When you are shopping for pearl jewelry, it’s important to understand the different types of pearls that are on the market. You’ll have the option of choosing between fake, cultured, and imitation, or natural pearls. It can feel overwhelming to decide between the different options. With a little bit of research, you’ll find that it’s easy to know which option is right for you.
Letting Nature Create
Natural pearls are by far the most expensive type of pearls. In fact, they are unique in the world of gemstones because they are created entirely within a living being. They are created entirely naturally and must be hunted in the wild without any indication of where they will be found.
Natural pearls occur when a small irritant, usually a parasite, finds its way inside a mollusk. They can happen in either saltwater oysters or freshwater mussels. Which creates the difference between saltwater and freshwater pearls.
Natural Pearl – A Beautiful Imperfection
The small irritant bothers the mollusk. It releases nacre (the same material that the inside of the shell is coated with) slowly and covers the irritant with layers of it over the course of years. The shape, color and pearl size that will result is determined by the irritant that it is formed around. As well as the region of the ocean where the mollusk lives.
Natural pearls come in a wide range of colors, shapes and pearl sizes. While the perfectly spherical pearls are the most valuable, some people even prefer the unusually shaped or colored pearls. Most natural pearls are stunningly luminous and reflect light beautifully.
Natural Pearls – Extremely Beautiful and Rare
It’s incredibly rare to find a natural pearl. Approximately one in 10,000 oysters will ever produce a natural pearl. Very few of those pearls will be of a variety that people will want to purchase. In fact, most of the naturally pearl-producing mollusks have been overharvested for decades. Which means that most natural pearls you will find on the market are part of vintage pieces of jewelry.
If you decide to purchase a pearl that the seller is claiming to be natural, you’ll want to make sure it has an official gemological x-ray certificate. That certificate will prove that it’s natural and of a high quality.
Natural pearls are extremely expensive, but if you can afford them, they can be an excellent investment since they hold their value well. They also look beautiful with almost any outfit and will make a wonderful heirloom to hand down to future generations.