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Cultured Pearls vs Natural Pearls

“The Pearl is the queen of gems and the gem of queens.” Grace Kelly

Pearls have adorned royalty and the elite since the dawn of time. They are majestic natural wonders that do not need to be cut or polished because they come out of a mollusk ready to shine. One thing that I love about a Pearl strand necklace is that although they feel cool on initial contact, they take your body heat and will warm up! This blog marks the first of four blogs where we talk all things Pearl!

There are many terms and descriptions about Pearls, but I wanted to start with two of the most basic, cultured Pearls and natural Pearls. The main difference between these two terms is whether or not a human had any part of the process of the Pearl growing inside a mollusk. A Pearl is formed when sand or another irritant gets inside a mollusk. The mollusk then produces layers of secretion as a defense against the intruding irritant. The secretion, which we call nacre (pronounced nay-ker), has an outer, soft glow which we swoon over!

Cultured Pearls: Cultured Pearls are farmed in the ocean where an irritant is placed by human hands inside a mollusk. The mollusks can take anywhere from 6 months to 7 years to form a Pearl. The majority of the Pearls on the market today are cultured and have been for quite some time. Mr. Kokichi Mikimoto was very first man to culture Pearls! He even received a patent for it in 1896.

Natural Pearl: Natural Pearls are not farmed and are found with other mollusks growing in the ocean naturally without the aid of a person. With natural Pearls, a mollusk will accidently get sand irritant inside its shell and begin forming a Pearl. Natural Pearls are extremely rare because often, mollusks die prematurely due to ocean predators, oyster divers, and pollution. It can take over 100,000 mollusks to make a strand of natural Pearls!

I am afraid it is my duty to dispel a myth. When you go on vacation and see the oyster stand where you pick one to discover a Pearl inside, those already-formed Pearls are placed inside of the oyster for your discovery. They can even have a hole already drilled to make it into jewelry!

Pearls are amazing in so many ways! They are actually the only gemstone to be created by a live animal. There is a connection to life when you wear Pearls!

I would love to help you with your special purchase or custom design! Angela Cisneros Jewelry Concierge brings back the joy and confidence of jewelry shopping, so that you can celebrate with ease! My by-appointment approach means:

  • One-on-one appointments (personal attention and no crowds!)

  • Discretion and privacy (surprises remain surprises!)

  • Expert help from a Graduate Gemologist with 24 years of experience (yep, that’s me!)

Book your FREE appointment with me today!

Photo credit: This piece was created by the amazing Pearl designers, Asba! You can find them on IG @asbausa

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