fresh and saltwater.

I do get asked about how to take care of pearls. Since pearls are natural and porous, they can absorb all the things that we put on our bodies while they are being worn and lots of these things are detrimental to their longevity such as hairspray and perfume. If you are one of those people that put on a necklace and never take it off, then pearls are probably not for you. In order for your pearls to last do the following…

  • Don’t wear pearls in the pool, hot tub or sauna. The chlorine will ruin them and the water is bad for the silk or silver.

  • Put pearls on last when you are getting dressed and take them off first. That way you won’t ruin them with creams, hairsprays, etc.

  • Store your pearls in a separate bag when traveling to keep them from scratching.

  • Do not clean them with any chemicals. Even boiling water is bad! The delicate nacre can be harmed.

I could go on and on, but in a nutshell Pearls will always be in style and loved. They are beautiful, natural and can be a wonderful addition to anyone’s jewelry wardrobe.

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