Pearls have been synonymous with elegance, class, and versatility, and are appropriate for almost any occasion. Have you ever wondered how these beauties are formed? When a foreign body or disturbance enters the shell of an oyster, it reacts by going into defensive mode. The oyster begins to secrete a smooth, hard crystal-like substance called nacre around the irritant in order to protect itself. As long as the irritant remains within the oyster’s body, the oyster will continue to secrete nacre around it, layer upon layer. As a result, we receive the gift of a beautiful and lustrous gem that is a pearl.
There are natural pearls and cultured pearls. Natural pearls are rare and difficult to find. They are often hunted then made into jewelry. Cultured pearls are made of the same material but are grown in a controlled environment by pearl farmers.
There are two types of cultured pearls: saltwater and freshwater. Freshwater pearls are grown in lakes, ponds, and rivers. These cultured pearls are started by the insertion of a small piece of mantle tissue as the pearl starter. A freshwater mollusk can coat nacre over the tissue, with the ability to create up to 50 pearls at a time. The process to grow a freshwater pearl takes between 4 to 6 years, etc.
Beauty takes time.
Saltwater pearls are cultivated in the ocean. Their growing time takes between 6 to 18 months. For this process the slower the growing period the better the nacre coats. It appears smoother and even.
So often people love pearls for their elegance, class, and versatility. However, understanding how they are created furthers the appreciation for their beauty.