Cultured pearls are basically pearls that had been created in an oyster farming environment under conditions that are very controlled. Cultured pearls are able to be farmed using two groups of bivalve mollusk which are:
- Saltwater pearl oysters
- Freshwater river mussels
Natural pearls are pearls formed by nature and if they develop it is by chance. But cultured pearls are creations of human innovation formed by the insertion of tissue graft from another oyster. A pearl sac forms and the inner side triggers calcium carbonate, in the form of nacre.
Fact: Generally freshwater pearl jewelry will pass through 4 traders before it finally arrives the market. However more addition is made on to the jewelry to add its beauty and highlight it in the best possible way.
One pearl at a time
The cultured pearls that currently are on the market can be divided into two categories. The first covers the beaded cultured pearls such as:
- South Sea
These pearls develop one pearl at a time. This limits the number of pearls at harvest time. They are usually harvested after.
- 1 year for Akoya
- 2-4 years for Tahitian
- 2-4 years for South Sea
- 2-7 years for freshwater
There is a 2nd category including the non-beaded freshwater cultured pearls such as:
- Biwa pearls
- Chinese pearls
The pearls develop in the mantle and on each wing up to nearly 25 grafts can be inserted. These pearls are able to developfast with manysmall pearls and flood the market. But impressive improvements in quality have developed in the last decade when the prior grain-shaped nuggets are compared to the nearly round pearls of today.
In the last 2 years large and almost perfectly rounded bead nucleated pearls in diameters of 15mm have been produced with luster that is metallic.
Beaded cultured pearl
A bead in a ‘beaded cultured’ pearl is normally a polished ball made from the mussel shell from freshwater. Along with a very tinytissue piece of the mantle from another donor shell andit serves as a catalyst for the pearl sac when surgically implanted into the productive organ of a saltwater mollusk. Once the bit of tissue is used it then isimplanted into the mantle of the host mussel. The pearl oysters referred to as Tahitian or South Sea survive the surgery to remove the pearl that is finished, then implanted with a new, larger bead as part of the same procedure and returned to the water for another two or three years.
This is the unique and long technique used in the business of growing cultured pearls.