What are the Different Types of Pearls?

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Pearl jewelry is classic, elegant, and a must-have accessory for a variety of occasions. Pearl strand necklaces and bracelets have accompanied many brides as they walk down the aisle, a pair of classic cultured pearl stud earrings make a lovely gift for women of all ages, and a ring featuring a pearl nestled in a halo of sparkling diamonds is a beautiful way to commemorate a meaningful anniversary.

The wonderful thing about pearls is there are so many types of pearls to choose from. For example, did you know that they are found in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors? There are so many things to discover about this unique gemstone.

Let’s take a look at the five major types of pearls.

Natural Pearls

Natural pearls are formed when an irritant such as
sand, dust, or something else works its way into the shell of a mollusk and gets
lodged into the soft muscle tissue. This stimulates the mollusk’s defense
mechanism of secreting nacre, which over time produces a natural pearl.

Akoya Cultured Pearls

Cultured pearls are produced
in much the same way as a natural pearl, except the irritant doesn’t appear in
the mollusk by accident, it is actually implanted into its shell with human
assistance. In the US, Akoya Cultured Pearls are the most well-known type of saltwater
pearl. They are cultivated in China and Japan.

Cultured Freshwater

Cultured Freshwater pearls are another type of pearl, which is formed similar to cultured (saltwater) pearls. They typically are not as uniform in shape as the cultured pearls. Freshwater pearls can be found nearly round or almost an egg shape. They also feature unique, irregular shapes, and a range of colors!

Tahitian Pearls

Mainly cultivated in French Polynesia, these pearls are often referred to as black pearls. However, they can range in color from soft gray, metallic silver, or a glossy midnight hue. They are cultured pearls, produced by the black-lipped oyster. Tahitian pearls are also significant in size; typically measuring 9mm or larger in diameter.

South Sea Pearls

South Sea pearls are formed in the largest pearl mollusk, Pinctada maxima; and quite sizeable with the average size being 13mm. They are found in a wide range of attractive colors and are nurtured in the warm waters of the South Sea and the Indian Ocean. Their nacre is quite thick because they take a long time to grow.

Do you have jewelry to sell? Consigning jewelry is safe and easy! At Upscale Consignment, we accept fine jewelry of the type that would be found in a jewelry store: diamonds, gemstones, gold, platinum, pearls, jade, high-end watches, and high-end designer jewelry. Send us your photos anytime you are ready to get started!

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