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Natural pearls vs cultured pearls - do you know the differences between them?

Data: 29/10/2021 | Reading time: 5 minutes | Views: 17726


In case you haven't noticed already, all the pearl jewelry that you can find on our website are natural and have the following indicator Pearls AAA 0.6 cm. Because we received questions about the typology of pearls and semi-precious stones of Anyoli jewelry, we decided to put together a short guide to natural pearls.

These, in order to become jewelry, follow a long training process. Being natural and therefore difficult to control by humans, pearls have become very valuable.

So, in the following lines we will explore together, some differences between natural, wild and cultured pearls, differences that are reflected, of course, in the value they have on the market.

Pearls have been harvested for over 6,000 years, but until the recent advent of cultured pearls, pearl jewelry was so rare that only nobles and extremely wealthy people could afford it.

In the Middle Ages they will be assigned a sacred symbol, as a sign of love for God, they being mentioned in the New Testament. Now, natural pearls are extremely rare and that is why cultured pearls are used.

Today in pearl cultures, a shell of salt water, after the delicate harvesting of the pearl (not cut as in the past) is reintroduced into the marine environment to restore the colony, and one freshwater produces several pearls at once, then is reused by several or in the cultivation of pearls.

The first difference between the two is the training process.

To understand the difference between natural (wild) and cultured pearls, we must know the process of their formation. This is the major difference between the two categories. Although they have slightly different formation processes, cultured pearls are also natural pearls. Natural or wild pearls are formed accidentally, without human intervention. Natural pearls are born when a foreign body (micro-organic parasite or sand thread) enters between the shell and the mantle.

It irritates the mantle, which begins to secrete mother-of-pearl through the epithelial cells, to protect itself from possible irritation. The mollusk deposits around that body thousands and thousands of concentric layers of mother-of-pearl, which is the pearl.

This process can take between 10 and 20 years. During the process of pearl formation, light penetrates the very thin layers of mother-of-pearl, producing the phenomenon of pearl iridescence. The substances that make up a pearl are 85-90% aragonite (calcium carbonate crystals), 4-6% conchioline, an organic compound that forms the pearl backbone and 2-4% water.

Each mollusk secretes its own mother-of-pearl color. From here, results the uniqueness and the great diversity of colors and iridescences of the pearls, being extremely difficult to find sets of pearls with the same shade. The sideful is in turn made up of millions of microscopic aragonite plates, in hexagonal and polygonal shapes. Sideful also contains elastic biopolymers (lustrine and chitin) and silky proteins. This complex of organic substances gives the iridescent appearance of mother-of-pearl and reaches a very low hardness, pearls being considered relatively soft stones.

Cultured pearls began to be harvested in the twentieth century by "culture" their production being induced by the introduction of a tissue or microfiber in the shell of the mollusk, these being as "true" as the wild ones. Moreover, the old method of obtaining pearls, today, would be considered a barbarity due to the extremely large number of mollusks killed for a few pearls obtained.

The second difference between natural and cultured pearls is the shape of the pearl.

The natural ones, because they are formed by an accidental process, have a slightly irregular shape. Round natural pearls are extremely rare and incredibly valuable. That's why they have exorbitant prices.

To obtain a round cultured pearl, the process is a bit simpler - specialists place a round graft as close as possible to the center of the oyster or mollusk, and it will begin to secrete mother-of-pearl on the round graft. Baroque pearls are positioned on the oyster wall. Cultured pearls are also available in the form of a drop, but also in the form of a button.

Unlike cultured pearls, natural pearls are usually small in size, with the price of pearls increasing depending on their size and shape. Large round pearls are the most valuable.

Regarding the colors of natural pearls, they have several reflections but do not have defined colors. Cultured pearls are available in 5 colors (white, black, pink, purple, gold), with different tones: pearls in light colors are produced in shades of white, pink, silver, gold and blue, while dark pearls varies from peacock green and purple to all shades of gray. The color of a pearl is above all a matter of taste. Even if some shades such as white-pink, white-silver or pale gold are extremely rare or less sought after, these features increase their value, but do not highlight their quality.

The most important factors that are taken into account when determining the value of the cultured pearl are luster, color, shape, surface and size.

The luster is the most important indication of the quality of the pearl. The luster of a pearl represents the radiant surface of the pearl and is appreciated depending on its brightness and ability to reflect light. A pearl with an intense luster will be particularly bright and the reflections like a mirror, while a pearl with a faint luster will have a milky or dusty appearance.

The luster is determined by the quality of the mother-of-pearl, the smoothness and the diameter of the pearl. Among the factors that affect the pearl mother-of-pearl are the place of cultivation, the quality of the mother shell, the time spent inside it, the type of shell or pollution. Intense luster can only be given by thick layers of mother-of-pearl and cannot be overlooked or adjusted according to the jewelry's mount.

Quality A and AA pearls have small imperfections and do not have a very strong shine. AAA and AAAA pearls are almost perfect, with a round shape, strong shine and a surface without imperfections.