Honora Cultured Pearls
For over 50 years the name HONORA has stood for quality and value in the jewelry industry. HONORA selects its fine quality cultured pearls from top producers in Japan, China, and various South Sea countries, and supplies better retailers with finished necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings and pendants in a wide variety of styles and pearl types. We manufacture in our New York facility using 14K, 18K and platinum, and string our products with the highest quality materials available. Our trademarked "PEARL GAME," a 34" opera which breaks down into a variety of wearable lengths, is available with or without diamond rondels, and continues to be the industry standard for a fine basic cultured pearl strand.
Cultured Pearls - Timeless Treasures
No one is really sure where the first pearls were discovered. Perhaps our earliest civilizations, centered in Persia, India, or China were among the first to notice the magical beauty of pearls thousands of years ago. From the start, pearls have been highly prized by gem collectors, revered by artists and mythologists and appreciated by fashionable women throughout the course of history. In varying cultures, pearls have symbolized power, romance, fertility and even good health - ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Japanese medicines often contained ground up pearls in their medicines. The world's great religions have all used pearls to adorn temples, artifacts, and clothing in an attempt to harness the supernatural powers believed to exist in these special gems.
Natural vs. Cultured Pearls
One common source of confusion among pearl consumers is the misinformation about what a "real" pearl is. Cultured pearls are considered to be precious gemstones, qualifying by the fact that quality cultured pearls are both rare and are a gift of nature. Instead of requiring man fashioning this gem by a cutting and polishing process after mining, pearls need only to be helped at the start - by supplying an irritant to begin the culturing process. A natural pearl forms in nature when an accidental irritant such as sand, a parasite, or any foreign object enters the oyster. In a defensive response, the mollusk begins secreting nacre, thin layers of calcium carbonate, in an attempt to cover the offending object. Nacre can be deposited on the shell wall (creating a semi-hemispheric covering), or within the soft animal tissue of the oyster (completely surrounding the foreign object). Due to the odd shapes entering the mollusk, the pearls created by the continual layering of nacre will almost always be misshapen (baroque). Only in rare cases will a natural pearl occur in a spherical shape, making it impossible for supplying commercial quantities of round necklaces to the marketplace. Natural round pearls were therefore an unattainable item for those who were not royalty or immensely wealthy.
Natural pearls can be detected from similarly appearing cultured pearls through x-radiography - the bead-like center will be missing from the picture.
A Cultured Pearl is formed in much the same way, but with man supplying the initial irritant instead of nature to get the process started. Pearl farmers use a round mother of pearl shell and a piece of mantle tissue, which they insert into the soft tissue of the animal, in an attempt to create a spherical pearl which will posses gem qualities. This implanting operation takes place a few years after the birth of an oyster, when they have grown to a maturity that will be able to accept an intrusion of this size. Still, only about 50% of the implanting operations will be successful; many oysters will simply eject the foreign matter or die due to the shock of implantation. Of the remainder, less than half will produce pearls too poor for jewelry use, and only about 15% of the crop will be of gem quality. Pearls are grown over a period of one to two years, under the constant care of farmers keeping a watchful eye on their crop. The overall quality of the harvest is dependent on a wide variety of factors, including water temperature, the local food supply, and the pollution level of the water.
Japan has been the major producer of fine pearls up to 10MM, though China has begun to produce fine quality cultured pearls in both fresh water and salt water in recent years. Japan creates Akoya cultured pearls, named after the species of oyster used.
About Freshwater Cultured Pearls
Freshwater cultured pearls are the closest possible thing to natural pearls on the market. The highest nacre (the layers of pearl "skin" deposited around the nucleus ) amount on any cultured pearl assures buyers that the durable skin will never chip or peel. Freshwater pearls can be up to 100% pure nacre, as the tissue nucleus tends to dissolve, during the growth process. Because these pearls do not start with a large round bead, they can grow in a variety of shapes, including round, drop, button, oval, and freeform.
WHY THEY ARE SO WELL PRICED COMPARED TO OTHER CULTURED PEARLS
- Multiple pearls per mollusk lowers the cost of production dramatically.
- There is no costly mother of pearl bead used in the nucleation process.
- Favorable labor rates keep prices moderate.
- China's aggressive commitment to dominating the world pearl market creates an environment of lower profit/higher volume sales.
- Spectacular recent harvests have created a large supply of freshwater pearls.
HONORA has been aligned with China since its early days of pearl cultivation. We continue in our belief that China is the world's future for pearl farming. Working closely with the government and private sector, we concentrate on bringing to America the upper quality range of their production, and look forward to the continued increases in size, roundness, and spectacular colors that the future will bring.
How to Clean
After wearing, wipe gently with a damp cloth that is soft and clean in order to remove any perspiration or oil that may have come from the skin, or any other residue. For regular cleaning, wipe gently with a damp cloth that is soft and clean. If you would like to use a cleaning agent, use a mild one that is specifically made for pearl products. Dry with a soft, clean, absorbent cloth. Leave the piece on a towel for an extended period of time to ensure it is completely dry.
Don't use hot water, a steamer or an ultrasonic cleaner. Don't soak in water. Don't expose to hairspray or any other chemical (unless it is meant for pearl products). Don't expose to extreme heat.