Natural pearls are formed naturally, without any human intervention and are very rare and expensive.
Cultured pearls are cultivated on oyster farms. To create them, a tiny bead is implanted into the oyster. Gradually, the oyster coats the bead in many layers of natural minerals and proteins known as nacre. It is the nacre that gives pearls their beautiful lustre and colour.
The larger the pearl, the more valuable it is. The most valuable pearls are South Sea and Akoya – black Tahitian pearls. Cultured pearls grown in rivers are called freshwater pearls. They vary in colour and shape and are less expensive than saltwater pearls.
Freshwater & saltwater
Saltwater pearls are grown within pearl oysters in oceans. Today, saltwater pearl oysters are cultivated in protected lagoons and volcanic atolls.
Natural freshwater pearls are formed within various species of freshwater mussels living in lakes, rivers, ponds and other freshwater sources.
Although freshwater and saltwater pearls look quite similar, pearls from the sea are more highly valued than freshwater pearls.
Pearls should be worn as often as possible, as the natural oils in the body keep them shiny and lustrous.