How are pearls formed?
There are 2 types of real pearls: natural pearl and cultured pearl
The process of pearl formation can be briefly visualized as follows: when small or very small foreign bodies get into the body of mussels, scallops, snails ... The friction of the grains causes damage. Instinctively, these living organisms will reflex to heal themselves by secreting calcium carbonate (CaCO3) that encapsulates the foreign body. This substance is held together by a keratin-like organic compound called Conchiolin.
A combination of Calcium Carbonate and Conchiolin is called Nacre. Calcium carbonate accounts for more than 90%, with the remainder being water and organic compounds that give life to the gem. The nacre structure is made up of thousands of thin layers of calcium carbonate crystals with a thickness of about 0.3 mm. This structure affects color, luster, stability and elasticity of a pearl.
The outer layer of a pearl has a close bond between metallic elements such as magnesium, aluminum, ion, copper, platinum ... All these elements will give birth to colorful shimmering pearls.
Cultured Pearls in the shell
Picture source: VladyslaV/Shutterstock
Similar to the formation process of natural pearls, but cultured pearls are pearls with human hand intervention. So what's the biggest difference? In natural pearls, a foreign object, such as a grain of sand, accidentally falls inside the clam and from there the pearl naturally forms. As for cultured pearls, an object is implanted in the nuclear culture and nurturing process.
How to tell the difference between natural and cultured pearls
The biggest difference between a natural and a cultured pearl is the layer of nacre on the outside. In natural pearls, the beautiful five-color shimmering nacre, you can feel the shade with your hand skin. Seeing with the naked eye, you feel like you're looking in a mirror through them.
The next difference between these two pearls is in the shape and size. Natural pearls are formed and exist in the wild, so the pearl shape is very diverse and has a unique luster.
Cultured pearls have human intervention in the implantation and nurturing processes. So the shape of a jewel is round, oval or waterdrop, completely decisive. When harvested, the ratio of pearls is quite uniform and can also be polished or dyed to increase brightness and color.
Natural pearls are mainly wrapped nacre, but the inner core is extremely tiny, just a grain of sand that accidentally fell. The cultured pearls are quite the opposite, the implanted part is quite large, the layer of nacre is thin.