Give your custom pins class and glamour by adding pearls and gems!

Quality natural pearls are very rare jewels indeed. Over the ages, most natural pearls were only used as centerpieces of the jewelry. Experts say that it is extremely rare to find a strand of matched natural pearls. However, jeweler Pierre Cartier purchased his Fifth Avenue mansion in 1917 (which is now the New York Cartier store) for $100 cash and a double strand of matched natural pearls valued at $1 million dollars.

Natural pearls are made when an irritant enters a mollusk when it is eating or breathing. To stop the irritation, the mollusk forms many layers of calcium carbonate and conchiolin over it, and a pearl is formed. Experts say that a grain of sand is not the most common irritant, but a parasite or microorganism.

To make cultured pearls, an imitation round “starter” pearl is manually inserted into the mollusk shell. Then the mollusk adds only a few layers, and the pearl is extracted after six months.

Any woman will tell you that imitation pearls are always in fashion. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, a fashion icon in the 1960s, wore a long, single strand during a family portrait at the White House. Being a typical toddler, John Jr. had grabbed hold of it, and the photo was taken. Jackie admitted that the strand was imitation, but still, it fetched a hefty price at auction after her death.

One way of testing for imitation pearls is to rub the pearl against the surface of a front tooth. Imitation pearls feel completely smooth, while natural and cultured pearls feel slightly “gritty.”

Imitation and cultured pearls often enhance corporate pins to help them celebrate their employee’s longevity. The Monterey Company has helped companies create custom recognition and award pins with precious, semi-precious and faux gems for many years. Their experienced designers and salespeople can help you create an extraordinary lapel pin that’s certain to make your key employee feel appreciated.