For centuries, pearls are mainly used for jewelry making. It is also known as the symbol of beauty and purity. There are many different types of pearls, some rarer than others. And learning about types of pearls is important when adding popular pearl jewelry to your collection. Want to know more about them? If the answer is yes, read on.

Different Types Of Pearls

  • Natural Pearls
  • Cultured Pearls
  • Freshwater Pearls
  • Saltwater Pearls
  • Imitation pearls

Natural Pearls
Natural pearls are completely the work of Mother Nature. They are extremely rare which are almost 100% calcium carbonate and conchiolin. A natural pearl can take any shape, round being the rarest, and has a series of concentric growth rings in the center. You may be able to purchase small, natural pearls, but they will be very expensive.

Cultured Pearls
Cultured pearls are grown in pearl farms. They are also known as nucleated and non-nucleated or tissue nucleated cultured pearls. In this particular case, beads are placed in the shell and the pearl that is formed takes the shape of the bead. After six months, as the pearl is formed, it is removed from the oyster. A cultured pearl gets the shape of the bead. Although, cultured pearls are formed in a natural way, they can be differentiated from other types by X-rays.

Freshwater Pearls
As the name suggests, these pearls are grown in freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds. There are variety of shapes and natural colors, these pearls are solid nacre. Freshwater pearls are more durable and are highly resistant as compared to saltwater pearls. As for the shape of this type pearls, they are very irregular in shape and are rarely round.

Saltwater Pearls
These are cultivated in mollusks, which live in saltwater bodies, like oceans, bays, seas, and gulfs. The most interesting thing is that these pearls are perfect round shape, though one can find irregular saltwater pearls as well (in some cases only). They range in size from 2mm (tiny) to 10mm (rare) and are usually white or cream in color and round in shape. What’s more, saltwater pearls are much more expensive than freshwater pearls, but are not as much durable.

Imitation pearls
Imitation pearls are usually a coated glass bead. Most have a high luster, but not the depth of luster seen on high quality cultured pearls. It can easily separate an imitation pearl from a cultured or natural pearl. It can be a challenge, though, to determine if the pearl is cultured or natural. And, many pearls undergo treatments to either enhance their luster or alter their color.

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