Understanding Pearls: Where Does Your Pearl Jewellery Come From?

A lot of people have an image in their heads of what a pearl looks like, but you may be surprised at the amount of diversity within the name. Pearls are created organically; they grow inside Molluscs, specifically some of those in the Bivalvia class, which includes clams, oysters, cockles, mussels and scallops. They are formed by layers of calcium carbonate, which builds up into nacre, a natural, lustrous substance which is the ‘heart’ of the pearl.

Pearls can either be natural or cultured pearls, both of which form in oysters naturally. When an external irritant like a grain of sand finds its way into the oyster, the animal creates layers of nacre to protect itself and coat whatever has breached its shell. This eventually leads to the pearl itself being formed. The main difference between natural and cultured pearls is that natural ones form their shape and lustre, unsurprisingly, totally naturally. Cultured pearls on the other hand are helped by humans, who insert tiny beads, pieces of mantle tissue (clam flesh) or similar in order to artificially cause the oyster to produce nacre. Using beads to produce the pearl can cause the coating of nacre to become thinner, and thus fade over time. The reason that natural pearls of the same shape and size as cultured pearls are so much more expensive is simply because they’re rarer; the relative ease with which cultured pearls are made makes them much better value than natural ones.

Orchira Pearl Necklace

The vast majority of pearl jewellery on the market is made from cultured pearls, regardless of their specific origin. Natural pearls are very rare on the market nowadays and many of the ones that are there are of very low quality. There are several different classifications for the origins of pearls (which we will discuss another time), but for now we will look at how pearls are evaluated, according to the GIA (Gemological Institute of America).

There are 7 ‘Value Factors’ that affect how valuable a pearl is, so bear these in mind next time you go shopping for a pearl necklace!


Size: Pearls are measured in millimetres, and while you might expect a larger pearl to be worth more than a smaller one, this is not always the case, as it is perfectly possible to find large, low-quality pearls, or small but very high quality ones. This is because the smallest pearls require miniscule holes drilled in them, which is extremely delicate and potentially wasteful work, leading to small pearls potentially being very expensive. In general, size relies mostly on the other factors in terms of how it affects the price of pearls.

Shape: When people think of pearls, they usually think of them as being round, but there are plenty of shapes that pearls can be, including: round, near round, oval, button, drop, semi-baroque and baroque. Regardless of its shape, if a pearl is symmetrical, it will be more valuable than one that is not.

Colour: Colour is fairly self-explanatory, but there are some less obvious things to consider. There’s the pearl’s dominant body colour, the overtone, any colours that seem to reside inside the pearl and even colour changes when the pearl is moved in the light. Fresh water pearls, which are Orchira’s specialty, have the widest range of possible colours, ranging from a natural pink, to purple, peach, white or even gold.

Lustre: The lustre of a pearl is the intensity of the light reflected from the surface or just under the surface of the pearl. High lustre will make a pearl shine and gleam, whereas low lustre will make it dull. Naturally, high lustre pearls are more valuable.

Surface: A completely ‘clean’ pearl (one without any irregularities such as abrasions, bumps, chips, cracks and so on), is very rare. Therefore, the ‘cleaner’ a pearl’s surface, the more it is worth.

Nacre: The thickness of the nacre that forms the pearl is also important, as those with thicker nacre are more durable and generally have higher lustre, thus making them more valuable.

Matching: Finally, if multiple pearls are together in a pearl necklace or similar, the uniformity of their appearance is referred to as matching.

Orchira Emerald Pearl Necklace

We hope that this brief introduction into the world of pearls has helped you get a better understanding of what makes a pearl. Given the wide variety of beautiful pearls, it can be quite daunting for buyers, especially if they don’t know what a lot of the terms mean. Now that you know better, why not check out our fantastic selection of pearl jewellery?

If I meet someone in the jungle who is right, then who knows what will happen…


Our this year cover model, Amy Willerton, who we sponsored on  Miss Universe Great Britain 2013, is in the Australian jungle as part of the ITV reality show I’m a Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here! The 21-year-old beauty qeeen, jetted in from Moscow where she was competing in the global Miss Universe modelling competition to join I’m A Celebrity.  But before she enters the jungle camp, here are a few curious facts about Amy:

Her first shot to fame was as the winner of Katie Price’s TV reality show, “Signed by Katie Price”, two years ago, but subsequently she refused to sign up with the star, instead choosing to forge a career on her own.

  1. She was first crowned Miss Bristol at age 17, Miss Bath the year after and and Miss London last year. Currently, Miss Great Britain  she is the first UK contestant in 30 years to reach the Top 10 at Miss Universe after being placed in the semi-finals this year.
  2. She dated multi-millionaire diamond dealer Mohamed Shawesh for two years after modelling his jewellery – but they broke up on holiday this year and are sharing custody of their dog Yogi.
  3. She has been modeling and participated in the charity auction for Orchira pearl jewellery and became the new face of Orchira in 2013.
  4. She is single and well up for a jungle romance, as she is called herself “completely and utterly single”. She isn’t afraid of spiders, but terrified of china dolls.

Also actor Carlos Ribeiro, presenter Matthew Wright, singer Kian Egan, Olympian Rebecca Adlington, soap stars Laila Morse and Lucy Pargeter and royal dress designer David Emmanue will be in the jungle with model Amy Willerton.

The show starts this Sunday,  17 November at 9pm on ITV1.

Keep calm and wear an Orchira pearl necklace – Miss Universe GB 2013 is Amy Willerton

Amy Willerton

Amy Willerton brings home Orchira made pearl necklace after she was named Miss Universe Great Britain 2013

Designed and crafted by Orchira UK, the “Irresistible Ivory” pearl necklace from the new  “Embrace” collection was presented for the first time at the Miss Universe Great Britain 2013 finale which took place on June 8, 2013 at The Town Hall, Victoria Square, Birmingham where Amy Willerton from Bristol was crowned.

The Orchira signature sumptuous twelve strand pearl necklace, features over 1400 high lustre baroque white pearls secured with a sterling silver tube clasp and can be worn loose or twisted to create different length and looks.

The “Irresistible Ivory” pearl necklace from the new  “Embrace” collection

Orchira’s new pearl necklaces from the “Embrace” collection are designed intentionally simple, conveying an innocent look and feel using high-lustre cream color cultured pearls.

Standing 1.78m tall, 20-year Amy Willerton, former winner of the show “Signed by Katie Price”, professional model and presenter for Fashion TV, was awarded with Orchira’s “Irresistible Ivory” pearl necklace, which she wore during the coronation ceremony of Miss Universe Great Britain 2013. Amy will be representing Great Britain at the Miss Universe 2013 finals in December.

The new Miss World 2011 is crowned to Miss Venezuela

South America is definitely the hot spot this year, the Miss Universe 2011 grande finale was held in Brazil (Miss Brazil was also the runner up to the title), and this year’s Miss World is crowned to Miss Venezuela, Miss Ivian Lunasol Sarcos Colmenares.

Number two and number three are Miss Pueto Rico and Miss Philippines, both in red gowns.

The final was held in Earls Court, London, curiously every finalists ribbon banners are printed with both English and Chinese titles.

This year’s Miss World showcased the world the pageant competition is not just about beauty, but also about brain. Half of finalists are studying a degree, 1/4 hold a graduate degree, half can speak at least three languages. Nowadays the beauty pagaents are also heavily involved in charity works so there is a meaning behind it.

We are very proud to see Orchira‘s brand image Alize Mounter, the finalist of Miss Universe GB  2011, representing Miss England for Miss World 2011, along with Miss Scotland Jennifer Reoch has triumphed top seven among 80 beauties around the world. Alize Mounter’s images are shown across all Orchira jewellery brand’s marketing material including website, lookbook and brand brochures.


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AF/Getty Images

Kate Winslet at Emmy’s, and her new boy friend Ned Rocknroll

Kate Winslet appeared on red carpet at Emmy’s with bright red dress, glowing with love as she was reported “falling madly in love” with her new boy friend Ned Rocknroll, the nephew of tycoon Richard Brandson (even the beard look looks stunningly similar to Richard Brandson).

33 year old Ned recently seperated from 23 year old society heiress Eliza, is declared to be “the ONE” by Kate and talks of marriage is going on.

Kate Winslet is famed for her classic, elegant look from Titanic, her dresses on red carpets are also mostly complimented by media alike. Her stunning black and white curvy Stella McCartney dress teamed with stunning diamond and pearl earrings and pearl bracelet, is just an example.

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The Duchess of Cambridge – Catherine Middleton’s high street shopping spree

The Duchess of Cambridge is a very elegant young lady with her own right, although she is a really down to earth girl, like high street fashions just like every girl at her age. She recently enjoyed a shopping trip to Topshop’s Kensington flagship store, picked up a blue short jacket with black velvet trim, a dark green pencil skirt with polka dots and a pair of feather earring drops.

Kate Middleton

She was low key and casual, a Topshop staff said.

The Duchess of Cambridge bound to be the best fashion icon/idol for British brands, as everything she bought are sold out instantly. This blue boucle jacket was sold out on Topshop’s website, the skirt and earrings are sold out as well reported by Daily Mail. Same for her famous blue Issa jersey wrap engagement dress. All the jewellery she wears are also sought after by many and copy styles are sold in millions. Especially the diamond and blue sapphire ring, the diamond acron earring drop and gold charm bracelet.

She certainly helps the British economy a big deal.

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Emily Gyben

Lanvin Resort 2012

Looking at Lanvin Resort collection 2012, it’s stunningly ghostly. Using mostly grey, white, neutral colour palette, the collection is in strong contrast with other brands’ statement of vibrant colours. Fine tassels, fringes and luxurious drape material are the birth mark of Lanvin resort 2012.

Lanvin’s distinctive chic style makes it top choice for celebrities and Hollywood red carpet appearances, the famous look of Katherine Heigl wearing a nude chiffon Lanvin cocktail dress with chunky multi strand pearl necklace was marked by media as a classic look. Below is another gorgeous photo of Katherine Heigl wearing Lanvin black dress with a strand of large black pearl necklace.

Pearl jewellery seems to be the best accessory for Lanvin dresses and clothing, the classy look compliments perfectly the chic sleek quirky style of Lanvin designs.

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The World of Fine jewellery – Piaget, Van Cleef Arpels..

The world of fine jewellery is built on heritage, craftsmanship, prestigious and the class and taste of its clientele. Originally reserved privilege of the Royals and Aristocrats, now more seen worn by top celebrities, Hollywood A List stars, footballers/wives and nouveau riches. Piaget diamond watches and fine jewellery win hearts by its classy yet glamorous designs and unbeatable craftsmanship.

Van Cleef and Arpels’ sophisitcated designs, choices of stones and intricate setting are always the most covetable.

Bvlgari’s signature designs are vibrant coloured gemstones set into sophisticated designs. No matter how beautiful this type of designs are(I love it!), most people who want to spend money on a piece of high class jewellery still go for simpler easy to wear styles, after all even the Hollywood stars only get that many red carpet functions to wear them, let alone those with less celebrity lifestyles. That’s why we see more simple, clean, easy to wear gold and silver designs appearing from this glamourous brand. Hope those designs will help this brand come out of its financial difficulty.

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Top looks from London Fashion week 2012 – Part II

From the runway 2012 SS London Fashion week, we can certainly spot some confirmed trends going forward:

1. The strong presence of sequences, beaded embroidery are still very much on the horizon

2. Fine thread fringes, the glamour portrayed from 1920’s are coming back, a big time

3. Metallic fabric is strong trend, so is the vibrant coloured Art and Craft print, like wearing Van Gogh and Picasso on the go!

As of jewellery, apart from the chunky metal and crystal statement necklaces and bangles, pearl jewellery is still very strong on the scene as the draping dresses are best complimented by the glamour of strings of pearl necklaces (think about Rio de Janeiro 1920’s ladies look).

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Top looks from London Fashion week – Part I

The hot event in town just finished, I was in London on 19th September and all hotels are full, so what’s on the menu for the 2012 SS hot trends?

Here we picked the best looks from the London Fashion week to share.

Charlotte Ronson’s new collection is refreshingly pleasant, with a hint of tomboy look. Sleek use of denim with buttons and leather belt.

Rebecca Minkoff’s well balanced colour palette with simple yet elegant designs are well received

Suno’s quirky neutral prints are interestingly sexy and elegant.

J Crew’s new collections are quite simple yet colourful, compliment to their sparkling glamourous jewellery collection. Their signature pearl necklaces with velvet ribbons, sparkly crystal chunky necklaces and bangles, will continue into 2012 season.

All in all, we can spot the forward trend is still strong with neutral colours, simple and minimalistic styles. The topic continues.

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