How do Pearls grow?
Pearls are naturally produced by the defensive response of a bivalve or gastropod. When invaded by an unwanted intruder, such as rough particules or a small organism, the creature forms an encasing vesicle around the offending particle, we call this the “Pearl Sac”. The pearl sac is then filled with a substance from its internal mantle called nacre, more commonly known as mother of pearl. This builds up in concentric layers within the pearl sac, hardening with each deposit and encasing the particle. Many repetitions of this process is what eventually forms a natural pearl.
A pearl is a natural creation of a shellfish living in a lake or the sea that filters water to obtain the nutrients it needs to live. The shellfish's body can occasionally be irritated by bacteria, bubbles, or other small objects. To protect itself from the elements, a nacre sac is created to enclose these small particles. Gradually, more layers of nacre are deposited to isolate the irritant until, eventually, a lustrous pearl develops.
Despite this, it is extremely rare for natural pearls to occur in this way, and also extremely rare for a natural pearl to meet the strict criteria now established in the industry regarding shape. Since ancient times, humans have tried to unlock the secrets of nature in order to initiate the pearl making process.
Natural, Cultured & Simulated Pearls
Natural and Cultured pearls are both "real" pearls, being made of the same material, grown by the same molluscs and extracted in the same way.
The difference is that with cultured pearls, the initial process which causes the pearl generation has been initiated by a pearl farmer, rather than having occurred by chance in the wild.
Simulated pearls, which we do not supply, are simply imitations which have been manufactured using an artificial process.