by John Brana June 20, 2010
Pearls have been a prized element for jewelry for thousands of years. Although the most expensive pearls earn their price for their regular shape, even lustre and smooth surface many “inferior” pearl shapes are now becoming popular for their unique appearance and striking style that they can add to handmade jewelry. Pearls are produced by mollusks when a small irritant such as a grain of sand gets inside its shell. The mollusk feels this as an irritant and coats the particle with a lustrous substance known as "nacre". Pearls tend to take on the shape of the original particle, which is why perfectly round natural pearls are so rare and valuable.
Keishi pearls are formed when the mollusk rejects the irritant before the cultivating process is completed but still produces the nacre in a freeform shape. They can also be formed alongside a cultured pearl in the mollusk. Originally cultivated by Japanese pearl harvesters in the 1920s, keishi pearls were once considered a by-product or a "mistake" since the irritant was expelled before a round pearl could be produced. But there’s no mistaking the reasons why keishi pearls have become so popular in modern jewelry making. Since they are made entirely of nacre, they have a beautiful shimmer and luster and come in a variety of naturally organic shapes, colors and sizes.
John S Brana, based in San Francisco, is the founder of John S Brana Handmade Jewelry with over two decades of expertise in crafting distinctive handcrafted pieces. Transitioning from a finance and banking career in 2004, John manages everything from design to marketing. His modern, urban-inspired creations have graced fashion editorials, resonating with stylish, adventurous enthusiasts who value exquisite craftsmanship and luxury. Every piece narrates a distinct tale, mirroring the wearer's individuality.
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