Pearls are prized for their beauty and rarity. A natural pearl is formed by nature more or less by chance, however, a cultured pearl is a pearl that is created by an oyster farmer under controlled conditions. The cultured pearls on the market today can be easily segregated into two categories. The first category consists of beaded cultured pearls that include Akoya, South Sea, Tahiti, and modern freshwater pearls. The second category consists of non-beaded freshwater cultured pearls that include the Biwa or Chinese pearls.

Pearl cultivation is a process that dates back to a century. A piece of tissue called mantle tissue is taken from a donor shell and inserted into the host shell. This initiates the creation of a pearl sac, the tiny beginnings of what will eventually become a pearl. They are then placed in water and are monitored for several years (1-7 years) before the pearl is eventually harvested.

Almost all cultured pearls are pinkish-white in color; they are identically sized and are completely round. The beauty of the cultured pearls is attained by keeping the host shell in just the right water temperature and pH balance in the waters used to cultivate them. The majority of cultured pearls come from Japan and China, however, they can also be produced anywhere in the Asia-Pacific area.

High-quality cultured pearls are almost reflective in nature and appear to have several layers to them. This phenomenon is called as luster. The water temperature and makeup, as well as longer cultivation periods,  results in a thicker nacre which contributes to their lustrous sheen. They are available naturally in various colors that include pink, silver, cream, white, gold, gray, and blue. They rarely occur in black, green or any other exotic colors without a certain amount of color enhancement.

Cultured pearls are best known for their use in beautiful, symmetric, and well-matched pearl strands, which feature pearls that are nearly identical. They are commonly used for making pendants, studs or drop earrings, statement necklaces, and rings.

Cultured pearls are delicate because the nacre on the surface of the pearl is soft and can wear or chip away over time if you don’t treat them with care. You should always store your pearls separately in a box with soft lining and away from metal jewelry that can rub against them. You should be careful that you do not get any makeup, hairspray or harsh soaps or chemicals on your pearl jewelry as it may permanently ruin its luster.

If you are looking for a piece of jewelry that looks unique and stunning than a cultivated pearl piece of jewelry is your best alternative as it attains the outer natural beauty of a pearl without having prices that can only be afforded by royalty.