By Courtney Corbridge
In today’s market, the vast majority of pearls sold by jewelers are not, strictly speaking, natural pearls. They are cultured, which means that the pearl-instigating irritant is actually implanted inside the mollusk’s shell rather than naturally appearing there. Once the pearl is harvested, jewelers often, as they do with other gems, enhance or alter the color in a pearl using various treatments like bleaching (making white pearls whiter), irradiation (turning pearls black, silvery, or bluish-green shades), and dyeing (creating a variety of colors). Though this does not necessarily affect the quality or longevity of the pearl, it will, and should, be reflected in the price. These treated pearls, have likely been treated in order to compensate for a shorter development period, which will affect color, luster, and depth of nacre.
While untreated cultured pearls can take years to mature, treated pearls are removed in 8–9 months. The shorter maturation period means a smaller layer of nacre that needs to be artificially enhanced.
Nacre, also known as mother of pearl, is the natural substance on the inside of a mollusk’s shell. It is layered on the irritant over and over to create a finished pearl, the color of which is contingent upon the color of the mollusk’s natural nacre. According to the Gemological Institute of America, here are a few naturally colored pearls you can find from around the world:
Akoya: Largely produced in China and Japan, these pearls mostly have white and cream body colors with pink or green overtones. Yellow, pink, and blue akoyas can also be found.
Tahitian: Home of the famous “black pearl,” Tahiti and other French Polynesian islands traditionally produce darker pearls—grays, browns, blacks, purples, greens, and blues.
South Sea: These salt water pearls come from Australia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Largely pastel in color, they come in whites, creams, yellows, blues, and silvers. The pink, green, and blue overtones can additionally influence the appearance of the pearl.
Freshwater: This fairytale color collection of pearls, with its whites, creams, yellows, oranges, pinks, and purples, comes from the fresh waters of China and the United States. Here, you will also find the rainbow-colored orient pearl.
As pearls are quickly coming back in fashion, dive in and find the trendy color for you!
Article sponsored by Nancy & Co. Fine Jewelry.
Find them on the web at: http://www.nancyandco.com
We did it: We just booked our first-ever trip to Europe! 12 days of fun and frolicking in London and Paris. And of course, this means a lot of walking. As much as I heart my Antelope wedges, something tells me they won’t work so well on the cobblestone streets of the UK and France. No, I need new kicks that will give me enough support to walk much more than I normally do.
By Tori Linville
You’re in the market to find some perfect home furnishings that reflect you and your household. But the newly built stuff just doesn’t cut it these days. Anyone who’s ever paid the tiniest attention to HGTV knows that the secret lies in the furniture with history. Antiques! We’ve got some places for you to shop in the area that will hopefully have you meeting the perfect piece soon.
Hanna Antiques Mall
Voted as the best antique mall in Birmingham, Hanna Antiques Mall seems to have everything and anything you could think of. From antique furniture to a large selection of rugs to a huge selection of miscellaneous items, there’s always something great to buy (or at least think about buying). On top of that, an anniversary sale is going on now and ends July 31. See what’s going on at Hanna’s here.
· Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What’s On 2nd
Friendly staff and eclectic finds are what’s on 2nd, according to customer reviews. Neat finds include tons of childhood toys from decades past, magazines, furniture and more. Deals and discounts are all over the place. Known to carry everything weird and cool, What’s On 2nd is a pop culture capitol right in Birmingham.
· Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Homewood is another great find in Birmingham that has tons of merchandise to browse through. Antiques, jewelry, boutique clothing, custom nursery bedding, hand-made items and more can all be found behind Homewood’s doors. For more info, check out their website.
· Open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays.
All kinds of items and pieces are found at De’Frances such as salvaged and repurposed pieces, jewelry, collectibles and more. Check out what’s going on and even go on a tour of De’France here.
· Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Pottery, glassware, handmade jewelry and candles and more are all for sale at Flutterby. Friendly staff and gift wrap services make this antique shop one more place to visit in Destin. See more here.
· Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Antiques on Holiday
Antiques on Holiday features reasonable prices with a wide array of items to choose from. The establishment posts regularly on their Facebook page to let customers know about sales and new items.
· Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Adam’s Antiques/The Potager
Owned by the same people, these antique staple stores have a wide variety of furniture from tapestries to paintings to armoires. From England to France, the owners travel all different places in for one of a kind items. To get a pretty good idea of what the store offers, visit their website.
· Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on Sundays.
Capitol Park Antiques, Interiors and Gardens
Capitol Park allows for all kinds of items whether it’s antiques, home décor and even garden items. They have a large selection of furniture from wardrobes, rugs and even bedding. For more information on the store’s selection, check out their website.
· Open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Skyland Antique Mall
While it’s more like a flea market, there’s a reason the antique mall made the list. Here you’ll find Alabama football memorabilia to knock your socks off, along with tons of antique furniture and a coin collection to boot. The mall has helpful staff and even conducts moving and estate sales. See what else the mall provides here.
· Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Article sponsored by: Bama Exterminating.
Find them on the web at http://bamaexterminating.com