For centuries, pearls have been highly valued for their beauty and rarity. However, natural pearls are extremely rare and therefore very expensive. Today, many pearls are cultured by inserting a piece of pearl tissue into the shell. This stimulates the formation of a pearl. We give you an overview on the difference on cultured vs natural pearls
What is the formatioin process of natural pearls?
Pearls are organic gemstones that are formed in the shells of molluscs such as oysters and mussels. The formation of pearls begins when an irritating object, such as sand or a piece of shell, enters the shell and the molluscs respond by secreting layers of nacre (mother-of-pearl) around the irritating object. Over time, this accumulation of nacre can grow into a pearl.
What is the formatioin process of cultured pearls?
In the cultivation of pearls, a piece of tissue from a donor oyster is inserted into another oyster. This piece of tissue serves as a nucleus or seed, which stimulates the shell to secrete nacre and form a pearl. People usually place the oyster in a special environment, and return it to the water. Examples of special environments coulkd be a culture basket or a net bag. Over a period of several years, the oyster will deposit nacre around the implanted tissue. This eventually result in the formation of a cultured pearl. People harvest, clean and sell the cultured pearls.
How can you tell the difference between cultured and natural pearls?
There az a few ways to see the difference between cultured pearls and natural pearls:
Appearance: Cultured pearls often have a very perfect round shape, while natural pearls usually have a more irregular shape. In addition, the colours of natural pearls are often more subtle and can sometimes be uneven, while cultured pearls often have a consistent colour.
Price: Natural pearls are generally much more expensive than cultured pearls because they are rarer. If you see a very cheap pearl collier, chances these are not natural pearls.
Origin: It is difficult to see where a pearl comes from if you do not buy it from a reputable jeweller. This because these jewellers normally provide information about the origin of the pearls. However, if you do know the origin of the pearls, this can also be an indication of the nature of the pearls. For example, natural pearls mainly come from the Persian Gulf and the waters around Australia. While cultured pearls can come from different regions around the world.
Research: If you really want to know if a pearl is natural or cultured, you can have it examined by an expert. Using advanced techniques such as X-rays and microscopes, an expert can examine the internal structure of the pearl and determine if it is natural or cultured.
Can't get enough of pearls? Then check out our pearl collection.