The history of the cultured pearl
At Casco SRL we have always dealt with classic pearls thanks to our long-standing relationships with Japan, a country from which they are still imported. These were perfectly spherical and smooth pearls used for classic jewels, such as the timeless necklaces of regular-sized or graduated pearls (largest in front and smallest towards the neck) also worn by many celebrities such as Jacqueline Kennedy and Lady Diana. For some years we have started dealing and we have specialized in baroque pearls also called scaramazze, already used at the beginning of the 16th century by the Flemish countries for the creation of unique jewels. Scaramazze pearls are different in shape from the classic spherical ones, in fact they are imperfect pearls of irregular shapes and sizes but no more ugly than the classic ones. In fact, they show unique brilliance and color nuances and their imperfections should not be seen as defects, rather they should be exalted for their uniqueness. They are much more appreciated for their original and spontaneous nature, expression of a more authentic and genuine nature.
Contrary to popular belief, they are grown in both fresh and salt water like large, round pearls. The most valuable ones are Australian, South Sea or Thaiti pearls. As with cameos, no two pearls are exactly alike for baroque pearls and each jewel that uses them showcases something different.
Types of Pearls
This variety is the most representative of all; the image that comes to mind when hearing the word "pearl" is most likely that of an Akoya pearl. Almost all cultured pearls in Japan are Akoya pearls and most necklaces are strung with this variety. Mother oysters are usually palm-sized, so the pearls themselves aren't that large, averaging between 2mm and 10mm.
Produced from black-lipped oysters in the South Sea (particularly Thaiti), these pearls are black, dark green or dark gray. Also very popular and prized is the "peacock green" variety, a deep green with a reddish tinge. Other varieties of pearls may be dyed and called "black" pearls, but the true natural black pearls are those taken from black-lipped oysters.
When this pearl is born in the gonad of the mother oyster, it is very small, similar to a poppy seed. The finished pearl is also quite small and is produced without an artificial core. During the cultivation period, the mother oyster absorbs some foreign particle, such as a tiny pebble, which becomes the nucleus of the pearl. The shape of the pearl can be oval, or distorted depending on the shape of the foreign body that constitutes its nucleus.
South Sea Pearls
South Sea pearls are taken from white-lipped oysters, the largest of the pearl oysters. They are a beautiful silver gray color and although they can be up to 15mm in diameter, South Sea pearls of this size are very rare and expensive.
These are mainly grown from the bivalve known as IKECHOUGAI. Some are farmed in Lake Biwa here in Japan, but mostly imported from China. Freshwater pearls are usually oval in shape and natural colors include white, of course, as well as orange and wine. Recently pearl cultivation technology has managed to produce specimens so large and spherical that many people mistake them for Akoya pearls at first sight.