Because natural pearls have become so rare, most pearls sold today are cultured pearls. A cultured pearl is created by implanting a tiny bead into an oyster. Over time the oyster gradually coats the bead in multiple layers of natural minerals and proteins. These layers are referred to as nacre and are what give pearls their beautiful luster and color.
Types of Pearls
Akoya Pearls - These are the world’s best known pearls and come from Japan and China.
Tahitian Pearls - Also known as “black pearls” these come from French Polynesia, especially Tahiti, and are parented by the rare black-lipped oyster.
South Sea pearls - These giant pearls come from Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Myanmar.
Pearls are available in a variety of shades and hues ranging from white, pink, gold, blue, green, silver and black. When choosing a color you should go for the color that is most flattering on you.
Guide to Pearl Quality
Luster - The perception of luster depends on the reflection of light. A deeper and more brilliant luster is created more coatings of nacre.
Surface - Cleanliness is important and refers to the absence of blemishes; the less blemishes the higher the quality of the pearl.
Shape - Pearls vary in shape from perfectly round to irregular or baroque.
Size - A size of a pearl is measured by its diameter in millimeters. The price increases with the increase in size because larger pearls are scarcer.