Pearl Matching Defined
Pearl matching is evaluation of the complete appearance of a pearl strand, pair or mulit-pearl piece of jewelry. Matching can include size, color and quality. A well-matched strand is composed of pearls that compliment each pearl above and below, and directly across as the strand drapes.
The Difficulty in Pearl Matching ? No Two Pearls are Alike
Because pearls are natural, organic substances, no two of them are identical. Therefore, when a piece of jewelry contains more than one pearl, some effort must be taken to ensure that the pearls all match in an aesthetically pleasing fashion.
Pearl Matching is More About How They Fit Together
The term "Matching" here, does not mean that all of the pearls are absolutely identical that would be impossible! Nor does it even mean that all of the pearls in the piece are generally uniform in size, shape, and color. It basically means that the pearls "fit together" in a pleasing manner, and that variations among them are either minimal, gradual, or for a specific purpose.
Pearl Matching Uses the Pearls Differences to Make the Piece
For example, a long strand of pearls may have a large pearl in the center, with pearls which grow gradually smaller strung along either side. Or a strand may consist of pearls in alternating or gradually changing colors. In either of these examples, the pearls are considered well matched if the resulting piece is uniform and consistent, rather than haphazard looking.
Pearl Matching on Smaller Pieces is the Same
In the same way, pearl earrings, bracelets, pendants, rings, etc. any piece that contains more than a single pearl are generally matched to achieve greater beauty and value. If the piece consists of contrasting colors (such as a two-pearl, black-and-white ring), the matching will take into account the size, shape, and luster of the respective pearls, even though their colors are quite different.
Different Treatments After The Pearl Harvest
After the pearls have been cleaned and polished, they are sorted by quality and size categories. Many of these pearls may then go through further treatment, depending on the type of pearl and the factory preparing the finished goods. The pearls may be bleached, heat treated and pinked (soaked in red dye to enhance the pink coloration of the pearls).
Pearl Matching is an Art, and Can Take A Lot of Patience
A good harvest is determined by the number of marketable pearls produced in relation to the number of oysters that were nucleated. The percentage of pearls that are considered high-quality will determine the success of the enterprise. On average, only half of the pearls will be marketable, and less than 10% of these will be considered top-quality.
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