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Different Types Of Pearls

There are several different types of pearls available in the market today. This gem has been treasured for centuries thanks to the pretty sheen and overall value. When choosing fine jewelry, understanding the different types of pearls can be helpful.

Saltwater Pearls
Saltwater pearls are broken down by region. For instance, the South Sea pearl is named for the region it is grown in located in the waters of Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. This is the largest saltwater pearl with size ranging from 9mm to 20mm. They have a white or cream color that makes them desirable for fine jewelry.

Tahitian pearls come from the waters of the French Polynesian area, specifically Tahiti. This pearl comes in darker colors that make it sought after. It can be farmed in colors such as blue, purple, black, gray, and green. They are usually found in sizes ranging from 8mm to 16mm which makes them ideal for all sorts of accessories.

The smallest saltwater pearl comes from Japan and China. The Akoya pearl is a white or cream color in sizes ranging from 2mm to 10mm. While it is smaller than the other saltwater varieties, this pearl has a perfectly rounded shape that makes it sought after. Akoyas are smoother and rounder than freshwater pearls.

Cortez pearls are grown in the Sea of Cortez located off of Mexico. They are similar in size to the Tahitian pearl, but only reach 12mm instead of 16mm. They come in a variety of darker tones such as dark green and black, as well as bright tones like rose and gold.

Freshwater Pearls
While freshwater pearls are smaller, they come in more options. First introduced in the 1970s, freshwater cultured pearls took a symbol of luxury and made it affordable for the American middle class. These pearls are usually farmed from lakes, ponds, and even rivers. These pearls can even be seen in pastel colors which are hard to create in a lab. They can also be seen in white and come in sizes similar to the Akoya saltwater pearl. Most of the pearl jewelry sold in the United States is set with freshwater cultured pearls.

Imitation Pearls
While there are many different types of pearls, there are also imitation pearls. These are not really pearls, but they can give the appearance. Imitation pearls are usually glass beads coated with a pearl-like substance. They may look similar, but the luster is never the same as a real pearl. They are also more easily chipped, scratched, and broken than the real thing.

When choosing the right pieces for your collection, it mostly comes down to personal preference. Saltwater and freshwater pearls are both beautiful!

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