There are many types of pearls – with this wide range are many colors, shapes as well as sources, it is easy for anyone to get confused when shopping for any jewelry made with pearls. A pearl necklace is a piece of jewelry most often bought for gifts and it is good to have good information when shopping.
Cultured vs. Natural Pearls
Those who are wearing any pearl jewelry probably have no information about what they are wearing. They are certainly surprised to know that most pearls that are currently used are not grown naturally but are today farmed. Natural pearls are not widely available because of what is known as years of over-fishing and the demand for pearls that are perfectly round for use in jewelry. Natural pearls take years to develop into a pearl that is not very perfect for jewelry.
But beginning in the 20th century there was a new process for growing pearls and this new method was referred to as “cultured” pearls. This process was essentially developed by inserting an irritant in an oyster and taking care of these oysters until they have finished developing a pearl. Almost all jewelry is made from cultured pearls.
Pearls used in Pearl Jewelry
When searching for that perfect gift, you will find pearls that are all different in color, shape and size; all based on the mollusk variety, growth conditions, methods used for harvesting and other features.
There are several varieties with the most popular having their own set of qualities. These include:
- South Sea
Pearls and their description
Akoya pearls are the usually cream or white but they also can be black or grey. The pearls called Cortez can be found in a range of colors, even shimmering black. Pearls called Mabe are pearls having a luster that is very high while the South Sea pearls are amongst the biggest pearls cultured and also can be cream, white, or gold. Tahitian pearls are silver, grey or black and are the most sought after especially those that are black with peacock green overtones.
Pearl jewelry choices are moving well beyond what was at one time the traditional white pearl necklace to include an array of choices that are all different in colors, sizes and finishes.