Pearls are one of the most highly regarded gems of all time due to their classic and timeless value, making pearls a statement in contemporary jewelry pieces and collections. Pearls are one of the most favorite and loved gems of all time, and for centuries pearls have been highly regarded as symbol in success, wealth, beauty and purity. In today’s blog post, we will be discussing the difference between natural, cultured and freshwater pearls on the market and how they are graded based on their quality.
Natural pearls are extremely rare and unique since their natural occurrence that originates from an irritant such as dust and sand that penetrates the mantle tissue of an oyster. In order to protect the delicate tissues in the mollusk, a combination of crystalline and organic substances activates the oyster’s defenses, and after a few years of these layers developing, natural pearls are created.
The main difference between natural pearls and cultured pearls essentially is human intervention. Natural pearls are created accidently in the ocean, whereas cultured pearls are created by pearl farmers that intentionally place an irritant, like sand, inside the soft tissues of the oyster. From there, the oyster’s natural defense mechanisms kick in and form layers of these organic substances that produce cultured pearls in the nacre-formation process. Cultured pearls are the most popular pearl, due to their high-quality, authentic, and affordability from being created in a controlled environment.
The most commonly produced pearls are freshwater pearls that come from oysters in fresh, non-saline water, such as lakes. Freshwater pearls come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors and are a favorite gem amongst jewelry and pearl connoisseurs. Today, freshwater pearls are a popular alternative to pearls naturally occurring in the ocean, due to their lower costs and availability.
Grading of Pearls
There are many factors in determining the value of these different types of pearls. The pearl’s value is assessed based on luster, size, shape, and color. Pearls are graded on a scale of A-AAA and this grading system is based on the percent of blemishes, luster, shape and size of the pearl. AAA graded pearls are 95% blemish free, with a very sharp mirror like luster, and almost perfectly round. AA graded pearls are 80% blemish free, with a low to medium luster, and have a slightly round shape. A graded pearls are 70% blemish free, with a very low luster, and are near round in shape.
To conclude, pearls have been a treasured gem for centuries for their timeless quality that has classic and contemporary statement in many jewelry pieces and collections. Today, nearly all of the pearls on the market are cultured and will remain in popularity due to the rarity of naturally occurring pearls. BeadsVenture has launched a collection of cultured and natural pearls, in a wide range of colors, shapes and sizes.