Pearls are made in completely natural conditions without any human influence. A foreign body, usually a parasite, enters an oyster, mussel or clam, often during feeding. As the oyster cannot throw the foreign body out, it activates its defense mechanism and coats the irritant. The oyster deposits layer upon layer of this coating until a pearl is formed.
There are sweet-water and saltwater pearls.
Natural Pearls (Cultivated)
Cultivated pearls are also formed in a natural surrounding except that they are subject to human activity. An oyster is fed until harvesting, i.e. the pearl extraction.
The gestation period of a pearl depends on the type of oyster – sweet-water pearls take from 2-6 years to form, while sea pearls form for 2-3 years on average.
These are cultivated in lakes throughout China. The pearls are generally round in form, although they can be oval too. They can be pastel white, black, pink and beige in color. The color usually depends on the type of mussel. The average pearl size is between 2-16mm in diameter.
#1 Akoya pearls
These pearls are cultivated in sea oysters in Japan and China. They are easily recognizable by their beauty and luster, and grow between 5-11mm in diameter.
Their color spectrum includes all pastel tones – beige, white, pink and gold, as well as light blue. The akoya pearls are the strongest of all cultivated pearls.
#2 South Sea pearls
There are also South Sea pearls, which grow in large oysters. They are usually grown in the warm northern waters of Australia, Southeast Asia, Philippines, and Indonesia.
The pearls are large, smooth and round, beige, gold or silver black in color. They reach between 11-20mm in diameter and are the most expensive pearls on the market.
#3 Tahiti pearls
Tahiti pearls are cultured in a large black rock. They are dark and 9-16mm in size.
The volcanic islands of Tahiti in cooperation with the sea, which boasts a number of warm lagoons, are the perfect breeding ground for pearl-producing rocks. Aside from black and metallic grey pearls, there are also silver, green, blue and purple pearls.