What are cultured pearls, exactly? You will notice that they are usually a lot less expensive than regular sea pearls. It is important to know the difference when you’re shopping for pearl necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings. You want to make sure you pay a fair price for the types of pearls that you’re purchasing.
What are Cultured Pearls
Because pearls were so expensive, more so than diamonds at the time, cultured pearls were developed. Now you can find a pearl in every oyster. Before this cultured pearl method came along, a pearl diver had to collect hundreds of oysters to find a good pearl. But today, these oysters are raised in oyster farms in the ocean or in fresh water, just like any pearl generating mollusk.
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When a mollusk, or oyster, gets an irritant, it can’t just spit it out, many times. So, it’ll coat the little invader in nacre. This makes the invading object no longer much of a problem and the mollusk keeps coating it more and more, creating a pearl. With cultured pearls, the irritant is put into the mollusk by man. It isn’t just some random parasite the mollusk found. Cultured pearls are started with a little piece of shell or bone and the mollusk treats it just like it would a natural parasite. It starts coating it with nacre, making a very beautiful iridescent pearl over time.
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Pearls can cost a great deal of money. When the pearls occur naturally in the ocean, it’ll take opening up thousands of mollusks to get enough pearls to make a necklace. Cultured pearls have a pearl inside every mollusk, so it takes far less to find enough perfect pearls. Therefore, cultured pearls are far less expensive and they are every bit as real.