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Are all Tahitian pearls black? What is the difference between a cultured pearl and a natural pearl?

Are freshwater pearls worse than saltwater pearls? Are South Sea Pearls Really Gold? Good questions. With all the different colours and types of pearls, it can take time to know what you are looking at. 

a natural pearl

For those looking to buy pearls, or gemstone lovers wanting to learn more, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about pearls. Are all Tahitian pearls black? The Tahitian cultured pearls are not exclusively black, they are not even Tahitian cultured pearls. 

What is the difference between a cultured pearl and a natural pearl? 

Tahitian cultured pearls, called "black" because of their exotic dark colours, can also be grey, blue, green and brown. They are grown in the lagoons of small islands belonging to a group known as French Polynesia. Tahiti, the largest island, serves the group as a trading hub rather than a pearl-farming Mecca. 

Tahitian pearls are cultivated for about two years in the Pinctada margaritifera cumingi, a large mollusc native to French Polynesia. One of the differences between this unique oyster and other species is the dark colour of the inside of the shell. This so-called "black-lipped" oyster also has black mantle edges - "lips," which give this animal its descriptive name.

Today, the most sought-after Tahitian cultured pearls range in colour from dark grey-green to grey-blue with pink or violet undertones. Pearl colours are determined by several factors, including differences in the host oyster, differences in the tissue colour of the implanted donor mussel, the number and thickness of the nacre layers, and differences in the growth environment, such as temperature and water quality. Tahitian is the most common variant of grey, black, green and blue, but other colours also exist. 

With an average size of 8-14 mm, Tahitian cultured pearls, especially gem-quality round pearls, are very expensive. According to the latest information from the Gemological Institute of America, up to 40% of implanted cultured black-lipped oysters produce gem-quality pearls, but only about 5% of the pearls they produce are round. And only 1-2% of the total harvest produces round cultured pearls of the highest quality. 

No wonder a Tahitian pearl necklace is so expensive! 

If you wish to wear Tahitian cultured pearls, you can do so without breaking the bank by choosing a single pearl necklace, pearl earrings, a single pearl ring, or baroque (asymmetrical) pearls. These designs are just as exotic and significantly cheaper than the corresponding bits. What is the difference between a cultured pearl and a natural pearl? 

Natural pearls are formed when an irritant, such as a parasite, enters a pearl-producing animal, such as an oyster or mollusc. To protect itself, the animal wraps the irritant in mother-of-pearl, a combination of organic substances that also form what is known as mother-of-pearl. 

Over time, layers of nacre build up around the invader, eventually forming the organic gemstone we all know as pearl. cultured pearls are created like natural pearls, with one major difference: They are not created by chance, but intentionally when man interferes with nature. To create cultured pearls, a skilled technician, called a nucleator, induces the pearl growth process by surgically inserting an irritant — usually a nacreous pearl and a piece of mantle tissue — into the mollusc.

The animal is then released and monitored, cleaned, etc. 

until the pearl can be harvested. The Chinese have been cultivating freshwater bubble pearls (pearls that grow beneath fur in an animal's carapace) since the 13th century, but Kokichi Mikimoto, a Japanese, is credited with developing modern pearl cultivation techniques. In the early 1920s, Mikimoto was selling his cultured pearls around the world. 

natural pearls may be very beautiful, but due to overfishing, pollution and other factors, they are indeed a rare find. Therefore almost all pearls sold today are cultured. There are two main types: freshwater and saltwater. South Sea cultured pearls, Tahitian cultured pearls, and Akoya cultured pearls are all saltwater pearls. Cultured pearls of all types can be found in jewellery stores around the world.

Are Saltwater Pearls Better Than Freshwater Pearls? 

It depends on who you ask, but many pearl experts today agree that cultured freshwater pearls can rival their saltwater cousins ​​in beauty. With improved cultivation techniques, freshwater pearl producers are producing beautiful, round, sparkling pearls that represent a vast improvement over the rippled rice Krispies-shaped gemstones that characterized freshwater pearl farming in the past.

 freshwater pearls are primarily made in China and are often nucleated or set only with mantle tissue (instead of mother-of-pearl pearls). Cloth-cored freshwater pearls do not contain a pearl initial as they are 100% mother-of-pearl. This gives them a beautiful shine and a durable finish that will not chip or peel to reveal the pearl inside. Conversely, pearls th


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