05 Oct Pearls: Natural or Cultured?
Nearly all pearls you can buy today are cultured pearls. Natural Pearl producing stocks were fairly decimated by the 1900s. The most common method of farming cultured pearls developed in the early 1900s and the first commercial ventures started in Japan around 1916, it then spread to the South sea and Tahitian industries. The vast majority of pearls sold nowadays are cultured.
Are they fake?
No. They form in exactly the same manner as ‘natural’ pearls, -an irritant, ‘usually a small piece of mollusk tissue or bead, is introduced into a pearl forming mollusc and the molluscs natural defenses take over building layer upon layer of Nacre over the irritant. In the wild it is thought this irritant would be a small parasite.
Freshwater or Saltwater
Freshwater pearls are mostly produced in china and as each freshwater mollusc can grow up to 50 pearls simultaneously they are much cheaper. Their quality has also greatly improved in the last decade.
Saltwater production is mainly from Japan (called Akoya) , there are alsoTahitian( from nearby islands and volcanic atolls) and South sea pearls( Australia , Indonesia and the Philippines). What they all have in common is that only one pearl can grow at a time and there culturing is much more labour intensive. They can have better lustre and colour than freshwater.
Which should I buy?
A how long is a piece of string question answerable only by considering
-colar, choker, princess, matinee, opera, rope, bracelet, earrings, cufflinks…..
– round, near round, teardrop, button, half round, baroque,…
– rainbow of choice here
….and of course the biggest dictat , whats your budget?
You can always ask for help of course!