Soufflé Pearls an Introduction
First seen in 2010 at the AGTA gem show in Tuscon Arizona
, most consumers still have not heard of them - yet.
The term "soufflé pearl" was coined by pearl legend(and POJ friend) Jack Lynch of Sea Hunt Pearls
, and perfectly describes this unique and intriguing pearl.
Like the famed French desert
, souffle pearls are fluffy, puffy "light as air" delicacies...
...And you only need one(maybe three) to feel satisfied.
An example of the bright colors and metallic luster possible with the very best Souffle pearls.
A very nice selection of LARGE souffle pearls ready to be paired up with colorful metallic freshwater pearl strands.
So What IS a Souffle pearl And How Are They Made?
Souffle pearls are decidedly a happy accident in pearl culturing techniques, equal parts genius and luck combine to create the wild colors, shapes and metallic luster only seen in souffle pearls.
The peculiar method used to produce these pearls, was intended as an intermediary step to growing large round bead nucleated pearls.
After a smaller cultured pearl is harvested, a dried mud ball is inserted into the now vacant pearl sac. Placed back in the water the mud ball begins to grow in size. As the nucleus absorbs water it expands the pearl sac in the process.
The point of this step is to stretch the pearl sac large enough so it can accept a large round bead nucleus. With the hopes of growing a large round pearl( i.e. Fireball pearls, Ripple Pearls and Ming or Edison Pearls).
If the farmer was to forgo this step (and implant a large nucleus without first stretching the pearl sac) he would end up killing the host mussel.
The fact that someone came up with this solution is nothing short of brilliant!
As a twist of the fate, it appears that the metal oxides present the "pond muck" are responsible for the incredible metallic luster and unbelievable colors these pearls exhibit.
A hand selected collection of metallic "fancy color" souffle pearls.
So the Souffle pearl was never intended as a saleable pearl. And because they are so much lighter than traditional pearls, they weren't thought to have any value(pearls are sold by weight on the wholesale level).
Single mindedly focused on the goal of large round pearls, the farmers thought of them as rejects. Who would want such an oddly shaped pearl?
They couldn't have been more wrong...
Are Souffle Pearls Durable?
I've had people ask about the durability of souffle pearls. Since they're hollow and feel so much lighter than they look, it only natural to wonder if they might crack or break.
While they are relatively new to the market, at this point there is ZERO evidence to suggest there is anything to worry about. I personally haven't had a single complaint, nor do I know of any reported problems online.
A beautiful custom earring and pendant set made with Souffle pearls
I hope you found this brief introduction to Souffle pearls useful, please leave a comment below and let me know what you think of these pearls? Would you wear them?