Pearls are a fascinating gem. Emerging from a tumultuous creation within a living creature, a pearl is literally wrapped in uniqueness. Any number of things can go awry in this process: the irritant might harm or kill the mollusk; the pearl might spin unevenly and take on a baroque shape; or various clefts, pocks and ripples might litter the pearl’s surface. How excellent will the pearls be at harvest? This is the question that hangs over the pearling industry, for the first thing every farmer, jeweler and fashionista notes is the surface quality of pearls.
A pearl farmer holds his breath at the moment a mollusk is opened and the glistening pearls within are exposed. What he sees will certainly influence the success of his farm, for the surface quality of pearls plays a large part in its desirability. Of course, the surface quality of pearls is just one of the common valuation factors. A savvy shopper will also take care to notice the shape, color, size, uniformity and luster of pearl jewelry. But the easiest thing to identify, whether you are a casual pearl observer or a life-long aficionado, is the “cleanliness” of the surface.
Imagine, if you will, two very distinct objects: the raindrop and the moon. The surface of one is glossy and smooth, radiating a subtle iridescence. Countless craters and uneven elevations distinguish the other. And while both have their charms, pearls of true excellence will far more resemble the perfection of the raindrop. A fine pearl, like those in the Spey collection, will be free of unsightly blemishes and rogue markings on its surface. By contrast, a pearl that is spotted like the moon will be much less sought after. So the next time you see a strand of pearls or a piece of pearl jewelry, peer a little closer. What is the surface quality of pearls telling you? Unlike a book or good friend, a pearl can be judged by its surface.