Pearls are in demand due to its even structure, lustre and significance. In Asian countries, royal families own various sorts of pearl jewellery and wear them on special occasion defining their wealth and royalty in society. Pearl was initially cultured naturally, but with increasing demand, oyster farmers have started cultivating pearls. Pearl is formed when a tiny object intrudes into the oyster shell and is covered with layers of nacre.
There are two types of pearls that are majorly obtained in the market. Firstly, the freshwater pearls that grow in freshwater mussels that survives in lakes, ponds or rivers. They can grow in hot and cold climate as well. Secondly, the saltwater pearls obtained from oysters are in oceans. They are cultivated in volcanic atolls or lagoons.
Here are some characteristics of saltwater pearl –
- These pearls are glossy and lustrous because their lacre is thinner compared to freshwater pearl which is around 0.5 mm up to 6mm.
- It is difficult to find different shapes and colours in saltwater pearl so expect to see them only in round shape.
- The size of these pearls is bigger compared to freshwater pearls because they are cultured for a prolonged period of time.
- The oysters are small that produce saltwater gems therefore there are limited amount of pearls obtained. Hence, they are expensive and smaller in size.
Here is a list of different kinds of pearls and their sources –
- Rose pink or creamy white in colour is common for Persian Gulf pearls.
- Gulf of Manaar creates creamy white and pale pearl which can also have overtone of green, blue and violet.
- Australian pearls are known for its silver colour.
- South Sea generally produces white colour pearls, but you can also expect black, grey and yellow coloured pearls.
- Japanese gems are famous for their greenish touch on white pearls.
- Venezuelan pearls are glassy and both white and black color is available.
- Californian abalone produces blue, green, yellow and many other colours of pearls.
Saltwater and freshwater pearls are both cultivated in a similar way, even their physical and chemical properties are similar. Saltwater gem is more refined and has lustre compared to freshwater. However, now that freshwater pearls are being cultivated artificially by farmers, they are able to meet most of criteria of saltwater pearl.