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Natural Versus Cultured Pearls

Many people wonder about the differences between natural vs. cultured pearls. Pearls can be an expensive addition to a jewelry collection. Most shoppers want to make sure they are making the right choice. When choosing pearls, understanding the differences between natural vs. cultured pearls can ease some of your concerns.

Natural Pearls

This type of pearl is truly a rare find. It is a pearl that hasn't been created by man. These are rare because most sources of natural pearls have already been harvested. Natural pearls have a stunning luminosity that makes them desirable. Since they are created without any help from humans, the pearls are often not as uniformed in appearance. They may be perfectly round or more oval in shape. The sizes and colors will also vary greatly as well. Natural pearls are found in both freshwater and saltwater.

Cultured Pearls

Most pearls are cultured. This means they were created under specific conditions in pearl farms. The pearls are created by a technician implanting a pearl bead nucleus into a mollusk. The mollusk is returned to the water and carefully tended to during the rest of development to make sure a pearl is formed. It should be mentioned that not all mollusks will develop a pearl, and not all pearls that are developed are up to the standards of the jewelry industry. Cultured pearls can be created in both saltwater and freshwater. Many people incorrectly think that cultured pearls are fake. They are real pearls just like the naturally occurring ones. They are just created under human supervision.

Appearance

Since cultured pearls are created by man, there is more control over the process and the end result. Cultured pearls can be created in various hues, such as green, blue, purple, and even pastel shades. They can also be perfectly rounded for a uniform look perfect for creating a string of pearls using the same color. Cultured pearls are also available in the traditional white or creme color, but the natural pearl will always have a slightly higher sheen or luminosity to it over cultured gems.

Price

The biggest consideration when looking at natural vs. cultured pearls is the price. Natural pearls, since they are rare, are an expensive purchase. Cultured pearls are more affordable, but can still be costly, depending on the size, color, and overall quality.

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