Pearl: Treasures From The Sea


How Pearls are formed

Pearls are made by irritants in shell producing Molluscs. These irritants can be anything small from a speck of dust to a tiny stone or even certain organisms. What the mollusc does is coat the irritant with a substance called nacre continuously until it forms a pearl. Like layers of an onion, many coats of nacre are made one on top of the other. Depending on how well the nacre aligns, the pearls lustre will either  be beautifully reflective or foggy.

Certain factors like the time taken to form the pearl or even the size of the Mollusc will determine how large the pearl will be, with the largest of them being either South Sea Pearls or Tahitian Pearls. Also the colour of the pearl changes according to the inside tones of the Mollusc, that is why we can see golden, pink and even black pearls available.

Natural Vs Cultured Pearl

Culturing pearls is a more modern technique of producing more pearls faster. Like with a natural pearl the process within a mollusc remains the same, the only difference is that people insert an irritant into the mollusc. Due to the only difference being an irritant introduced naturally or manually it is very hard to tell the difference between a natural or cultured pearl, with the naked eye it’s almost impossible.

Using a microscope we can see the difference within the pearl. We can see how the layers of nacre are stacked on top of each other. With a natural pearl it literally looks like the inside of an onion with several layers from the core to its surface. The cultured pearls in contrast look like an orange, where the core is much larger and there are fewer layers of nacre stacked on top of it in comparison to the natural pearl.

Due to the less risky and efficient sourcing, cultured pearls are usually far more affordable than natural pearls. Furthermore the core of the cultured pearls are made round so that to produce a perfectly round pearl. Due to price and shape the demand of cultured pearls have boomed, in recent years.