When a small object is embedded in the tissue of either an oyster or a mollusk, a pearl is formed. The mantle tissue of the mollusks then releases a mix of organic and crystalline substances called nacre. When the nacre piles up into lawyers, the irritant then becomes a pearl. The question is on how pearls are cultivated or harvested?
Another way for pearls to be produced is when certain stimuli, like let’s say a parasite, is lodged in between the shell of the mollusk or the oyster. Then the nacre is also released around the intruder. This then leads to the build-up which produces pearls.
There are more types of pearls out there than one can imagine, and of all the pearls, the Tahitian pearls are one of the most expensive. When buying pearl jewelry, you must first know what you’re getting, and this article aims at educating you, the reader, on the different pearl qualities available on the market.
First, let’s have a quick look at the exclusive black pearl. These pearls are not grown in Tahiti. They are commonly available in different shades of gray and blue, as well as dark green or brown. The reason that these pearls are not actually from Tahiti is that the islands that surround Tahiti (French Polynesian islands) are where these pearls are grown and harvested.
Of all the different Tahitian pearls, the most exclusive ones are the green and blue varieties. The factors that determine the actual color shade varieties are dependent on things such as the environment that these pearls were grown, the water temperature and the donor tissues of the oysters.
Most people don’t know how pearls are formed. It all starts when a parasite enters the oyster and seeks a source of food. The oyster then protects itself by coating the parasite with its natural substance and keeps doing so. The parasite eventually dies and the layers of nacre that form over time, and what we get at the end is a pearl.
So then, what are cultured pearls? These pearls are pretty much the same as natural pearls in that the nacre layers are still required to form around a small object to produce a pearl. Except that this time, the farmers are the ones who purposely put an intruder into the oyster with surgical precision. The oysters or mussels are then placed back into the water and nurtured carefully.
There are also differences between the fresh water and salt water pearls. In the past, the salt water varieties were the preferred choice. However, as culturing technology has improved over the years, freshwater pearls are fast becoming more renown for their perfection. Compared to their saltwater cousins, these are more consistently lustrous and perfectly round.
Not all oysters produce quality pearls, however. The quality of each piece is determined by its roundness, color, and perfection. Only approximately 40% of these pearls produce a top quality pearl worthy of selling in the jewelry market. And of this number, only 5% of them are perfectly round, and these are the truly expensive ones that fetch a high price. This is exactly the reason why when you buy a strand of matching pearls on a necklace, it can cost you an arm and a leg.
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