Nature’s accidental gift – natural pearls

AMONG the treasures in Richard WInterton's March Fine & Decorative Arts Sale is a triple-row necklet of matched graduated natural seawater pearls, strung to an old cushion cut diamond and pearl clasp.

Here, jewellery valuer Heather Callaway discusses natural pearls – nature's accidental gift.

"One of the worlds oldest gems. Natural pearls are formed in living organisms’ oysters, unlike other inorganic gems which are mined.

"Natural pearls are formed by accident in nature. The natural pearl forms when an irritant an ‘intruder’ nestles into the soft inner mantel layers. The oyster then houses their intruder by nurturing and coating in layers of nacre. This housing process may take up to 20 years!

"Once there was an abundance of wild oyster beds roaming the Persian Gulf, but sadly no more. Today natural pearls are regarded as one of the rarest gems in the world. Possibly just one in 10,000 oysters shall produce a natural pearl today…

"Here at Winterton’s we are very proud and feeling privileged to offer an exquisite – not one row, but THREE row beautiful graduated natural pearl necklet, stung knotted to a stunning diamond and pearl clasp, together with laboratory verification of authenticity."



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