A Brief History of Pearls: Cultured Pearl Gifts and Gift-Giving

  A brief history of pearls


Have you ever wondered about the meaning behind giving pearls as gifts? Interestingly, pearls are given for almost all occasions - from special anniversaries (in fact, there's one just for giving pearls) to graduations and Mother's Day - and are seen as a very traditional jewelry gift. Unlike other precious gems, pearls can be romantic, non-romantic or familial, so they're often a part of life's most monumental occasions.

Pearl-Worthy Occasions: When to Give Pearls as Gifts

Throughout history, pearls have been the gift of love. And for that, tradition has made them the jewel of brides. No other gem conveys more the warmth, depth and eternal quality of love. Giving the gift of love with cultured pearls is always appropriate. With an endless variety of styles and jewelry choices, the perfect pearl gift awaits everyone on any important occasion. Naturally, pearls are commonly given as romantic gifts, especially for 30th anniversary gifts to signify the pearl anniversary.

In addition to weddings, think of anniversaries and holidays. Mother's Da y is another enormously popular day for pearls. Mother of Pearl (meaning the nacre or iridescent layer of the mollusk) ties the silvery, satiny sphere to Mother's Day. Any well-deserving mother would be delighted to receive a pearl on Mother's Day!

Valentine's Day, graduations, promotions, birthdays (especially in June, the pearl birthstone month) are also fair game for pearl-giving. Cultured pearl gifts are as wondrous and varied as your loved ones: necklaces, bracelets, pendants, rings and pearl earrings of all kinds, as well as brooches, cufflinks and tie tacks. From homemakers and socialites to students and businesswomen, cultured pearls always hit the mark. Young girls introduced to cultured pearls will wear them for every special occasion in their lives. Indeed, there's no better first piece of jewelry for girls than a pearl necklace - graduation gift, first communion gift, baptism and beyond, the pearl persists.

The Ultimate Pearl Gift: The Pearl Necklace

The ultimate form of cultured pearl jewelry is the most versatile of all: the necklace. Coming in six standard lengths, each pearl necklace gift makes a fashion statement of its own. Necklaces comprise over 60 percent of all cultured pearl jewelry sales, so it's important that you be well-prepared to discuss their various lengths and the versatile fashion styles they complement best. First are the collars, the shortest length, which are usually 12 to 13 inches. Collars consist of three or more strands that lie snugly on the middle of the neck. Very Victorian and luxurious, pearl collars go best with elegant V-neck, boat-neck or off-the-shoulder fashions.

Next in length are chokers, which are usually 14 to 16 inches long. Perhaps the most versatile of all single-strand lengths, this classic style goes with virtually any outfit, from casual to fancy eveningwear and just about any neckline. Best suited for crew or high necklines, princess necklaces are 17 to 19 inches in length. Princess necklaces complement low, plunging necklines and are perfect supports for pendants. At 20 to 24 inches, the matinee length is quite right for those seeking a more mature, conservative look, perfect for casual or business dress and the theatre. Opera necklaces, at 28 to 34 inches, are the queen of all lengths. Refined and perfect for high or crew necklines, an opera necklace may be worn as a single strand, or when doubled, as a two-strand choker.

And finally, at over 45 inches, are the rope necklaces. These simply drip with elegance and luxury, but they're practical as well. Rope necklaces often have mystery clasps placed in strategic locations to allow them to be separated into multi-strand necklace-and-bracelet combinations. For women seeking the complete pearl wardrobe, this length is a must. These are the ideal gifts with pearls, especially for the first-time pearl owner!

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How pearls are harvested
How pearls brought to market
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Quality Factor Three: Shape
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Quality Factor Four: Color
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Gift Giving Occasions