Since the creation of the Maison Tournaire, creators have used quality pearls. The pearl is rare and precious, it is a fascinating jewel The pearl is an intruder that has found its place among the wonders of nature. Chance has done things right ... For millennia the pearls arouse lust and admiration.

 The birth of a pearl is an accident of nature. An intruder, a dust, a small parasite enters a mollusc. If he cannot expel him, he protects himself from this intruder by covering him with mother-of-pearl, which gradually transforms it into a pearl. It is a long path that the pearl has covered, which was born in a mollusc to in the end to be sublimated by the one who carries it. It reveals its beauty in different forms, colors, iridescence (also called East), sizes, chandeliers ... The faces so varied of the pearl as well as the particular attention that it requires throughout its life strengthen its unique and magical character .

Small identity card of an atypical gem: the pearl

Pearl is a pearly organic gem

- Its formation : A foreign body is in contact with the mantle of a mollusk, which contains cells secreting the mother -of -pearl. Layer after layer, mother -of -pearl gives birth to a natural pearl ... sometimes trivial, and sometimes exceptionally beautiful.

Its hardness: On a scale of 1 (dry soap) at 10 (diamond)The pearl is between 2.5 and 4. Despite its relatively low hardness, the pearl is still very resistant.

- Pearl maintenance: It is recommended to clean it with a soft cloth soaked in lukewarm and slightly soapy water. It is also recommended to wear it only after putting creams and perfumes because it hardly appreciates chemicals. Indeed, once the pearls are pierced and mounted as a necklace, the products can damage them because they penetrate between the pearl layer and the nucleus.

Fine pearls and culture pearls: treasures of the seas

A natural or fine pearl is called a pearl formed without the intervention of man. According to historians, this precious intruder was discovered in the Persian Gulf, the Chinese and European rivers, as well as in Sri Lanka from thousands of years to the new world with Christopher Columbus at the end of the 15th, who Discovered pearls in Venezuela and Panama. Today it is very rare. It was only around 1900 that the pearls of culture were invented by Kokichi Mikimoto, who understood the Moynism by training. The culture pearls are also natural, simply man helped nature to finish his work: for fine pearls, the foreign body came to accommodate by chance in the mollusc. In terms of culture pearls, man meets the mollusk, and controls each stage of the pearl growth. The intruder is therefore replaced by a round mother -of -pearl kernel, of different diameters.

Portrait of a pearl with multiple reflections

The pearl of culture is available under many identities, according to its origin and the molluscs from which it comes. There are 2 main types of pearls: sea water and fresh water. Among the sea water pearls, there are the Akoya, the Tahiti pearls and those of the South Seas. These are born in oysters. While freshwater pearls come to life in giant molds.

- The Akoya pearl: It is cultivated in Japan, China and Vietnam and appeared in the early 1900s. It is the best known in the general public. Most Akoya pearls are white-cream-in-colored, passing through yellow and then the rosé or light gray. In general, its diameter varies between 6 and 10 mm.

The pearl of the southern seas: It generally comes from Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines but is also cultivated in Thailand and Myanmar and appeared in the 1950s. Most of the time, the color of this pearl goes from white-cream to the color of the 'gold. This is the biggest known pearl: its caliber varies between 8 and 18mm, sometimes more.

The pearl of Tahiti: It is mainly cultivated in French Polynesia and off the Cook Islands, it appeared in the 1960s. Its color goes from gray to black via green, bluish purple and can display a unique metallic reflection. Its usual size varies between 8 and 16 mm in diameter.

- The freshwater pearl: Unlike the aforementioned examples of pearls cultivated at sea, the freshwater pearl is cultivated in rivers and lakes. Unlike other culture pearls, the mollusc of a freshwater pearl can produce several pearls simultaneously, making it more affordable than the others. It is found in China, Japan and the United States. It can be very variable colors. It appeared in Japan in the 1930s and China in the 1970s. Its size varies between 2 and 13 mm. While seawater culture pearls are the fruit of an establishment of a piece of coat combined with a mother -of -pearl kernel used to form the heart of the future pearl, the freshwater culture pearls do not have Need a nucleus so their mother -of -pearl layer is thicker. They are mainly produced only from a piece of coat grafted in a mollusk. China is the most important producer of culture pearls in the world. It is estimated at only 10% the rate of pearls produced of gem quality, exploitable in jewelry. This shows that the work provided by humans and the leniency granted by nature are not always sufficient to create the sumptuous pearls put into display in the jewelers. It is indeed a long -term work for which workers of the perlières farms must arm themselves with patience. These marvels of pearls, fruits of chance and nature, require many months, sometimes years of growth before being freed from their shell. But what a fabulous show when the result is perfect!

There are also other types of pearls. Among these :

"Blister" pearls: these pearls"Bulbs" form a solid heart inside a mollusk. Unlike other pearls, the part facing the shell has no mother -of -pearl and is flat.

Keshi: these" poppy seeds " are so -called natural pearls from southern seas and are baroque (irregular)

Mabé: Assembly made up of a half-nacre halfnoyau, which also makes a flat pearl.

The value of a pearl

According to GIA (American Institute of Gemmology), there are 7 essential factors to determine the value of a pearl:

The size (measured in millimeters)

The form (Round, flat, baroque, circulated, pear, in the shape of a rice, etc.)

The colour (dominant color, the Orient or Iridescence ...)

Chandelier (shine: key criterion to establish the value of a pearl)

The quality of the surface (scratches, defects ...)

The quality of the mother -of -pearl (the thickness of mother -of -pearls, opacity, uniformity, etc.)

The assortment (or the fact that once the pearls are put side by side is coordinated)

For Philippe Tournaire, the color and the East of a culture pearl are the most important. The East gives "the impression of being able to enter the color". The jewelry designer is sensitive to pearls that are distinguished from others due to their East that we do not find anywhere else.

Below are some examples of terms used by professionals to describe the color of a pearl:

Eggplant : Said of the Tahiti culture pearls tinged with purple

- Peacock: For a Tahiti culture pearl which reveals a dominant color gray-green in dark green with a touch of pink-pourpre.

- Pistachio: For a yellow-green Tahiti culture pearl.

Golden: Culture pearls of southern southern seas delicately tinged with orange or green.

Treatments and imitations of pearls

Certain culture pearls such as the Akoya or those of the South Seas sometimes undergo treatment such as whitening, shade or irradiation ... It is often thanks to the X -rays that we can see if the pearl was subject to this type of treatment. We can also spot a shade from the hole pierced in the pearl, which indicates color concentrations.

There is an infinity of attempts at imitations, but none equals beauty and the unique aspect of the pearl of culture or the fine pearl.

Among these, the essence of the East  In the XVIIth century a French rosary developed a derivative of the pearl: with a base in glass ball which he covered with scales of iridescent fish and varnish, he obtained a very convincing imitation of the natural pearl.

This method is still used although brought up to date. The fact is that imitations often look too perfect to claim to be nature products!

Through the centuries, again and again the pearl remains a key element of jewelry. Once carried, in ring, pendant, necklace ... The pearl gives off all its splendor and shows itself in its best light. Invitation to the dream of swimming in the seas and sweet waters, it is a real plunge in the beauty of nature. This "sublime accident" as Philippe Tournaire likes to call him, is a real source of inspiration. Come and discover this wonder through the Philippe Tournaire workshops! We will not fail to make you travel in the unlikely and charming world of a foreign body to which everyone is now used to! The pearl of the centerpiece ofunique jewelry creations, as his look…

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