1. What are cultured freshwater pearls?
Difference between natural and cultured pearls
Natural pearls are formed in the wild, inside the oysters in wide oceans, when an irritant like a grain of sand enters the mollusk. The oyster secretes a protective layer called nacre aroud the irritant. The oyster continues to form layers over layers of nacre over its lifetime, which ultimately becomes a pearl. This process occurs over a period of several years. For example, an 8-9mm pearl might take as long as 5-6 years to form that size and depth. For this reason, natural pearls are rare and very expensive.
Cultured pearls, on the other hand, are grown inside mussels that are cultured in a pearl farm, where the farmer regularly introduces the irritants so he can regulate the depth and luster of resulting pearls and make the process more rapid.
Difference between saltwater and freshwater cultured pearls
Saltwater cultured pearls are grown in oysters that live in the ocean, usually in protected lagoons, like the South Sea pearls and Tahitian pearls.
Freshwater cultured pearls are formed in freshwater mussels that live in freshwater bodies like lakes and ponds. Advancement in culturing techniques over the last ten years have made freshwater pearls very close in quality to the saltwater pearls and much less expensive.
2. What is a lampworked glass?
Lampworking is a centuries old technique and was used to make paperweights, figurines, beads and ornaments. This technique involves melting glass using a lamp or a torch and then forming a shape by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movements.
The specialty of lampworked glass pendants is the combination of colors within the glass and unique, often unusual shapes formed.
3. What is a cat's eye glass?
Cat’s eye effect is a fiber optic effect where a visible streak of light runs parallel to the long axis, similar to an elongated cat’s eye. Cat’s eye stone is commonly referred to variants of minerals with the special optic effect.
Cat’s eye glass has the same effect of light refractions, where a band of light runs across the center of the pendant, like a cat’s eye.