To better understand the amazing world of pearls, it is important to differentiate between three types. Natural, cultured and imitation pearls.
Natural, cultured and imitation pearls
As we have discussed in previous articles, pearls are produced as a result of the attack or intrusion of a parasite, sometimes causing a wound. When the mollusk’s immune system feels attacked, it develops a substance that we know by the name of nacre (calcium carbonate, aragonite and conchiolin that acts as a binder to give it hardness). And it is with mother of pearl that it envelops and neutralizes the intruder.
In the case of natural pearls, this accident occurs naturally. While in the case of cultured pearls it is produced by human manipulation, introducing some rest of shell or mother of pearl into the mollusk, in most cases a spherical core of a synthetic material is used, serving as the base for the envelope. of mother-of-pearl.
A specialized pearl maker could differentiate a natural pearl from a cultured one, observing the perforation that the pearls have at their base, in any case an x-ray test being the 100% safe method.
Depending on the variety of the mollusk and the cultivation time, the size of the pearl will vary. The average cultivation time can range from 2 to 4 years, and can reach up to eight years in some species. The longer its cultivation time, the thicker the layer of mother-of-pearl will be and thus its size will increase, as a result of this, its price will be. Although to get larger pearls, they introduce larger cores so that the culture is not very long and their price is more affordable in the market.
It is also convenient to say that cultured pearls can be dyed, achieving a wider chromatic variety. Detail that provides jewelry designers with the ability to create more harmonious creations with current fashion trends.
The production of cultured pearls reaches 95% of the total market, being the Jewelery industry the one that monopolizes this trade.
On the other hand, there are imitation pearls, subjected to an industrial and mechanical process. Achieving in this way the perfect cloning both in color and in size and shape. Totally losing the character of natural and cultured pearls. However, this allows for much more competitive prices for the jewelry industry.
Materials such as ceramics, glass and plastic are used, in many cases achieving high quality imitations that can easily confuse the inexperienced consumer.
I finish today’s article with a simple trick that will help you differentiate a real pearl from a fake one. And it consists of gently brushing the pearl with a tooth, in the case of imitations you will notice a smooth and soft surface. While if it is authentic, you will appreciate the slightly sandy surface, caused by the calcium carbonate of its composition.