Natural Pearls, Cultured Pearls and Imitation Pearls- What’s the Difference? Posted in: Fashion – Tags: akoya pearl, cultured pearl, freshwater pearl, pearl jewelry, pearl necklace, tahitian pearl
“Pearls are always appropriate”- Jackie Kennedy.
Women and jewelry share centuries old a relationship. A gorgeous piece of jewelry can bring a smile to her face, spark to her eyes and confidence that is beyond measures. Pearls and diamonds have been women’s favorites when it comes to buying jewelry.
Now with so much advertising around the diamonds, we are aware that we need to understand the 4Cs. But, what about pearls? Pearls are classy and elegant, what are these different types of pearls available? Let’s take a look:
As the name suggests, these are the naturally occurring pearls and are extremely rare. They are very hard to find and are very expensive. They grow naturally without any human intervention. A natural pearl forms inside a pearl producing mollusks like an oyster or a mussel. Due to over-harvesting of these mollusks, the natural pearls are so rare to find.
Almost all the pearls that we see today are cultured. These are not artificial but these are formed with human intervention.
Pearl farmers raise the mollusk till the time they are ready for the implant of the irritant, around which the pearl is formed. The mollusks are the left again the water again and are cared till the pearl forms. They are then harvested, cleaned and treated.
Pearls can be cultured in both freshwater and saltwater.
Saltwater Cultured Pearls
The saltwater pearls include Akoya, the south sea and Tahitian pearls.
The Akoya pearls are usually white or cream in color, their size varies from 2mm to 11mm. The average size of Akoya pearl is around 6mm to 8mm and these pearls are grown mostly in Japan and China.
The Tahitian pearls have exotic colors like grey, green, black or brown. Their size varies from 9mm to 14mm with an average size of 9.5 mm. These pearls are grown onTahitii and other islands of French Polynesia.
The South Sea pearls are white, cream or golden in colors. They are the largest pearls with the size varying between 8mm to 20mm with an average size of 13mm. The south sea pearls are grown in the Philippines and Indonesia and Australia.
Freshwater Cultured Pearls
The freshwater pearls are grown in freshwater bodies like rivers, lakes, and ponds, mostly in China. The process of growing these pearls is simpler, therefore are more affordable as well. The size of these pearls varies between 5mm to 20mm. By the look of it, they are very similar to Akoya pearls. The freshwater pearls come in a variety of pastel colors, like white, peach, lavender etc.
An imitation pearl is a glass or plastic bead coated to imitate the real pearl. They are available in almost all colors and sizes. They are used for jewelry, embellishments on clothes and bags, handicrafts, etc