My girlfriend decided that a pearl engagement ring would be a more sustainable/green choice as well as one that stood out as unique. I've been charged with the follow-up. I'm really getting interested in pearls, and learning a ton, but I have a number of questions.
FYI, I'd like a simple cream/white single pearl ring in a white gold band, possibly with a diamond or two on either side of the pearl.
#1) I've learned that pearls are a pretty fragile gemstone--I'm assuming she will wear this ring everyday for the rest of her life, so is this a smart idea, or are we just setting ourselves up for a great deal of pearl replacements down the road? Would good maintenance be enough to make the pearl last longer? Lastly, would a certain kind of setting help increase the lifespan of the ring?
#2) It's also fairly safe to assume that I won't be able to tell my girlfriend that the pearl she's been imagining on her finger is a bad idea--so I'll probably go with a pearl. That said, which kind of pearl would be the longest lasting? I tend to like the look of Akoya pearls, but another cream pearl that lasts longer would be better, are natural pearls longer lasting?
#3) I stopped by some jewelry stores to look at pearl rings and they all offer a lifetime warranty in case the ring gets damaged or the pearl needs to be replaced. But generally speaking I've only found rings I like online--do you know of any online sellers that offer warranties? Are there any risks buying rings online? (I've found a ring or two I like on Americanpearl.com: what's their reputation?)
#4) Last one for now, I'm curious about industry standards for accounting for the environmental practices of the pearling industry. Of course, water quality is important in the creation of good pearls, but is there any movement of Corporate Social Responsibility, or Sustainability within the industry? Can I find any information about that from the sources themselves?
Thanks for answering my questions, this is a really great site, I enjoy the enthusiasm for pearls.