Thanks to all those who visited us in Norwich, Luton and Newcastle. If you're in the UK, you still have a chance to see us today, Sunday 1st June 2014 - Cheshire Bead Fair - Nantwich Civic Hall CW5 5D, or West London the following week. Make yourself known for a MrBead bag & a free gift! All our 2014 fairs here.
Blue - The World's Favourite Colour
The Secrets of Pearls
What are Cultured Pearls?
What is Mother-of-Pearl?
Knotting a Pearl Necklace
How to Tell Real from Fake Pearls
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Every colour has psychological properties relating to the mind, body, emotions and the balance between these. Colour affects feeling and moods. It also reveals ones personality as colours are use for self-expression.
Blue is an ‘intellectual’ colour for the mind and clear communication. Bright blue is said to stimulate clear thought and lighter-blues to calm the mind and aid concentration. Blue objects appear further then red ones - perhaps explaining the colour’s ‘laid-back’ feeling, never gone out of fashion on denim.
New-agers say blue is a powerful antiseptic linked to the throat charka - cooling inflammation, fever, and high blood pressure. It represents peace and tranquillity, truth, wisdom, justice, femininity and rest. The colour of the sea and sky, and used by disciplined career workers with a clear direction in life.
Pastel cool colours suit summer-people with light hair, blue eyes and pale skin best, but also look refreshing on everyone. Some of this summer’s hottest blues are Placid Blue, Violet Tulip, Paloma and Dazzling Blue.
Add some pastel and navy blue beads to your next jewellery design. We have many semi-precious blue beads: like blue agates, quartz, aquamarines, aventurine, amazonite, jade, pearl, chalcedony, turquoise and lapis.
To see our blue beads, simply key BLUE in our Search Box at MrBead.co.uk or MrBead.com
See The Bead Queens Original Designs at TheBeadQueen.co.uk or TheBeadQueen.com
Pearls are expected to be expensive and in short supply
The reason is that people understand pearls are natural. However, since the 1950s, natural pearls have been cultivated by man – making them much cheaper to buy.This means that including them in jewellery, you will make you even more profit!
The pearl is the queen of gems and the gem of queens
What are Cultured Pearls?
The least expensive cultured pearls today rival the most expensive natural pearls ever found. Cultured freshwater pearls occur in mussels for the same reason saltwater pearls occur in oysters. Foreign material inside a mussel can't be expelled. To reduce irritation, the mollusk coats the intruder with the same secretion it uses for shell-building, nacre. To cultivate a pearl, farmers slit the mussel and insert small pieces of live tissue from another mussel.
The ancient Chinese practiced this technique, but the first real cultured freshwater pearls originated from Japan in the 1930's.Japanese farmers by Lake Biwa achieved natural colours previously unseen in saltwater pearls. However, water pollution today has virtually destroyed pearl production there.
China now has the resources that Japan lacks: many large lakes, rivers, and a low-cost work force. China has now revolutionized pearling - shapes, lustre, and colours of Chinese pearls now surpass Biwa quality. Copying the Japanese to improve off-white and mottling, China uses a mild bleach, bright lights, and heat. Natural freshwater pearls are usually odd shapes. So for more roundness, they reshape rejected pearls into spheres, and then nucleate mussels with them.
Freshwater pearls are popular for their colours: white, silvery-white, pink, red, copper, brown, lavender, purple, green, blue, and yellow. The most desirable are the pastel pinks, roses, lavenders, and purples. Natural colour comes from the mussel species and water quality – with pearls taking the colour of the shell in which they form. However, permanent dyes are used today for most saturated colours.
The Best Pearls
Good pearls have thick overlapping layers of nacre. This can be tested by viewing its "lustre". Roll the pearl with a pen in good light - the best pearls will reflect the pen the most. A large pearl is only more valuable if it's the same quality as a smaller one - the rounder the better. Being an organic gem, grooves, pits, or dents are expected.
What is Mother-of-Pearl?
The shining, playful, reflected light of mother-of-pearl has attracted attention since ancient times. From then, different technology has turned mother-of-pearl into many uses, apart from jewellery. Today, it’s dyed every colour under the sun - creating attractive jewellery at affordable prices.
The mollusk forms mother-of-pearl as a protective shell. Like the pearl it’s a secretion of the mantle, composed of alternate layers of calcium carbonate and conchiolin. Among the chief sources are pearl oysters from the tropical seas.
Matching pearls isn’t easy, but is important when planning jewellery. It’s an art in itself, requiring a sharp eye, excellent judgment, and experience. Try to buy all the pearls for a project at the same time, as later batches may not match your original purchase. When balancing pearls for jewellery, you need to consider:
Knotting a Pearl Necklace
If you look closely, you’ll see tiny knots in between each pearl on a good necklace. This prevents the pearls rubbing against each other - and if the necklace breaks, beads won’t go flying. Knotting also makes the necklace drape nicely and adds length so you need less pearls.
Pearls should be restrung every few years, depending on the amount of wear and exposure to hair spray, perfume, body oils, lotions, moisture, and perspiration they receive. These elements can weaken the silk and cause a potential break point for the strand.
There are a few ways to knot a beaded necklace, but I’ll only tell you the easiest for beginners. First, you’ll need to choose a type of cord to use. There are two types that are usually used for knotting: silk and nylon. Silk is traditional, however many complain that it snags and frays. Nylon cord can also be used. Both come in a variety of colours.
They can be purchased on small cards with about 6 feet of cord and a needle attached or, for the serious knotter, larger spools can be purchased with separate needles. They also come in different sizes. The thicker cord is used for the larger beads since the holes in the beads are larger. For the beginner’s technique, two strands are put through each bead, so a thinner size is needed. For 6mm beads, use size 2 for this technique, and try to match the colour of the cord with the colour of the beads.
A very-popular way to start any beaded necklace is with bead tips (clamp shells). The only difference here is that two strands of the cord are inserted through the bead tip instead of one. Once the necklace is started, string on a bead, and make an over hand knot. Make the knot tight so it’s snug up against the bead. Continue to do this: string a bead, make an over hand knot, string a bead, make an over hand knot. That’s it. Finish the necklace as you would any beaded necklace whether it’s knotted or not. This beginner’s way is a lot easier than using one strand of cord, and the results look almost the same.
Real pearls may come from either freshwater or saltwater, and it’s very difficult to tell which - both form in a variety of molluscs (not just oysters). However, all grow the same way in baroque shapes as well as round. There are also shell pearls and genuine pearls which have been artificially coated or dyed. Before you deal in pearls, you need to know if they’re natural or not.
If you want to buy expensive pearls that are perfectly matched, a gemmologist certificate (from one of your choice) is essential. It costs about £100 to have pearls tested, as opposed to several-thousands for the type that warrant the test. An x-ray will show variations in density the inside of the pearl, a parasite that might have caused the formation of a natural pearl, and the characteristic shapes of drill holes.
The Tooth Test
Rub the surface of the pearl over your teeth - a real pearl feels gritty, while a faux pearl feels smooth. Real pearls are made up of layers of nacre that are deposited like sand on a beach. The slight waves in the nacre give a bumpy feeling against the teeth. However, if the pearls are dyed, the dye can fill in natural depressions.
Look at the pearls in bright light. Unless they’re very expensive, genuine pearl There will be slight variations in shape, size and colour - along with grooves in their nacre, bumps, ridges, or pits. Otherwise, or if any are a perfect sphere or have a grainy smoothness: they’re suspect.
Cutting a pearl open will reveal its true nature. Natural pearls are comprised of many layers of nacre. Cultured pearls have a mother-of-pearl shell core covered with a thin layer of nacre. Fake pearls have a core with one or more layers of coating which tends to flake away on cutting.
Examine drill holes to see the nacre layers and what lies beneath. Real pearls are usually drilled from both sides to meet in the middle - making the hole appear wider at the outside edge of the pearl. Holes of fake pearls are usually strait and are more likely to be larger all the way through. The nacre of fake pearls near the drill holes, flakes away easier than on a natural pearls. And cheap real pearls may not be drilled straight, making a necklace hang badly, unless it’s knotted.
Sometimes fakes are made to look irregular, and glass pearls often have flattened ends. Genuine pearls warm to the skin faster than glass pearls - while plastic pearls tend to feel warm right away. And real pearls are usually heavier for their size than any fakes.Other signs are in the pearl’s surroundings. A genuine pearl necklace is more likely to be knotted and set in gold, silver, or platinum. You can examine clasps for stamps in the metal or for magnetism (indicating iron as opposed to a precious metal). The clasp should have a safety mechanism, like a fish hook. No one would use insecure clasps on good pearls.
Faux pearls, although manmade, are not necessarily a cheap substitute to the real thing. They have genuine beauty of their own, looking “almost” the same as natural pearls costing thousands of dollars. They’re created by coating the outside of glass or plastic beads with essence d’orient or pearl powder. This is then dipped into various solutions of pearl film to simulate the lustre of a natural pearl.
We have really a lot of pearls in stock - click either MrBead.co.uk or MrBead.com
Visit us in the UK and say you're a MrBead Newsletter reader, and we'll give you a MrBead bag & a free gift!
Sunday 1st June 2013 - Cheshire Bead Fair - Nantwich Civic Hall CW5 5DG
Sat & Sun 7th-8th June 2014 - Gem 'n' Bead Fair, Kempton Park Racecourse, Sunbury, London TW16 5AQ
For details of all our 2014 bead fairs click here
See a video of some of our past bead fairs
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