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An explanation about "cultured pearls" and "natural pearls"

Updated: Jan 26, 2023

Without knowing the complete story of a pearl's formation, it is easy to say that cultured pearls are natural pearls. Even though these two types of pearls involve the formation of pearl layer, they are actually quite different.


The main difference between cultured pearls and natural pearls is the way in which they are formed.


Cultured pearls are pearls that are created by human intervention. This is done by inserting a small, round object called a "pearl nucleus" into the mollusk, which is then coated with nacre (also known as "pearl layer", a substance made of calcium carbonate) to form a pearl. The pearl is then harvested after a period of time (starting from 6 months and up, depending on the type of pearls and the pearl farmers).


On the other hand, natural pearls are formed without human intervention. They are created when an irritant, such as a small piece of sand or a tiny marine animal, gets into the mollusk's shell and the mollusk secretes nacre to cover the irritant. Over time, this process results in the formation of a natural pearl.


Another difference is that natural pearls are much rarer than cultured pearls. Natural pearls are found in a small percentage of wild mollusks and are very difficult to find. They are found mostly by occasion. They can be very valuable and are considered to be luxury or collectors' items. Cultured pearls, on the other hand, are more readily available and often more consistent in size and shape.


Both natural and cultured pearls do go through a similar formation process. Cultured pearls require something similar to the "in vitro fertilization" or "test tube baby". Natural pearls would be entirely by nature.


Nowadays, 99% of the pearls that we see in the regular pearl market are cultured pearls. Only a very rare number of pearl specialists in this world would carry and sell natural pearls.


If you are interested to try your luck in finding the natural pearls, please visit our pearl farm. Otherwise, you can check out our affiliated partner for further information about pearls at The Pearl Farm.

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