The Different Types of Pearls Used in Jewelry

Every woman should own a stunning and timeless piece of pearl jewelry, according to The Pearl Source; and they’re not the only ones to think that. The pearl has long been considered a symbol of simple perfect. In fact, before pearls where cultured, the natural pearl was so expensive and rare that only the very rich and noble were able to obtain hem. Now-a-days pearls are more readily available and come in various sizes, types and colors. Merely visiting will give you a good idea on all the different types of pearl jewelry that is available. 

Types of Pearls
Natural - Often found throughout the Persian Gulf, the natural pearl is extremely rare and -- unfortunately -- has been over harvested making them difficult -- if not impossible -- to find in nature. Some small, natural pearls exist but obtaining them is costly.

Cultured - As the name suggests, cultured pearls are grown on a farm that raises mollusk and implants them with the mother-of-pearl bead nucleus. Unfortunately, not every mollusk will develop a pearl, and even if they do, not all pearls are of good quality. 

Saltwater - Saltwater pearls include Akoya cultured pearls, South Sea pearls and Tahitian pearls. Akoya cultured pearls are grown in Chinese and Japanese waters. These round-shaped pearls are typically cream or white in color and range in size from about 2mm up to about 10mm. The South Sea pearls come from Indonesia, Australia and the Philippines, and are the largest pearls, measuring about 9mm to 20mm with a white, golden or cream color. Tahitian pearls are actually not just from Tahiti, and grow in various islands of the French Polynesia. They range in both size and color, from about 8mm to 16mm in black, green, purple and blue hues. 

Freshwater - Cultivated predominately in China, these pearls grow in freshwater rives, ponds and lakes. Freshwater pearls are most commonly white and look similar to Akoya cultured pearls, but can still grow in various sizes, shapes and pastel colors. Freshwater pearls usually don’t have the bead nucleus, which means the resulting pearl has a thicker nacre.

Imitation - Typically made from a coated glass bead, imitation pearls are cheaper than real pearls and lack the depth of luster that can be found on cultured pearls. While imitation pearls may fool most consumers, highly trained jewelers can easily spot an imitation pearl from a natural or cultured pearl.