What are Cultured Pearls?

Cultured pearls are pearls that are formed in salt or fresh water after a pearl farmer has inserted an irritant, such as a small bead, into the shell of an oyster. The nacre forms around the irritant—the same as natural pearls. But because humans are involved in the process, cultured pearls differ from natural pearls.

what is a cultured pearl

Natural pearls are very rare and fetch high auction prices. Finding new natural pearls is extremely difficult due to water pollution, marine predators and the premature death of oysters. That's why you'll almost always see cultured pearls when shopping for pearl jewelry.

Cultured pearls are a beautiful gemstone found in both fresh and salt water. Freshwater pearls are grown in rivers, ponds, reservoirs and lakes. Most of them are from China. Saltwater pearls are found throughout Australia and Asia. There are three main types of seawater pearls: South Sea pearls, Tahitian pearls and Akoya pearls. Seawater pearls are generally considered more valuable than freshwater pearls.

Cultured pearls can come in a variety of shapes, including oval, round, semi-circular, pear, baroque, button, drop, and round. Most pearls are white or black, but there are other pearls in pink, purple, green, etc.

Are Cultured Pearls Real?

Cultured pearls are real pearls, grown in fresh or salt water. They are formed when an irritant is inserted into the shell of an oyster. Once there is an irritant, a nacre is formed on the irritant, forming a pearl. The process of culturing pearls is monitored by the pearl cultivator - helping to keep the animals alive and forming high-quality pearls. While cultured pearls are formed differently from natural pearls, both are true gemstones.

Top 4 Facts on Cultured Pearls

Here are 4 interesting facts about cultured pearls that will tell you the charm of this gem!


Kokichi Mikimoto creates the first cultured pearl

Natural pearls are rare and very expensive, which means only the wealthy can afford them.

But that changed when Japanese entrepreneur Kokichi Mikimoto set out to create cultured pearls. In 1896, he successfully patented a cultured pearl, thus starting the cultured pearl industry. It helps meet the demand for pearls and also makes them more affordable. He is still known as the Pearl King.

2.They can be extracted without killing the mollusks

Just like natural pearls, cultured pearls are grown in oysters.

However, during the pearl extraction process, the pearls can be removed without harming or killing the mollusk. This is another reason for the popularity of cultured pearls. Over the years, the technology has undergone several changes in an effort to extend the lifespan of oysters.

3.The only gem from the living

Pearls are often called the queen of gems and are classified as gems, although they are quite different from sapphires, emeralds, diamonds, etc.

All other gems are formed deep in the earth's crust, pearls are the only gems that are formed underwater by living things! This makes pearls very special and unique.

4.99% of pearls on the market are cultured

Natural pearls are not readily available.

Did you know that only 1 in 10,000 oysters naturally form pearls? This makes them extremely rare and very expensive. It is impossible to satisfy needs through natural processes. So when Mikimoto started making cultured pearls, it changed the pearl industry forever.

Today, almost

99% of pearls on the market are cultured


How to Tell if a Pearl is Real?


Is this a real pearl? Try this test: Take two pearls and rub them lightly against each other. You should feel slightly gritty. This sandy feel is natural and is caused by layers of shell proteins that mollusks place around the nucleus to form pearls. Enamel, plastic, and other imitations will feel glassy and smooth..

If you only have one pearl, you can also do this test (dental test) by gently rubbing the pearl against the underside of the tooth to get a feel for the gritty texture. Be sure to ask the owner first!

Which Pearl is Right for Me?


Take your time to buy pearls. Like any worthwhile investment, buying pearls deserves careful consideration. Whether you're looking for a pearl ring, necklace or a pair of pearl studs earrings, savor the process and seek quality within your budget.

Choosing a pearl is a personal decision: which pearl color do you find most attractive? Which ones resonate with you the most? The goal of these pages, along with our pearl advisors, is to assist you in your decision-making process.

Also Read: How Pearls are Formed?