For times immemorial, pearls have been associated with beauty and purity. Not only are they regarded as both classic and contemporary, they are a must-have in any wardrobe. Pearls are found in both saltwater and in freshwater. The different types of pearls are as follows:
NATURAL PEARLS – Natural pearls are an extremely rare find. They were originally found in the Persian Gulf but unfortunately, today, most have already been harvested. You may find small, natural pearls, but they will be costly.
CULTURED PEARLS – Such kind of pearls are grown in pearl farms. Mollusks are raised until they are old enough to accept the mother-of-pearl bead nucleus. After a delicate surgical procedure is carried out, the technician implants the bead and the mollusks are then returned to the water and dedicatedly cared for while the pearl forms. Not all produce a pearl and not all of them are of a superior quality.
SALTWATER PEARLS – The Akoya cultured pearls are found in Japanese and Chinese water. They vary in size right from 2mm to 10mm and are usually white or cream in colour and round in shape. Australia, Indonesia, and the Phillipines produce the South Sea Pearl, the largest of all pearls. Their size varies from 9mm to 20mm and is naturally white, cream or golden in colour. Another type of saltwater pearl is the Tahiti pearl which is interestingly not exclusively from Tahiti. They are, however, grown in several of the islands of French Polynesia, including Tahiti. They are about 8mm to 16mm in size.
FRESHWATER PEARLS – These pearls are predominantly found in Chinese freshwaters. Although they are white and resemble the akoya cultured pearls in shape and size. They are produced in various shapes and in an array of pastel colours.
IMITATION PEARLS – These imitation pearls have a high luster and are usually a coated glass bead. It is quite a challenge to determine whether the pearl is natural or cultured. In order to enhance the luster of a pearl or alter their colour, a pearl undergoes treatments.
But, it is always advisable to take tips and pointers from an educated jeweler before making an investment.