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Pearls have long been a treasured gem. They elevate any outfit and can range from classic to trendy. Although the white opaque is the most popular, there are many types of pearls that can boost your style. Whether you’re shopping for someone special or yourself, there’s a pearl jewelry piece that will complete your look.

Natural Pearls vs. Cultured Pearls

There are two primary types of pearls: natural and cultured. Natural pearls require no human intervention, while cultured pearls rely on scientists.

  • Natural pearls: When a mollusk produces layers of nacre around a microscopic irritant, like another organism, within its mantle, it forms a pearl naturally.
  • Cultured pearls: Mollusks raised in modern-day pearl farms undergo a delicate surgical process where a scientist inserts a “mother-of-pearl” bead nucleus into their mantles to culture pearls.

The different types of pearls depend on the mollusk’s origination and whether they form in freshwater or saltwater. The four primary cultured pearls are the South Sea, Akoya, Freshwater, and Tahitian.

South Sea Cultured Pearls

Indonesia, Australia, and the Philippines are the leading sources of South Sea cultured pearls. These South Sea gems range in color, from white to silver to gold, depending on the oyster. Their long formation process results in a large size and a thick nacre.

Akoya Cultured Pearls

Akoya cultured pearls are the most familiar type of pearl, and the majority originate from China. Their brilliant luster and rich colors – white, creamy pink, and silvery pink – make Akoya cultured pearls well-known and popular. They’re considered the “classic” pearl used for jewelry of all kinds.

Freshwater Cultured Pearls

The vast majority of pearls form in freshwater, making them more affordable compared to those from saltwater. The wide range of distinctive colors, sizes, and shapes make freshwater pearls one of the most popular among jewelry designers. These pearls typically form in freshwater ponds or lakes, and often, one oyster creates numerous gems.

Tahitian Cultured Pearls

Tahitian cultured pearls are cultivated within Tahiti and other French Polynesian islands. They are primarily black but can also include gray, brown, blue, green, pink, and purple.

How to Wear the Types of Pearls

Pearl jewelry is timeless and flattering on every wearer. Just as there are several types of pearls, so are various jewelry pieces. Popular types of pearl jewelry include the following:

  • Rings: Whether you choose a singular gem on a plain band or incorporate it with other stones to create the “wow” factor, pearl rings boost your look.
  • Necklaces: Single pearl necklaces portray classic elegance, whether in a choker or cathedral style. Further, multiple pearls on a single strand display timeless grace for casual and special occasions.
  • Earrings: Whether you wear studs, dangles, or hoops, pearl earrings can heighten any outfit.
  • Bracelets: Complementing pearl strand necklaces and bracelets together brings class, whether a single string or several layers.

How to Care for the Types of Pearls

Caring for pearls requires extra precaution compared to other precious metals or stones. Since pearls are relatively soft, it’s critical to take the following steps:

  • Wait to wear your pearls until after you’ve finished getting ready for the day, as several beauty products contain acids or chemicals that can damage or dull them.
  • Wipe your pearls with a soft cloth to eliminate any daily residue.
  • Store your pearls separately from other jewelry pieces to prevent scratching.
  • Ensure your pearls remain in a soft cloth bag or lined jewelry box apart from others.
  • Visit your local jewelry store at least once a year to maintain your pearls’ integrity.

Browse The Diamond Shop’s Pearl Jewelry Today

Whatever your style, several types of pearls will suit your look. From necklaces to rings, The Diamond Shop is here to help you choose the best piece for you or your loved one. We’ve served customers across the St. Louis area for over 100 years, and we’ll help you, too!

Visit our family-owned store in Clayton to browse the types of pearl jewelry we offer! We look forward to assisting you.