Cultured Or Natural Pearls—Which is the Best?

pearl jewelry

Pearls are a category in the jewelry industry that many people patronize. Unfortunately, not many people are educated with knowledge about pearls, how they are formed and what kinds of pearls are available. One of the most common questions people asks about pearls are the difference between cultured and natural pearls. Because of the lack of knowledge in the field, many myths are often made up by other people.

Natural Pearls

A natural pearl is a pearl that has grown naturally and without any external intervention to start the process. A parasite, a grain of sand or a foreign particle finds its way into a mollusk that produces pearls. The mollusk then produces nacre over the foreign object as a defense mechanism.

The layers of nacre then build up over time and that is how pearls are formed. Natural pearls can be difficult to find because of this very extensive and time consuming process.

Cultured Pearls

A cultured pearl on the other hand is a pearl made through human efforts. They are not fake nor are they imitations. Rather, pearl farmers use the same process pearl-producing mollusks do in order to make pearls. The only difference is, pearl farmers intervene in order for the process to start. They inject a  foreign particle (often a grain of sand) into the mollusk and they let it rest for a minimum of 7 years until the layers of nacre have turned it into a real pearl.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Buying Natural Pearls

There are some advantages and disadvantages to purchasing natural and cultured pearls. Both kinds of pearls grow in freshwater and in saltwater. The advantage to buying natural pearls are mostly bragging rights, since natural pearls are hard to find, you will be the envy of everyone once they find out you own natural pearls.

Also, you are a proud owner and testament to one of the most beautiful natural processes on the planet. On the other hand, a disadvantage can be the price. Most natural pearls are extremely hard to find and cost a fortune; especially perfectly shaped ones. Because natural pearls are an all natural process many natural pearls may not be as perfectly shaped as cultured ones.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Buying Cultured Pearls

The advantage to buying cultured pearls would have to be the price. By buying cultured pearls instead of natural ones, you can save a lot of money and you still get the same quality natural pearls do.

Cultured pearls aren’t fake they are just started with the help of artificial intervention, this may be a huge turn off for naturalists, perfectionists and those who are keen on tradition. Cultured pearls can also be bleached or colored.

It depends on you and what you are looking for, the kind of pearls that are right for you.