A few years back Swarovski took on a task – adding the pearl to their product line.
This begs the question: How do you re-create nature? What’s more, how do you intend to improve upon it? This is a seemingly crazy project to take on. So how did they do it?
To better understand the Swarovski process, one has to look at nature itself: Pearls, like wearing headphones in the office, are a defense mechanism protecting from an irritant. Think about the last time a rock ended up in your shoe; if you were on a long hike you probably got a blister. Well, an oyster can’t take off its shell and shake the rock out. So it creates, layer after layer, a smooth protective coating (called nacre) over the scratchy edges of the irritant, leaving the pearl happy and blister free.
According to American Pearl, “ The pearl shell, (nacre) is made of microscopic crystals of calcium carbonate, aligned perfectly with one another, so that light passing along the axis of one crystal is reflected and refracted by another to produce a rainbow of light and color.”
What about flat or shaped pearls? Are they fake?
Not at all – This is where the process can be manipulated. By changing the shape of the irritant, we can affect the outcome. This is the difference between Cultured Pearls and Natural Pearls, the nacre; however, still comes from the same source – the oyster with a rock in its shoe.
So how did Swarovski resolve their issue? They went back to nature and recreated the process. While they are very tight lipped about their process, their website does shine some light into how their pearls are made: “Crystal Pearls by Swarovski are pearls made with a crystal core. Their shimmer is achieved using a unique coating technology developed by Swarovski. It is the first production method in the world to combine the quality of a crystal core with the beauty of a pearl coating. The Swarovski technology gives the pearl a mysterious glow, which appears to be radiating from within the pearl itself.”
A tribute to mother nature indeed! For the purists, this may be out of bounds; however, for those of us who need a uniform pearl, it does create a wonderful product.