There are many different types of pearl, all highly desired for their classic appeal and iridescence. You may own some pearl jewellery or be thinking about making a purchase - but how much do you know about these beautiful, natural creations? From their formation to your purchase, we're diving into the different types of pearl...
How is a natural Pearl formed?
In the beginning...
Natural pearls are formed in oysters or molluscs. Each pearl is the by-product of an irritant (e.g. grain of sand) within the shell of the host. Once inside, the oyster or mollusc will form a substance known as nacre around the intruder in order to protect itself. After a while, this nacre will build up several layers and harden into a perfectly round shape or, a slightly misshapen circle (commonly seen in freshwater pearls). It's the secretion of nacre that creates the iridescence that pearls are famous for.
What is the difference between a Saltwater Pearl and a Freshwater Pearl?
The round pearls we see are usually formed by a sea oyster or mollusc and harvested to make into jewellery.
Saltwater pearls from China, Tahiti and other areas are highly sought after and priced much higher than freshwater pearls. However, freshwater pearls offer the same lustre and opulent appeal as a saltwater pearl.
The key difference between a Saltwater Pearl and a Freshwater Pearl is the type of water they form in. The first type forms in the sea, while the latter forms in freshwater lakes or rivers.
What are Cultured Pearls?
If a pearl is cultured, it means the irritant was placed inside the pearl by hand. This artificially begins the onset of a pearl's creation. However, the pearl that is formed is still real and natural.
What is a Seed Pearl?
A Seed Pearl is a very small pearl. Popular in older jewellery pieces, these were often used as decorative embellishments.
What are Simulated Pearls?
Simulated pearls are artificial. They are a cheaper alternative to the real, naturally occurring pearls that you can buy. However, they are made to look and feel like a real pearl. Many popular, affordable jewellery brands incorporate simulated pearls into their designs.
Did you know?
While the traditional white pearl is the most popular, there are also other colour varieties available:
White – The innocence of white pearls represents beauty, purity and new beginnings
Blue – The wearer of a blue pearl will in time find love
Black or Gold – These pearls promote prosperity and wealth
Pink – Success, good fortune and fame come to the wearer
Brown – For those who seek practicality, masculinity, dependability and harmony
Take a look at our Pearl Collection to discover your favourite, including award-winning pieces from Jersey Pearl. Fall in love with pearls at The Jewel Hut with free delivery available.