Cultured Pearls

The cultured pearl begins its life as an irritant to the oyster. To protect itself, the oyster coats an intruding object or grain of sand with nacre, a crystalline substance that builds up over time, resulting in a shimmering, iridescent creation. The culturing process developed by man mimics nature. Farmers implant a fine bead into the oyster where it cannot be expelled. The oyster does the rest and creates its lustrous masterpiece – the cultured pearl.


Types of Cultured Pearls

This is the most familiar type of cultured pearl sold in necklaces. Akoyas from Japan and China are grown in pearl oysters and are known for their shimmering beauty and warm colors, which range from rose, cream and gold to silvery white and blue/gray.
Akoya Pearl
South Sea
Large (10mm and up) cultured pearls grown in tropical and semi-tropical oysters in the South Seas and around the coast of Australia. Their color ranges from silvery white to gold. They are quite costly due to their size and rarity.
South Sea Pearl
Tahitian Black
Large (10mm and up) cultured pearls grown in black-lipped oysters in French Polynesia. Colors range from silvery gray and green to deep purple and black. Their large sizes and unique colors command premium prices.
Tahitian Black Pearl
Large, hemispherical cultured pearls grown against the inside shells of oysters rather than in the oysters' bodies. Due to their half-round shape, they are most popular in earrings, rings and brooches.  Mabe cultured pearls are less expensive than round cultured pearls.
Mabe Pearl
Pearls cultivated in mussels, not oysters, in freshwater lakes and rivers primarily in China, Japan and the United States. Shapes can be freeform, rice shaped, off-round or spherical, and colors range from milky white to peach, pink and lavender. Freshwaters can be less expensive than other varieties of cultured pearls.
Freshwater Pearl
Also known as seed pearls, these tiny cultured pearls can be as small as a grain of sand and form accidentally in many cultured pearl oysters.
Keshi Pearls

These cultured pearls are irregularly shaped, yet often lustrous and appealing. Due to their shapes, baroque cultured pearls are often less costly than round cultured pearls.

Baroque Pearl

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