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Dahl Jewelers, Woodbridge, VA
Pearl - White

The pearl! What images it conjures. White-winged trading schooners, swaying palm trees and beautiful island maidens. To a degree, at least all of this is - or was - true. However, there is much more to the pearl than this nineteenth century image.

The history of the pearl goes back thousands of years and it occupies several unique niches. For one thing, the pearl is the only gem that is used as it is found. While other gems require cutting and polishing before they can be used, the pearl requires no such work. Also, the pearl is in a special class known as organic gems. In addition to pearls, this class also includes certain corals, amber and, to a lesser degree, such materials as ivory and even tortoise shell.

The history of pearls credits them with magical properties as well as their value in the gem world.

Of course, we all know how Cleopatra dissolved a pearl in wine, then drank it. Though one may wonder what type of wine was strong enough to dissolve a pearl, other persons greatly supported the curative powers of the pearl.

In 1602, Italian physician, Arnobio, in his "Tesoro delle Gioie" gives a recipe containing thirty-four ingredients, including pearl, which he affirms will cure "all the ills that flesh is heir to." Fortunately, for gem lovers everywhere, the pearl is appreciated far more for its beauty than for any curative powers.

Today, the natural pearl is almost unknown, its place having been taken by the cultured pearl pioneered in the 1890's by Kokichi Mikimoto. The rise of the cultured pearl industry gives the buyer the advantage of being able to choose the size, color and quality of the pearls they purchase.

In ancient days, it was believed pearls were ruled by the planet Venus, making them the ideal gift of love.

Description of Pearl Qualities That We Sell

High quality: Excellent luster with little to no surface blemishes with a slight rose/pink color (Japanese cultured in salt water - full round).
Medium Quality: Very slight loss of luster. It could be a slight greenish tint (with higher luster) or rose tine (lower luster) of color with very slight or no surface blemishes (Japanese cultured in salt water - full round).
Low quality: Loss of luster with creamy white color or very slight yellow or green overtones. Nacre layer much thinner than above qualities with some surface blemishes (Japanese cultured in salt water - full round).
Very low quality: Loss of luster. Nacre layer very thin which causes the pearl's luster to wear out much faster (mostly Chinese fresh water pearl or low quality Japanese salt water pearl - off rounds).

Please check here for a note about colored gemstone qualities.

Pearl Properties

Birthstone: June
Toughness: Good
Hardness: 3-4
Specific gravity: 2.60 to 2.78
Refractive index: 1.52 to 1.66
Double refraction: weak to none
Main source: Japan, China
Treatment: Sometimes bleached or dyed
Reaction to heat: Very poor, will discolor or crack.

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Open Monday through Friday, 9:30am to 5:30pm; Saturday, 9:30am to 3:00pm.
3138 Golansky Boulevard, Suite 102, Woodbridge, VA 22192. Phone 703-878-0888.