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What is the difference between synthetic pearls and natural pearls?

The mysterious glory of pearls makes them an object of desire and debate for many fashionistas, jewelry lovers and gemstone collectors. Under natural conditions, stone grows and develops very slowly, and it is expensive to mine, so you need to learn to distinguish between natural and artificial stone.

Origin of the stone

The market offers natural, cultured, cultured and Mallorca pearls. Freshwater and sea pearls are known in nature. To obtain a sea pearl, it is necessary to process several hundred mollusks. River stone is easier to obtain, but it may have a weak shine and an imperfect shape. Cultured stone is natural, but grown by man. In farm conditions, a kernel is placed inside the mollusk, which will take a couple of years to mature. The difference between cultured and cultured pearls lies in the origin of the core. Artificial pearls are produced in factories. The Roman variety is made from a glass blank with paraffin filling. American pearls are mother-of-pearl beads with a varnish coating.

How to distinguish artificial and natural pearls?

There are different ways to recognize natural stone. There are visual, mechanical and formal methods for identifying stones. Let’s start with visual methods for recognizing a fake. To do this, it is necessary to evaluate the weight, surface quality, shine and structure of the stone. A fake pearl may have a perfectly round shape, but among natural samples, oval and oblong versions are more common.

The weight

  1. Modern technologies make it possible to add mother-of-pearl to the surface, so the weight of the synthetic stone is very close to the natural one.
  2. Cultured dyed pearls can be made from germanite, a coral that is much heavier than natural stone.
  3. Colored natural pearls are more expensive than snow-white ones.

Surface and shine

In nature, it is very rare to find perfectly smooth, uniform and equally colored surfaces. Even luxury pearls often have defects in the form of roughness, unevenness and depressions. Cultured samples are a little smoother, but they are not perfect. The most even options are natural stones from auctions and exhibitions, as well as synthetic samples. The quality of the stone’s shine is determined under natural daylight.

The origin of pearls can be determined near a window or on the street. In a natural product, light creates shimmers with shades of blue, pink or purple. After treatment with varnish or colored pigment, such a visual effect cannot be obtained.

A wide variety of shades and tints is not a defect. This is a normal property of the material. The monotony and monochrome color of the stone indicates its synthetic origin.


Glass and polymers often have a smooth and even surface. In a natural material, the coating has pores and several layers, since during the growth of layers, the addition of mother-of-pearl occurs unevenly.

Testing the strength of pearls

Natural pearls do not deteriorate at all under mechanical influence of varying strength. Depending on its origin, a stone may react differently when dropped from a small height:

  • Cracks and scratches appear on natural stone, which are easy to erase;
  • Glass beads crack and break;
  • The polymers remain unharmed.

To determine its authenticity, it is enough to hold the bead in your hands or try on the finished piece of jewelry. Natural samples always give you a feeling of coolness. Synthetic stones heat up in your hand or at room temperature.

Some sources believe that the technology for creating cultured pearls appeared in Japan, however, others claim that the method originated at least 800 years ago in China.

Our ancestors are still in XIII century discovered that pearls are formed from foreign bodies that fall into shells, and even then, using bamboo sticks, they opened the shellfish, took out beautiful mother-of-pearl balls from them and made magnificent jewelry from them.

Officially, the creator of the procedure for growing mother of pearl is considered to be Japanese Kokichi Mikimoto, who took 20 years to patent his new method of so-called “grafting” of shellfish. In 1893, the inventor could boast of the first grown pearl of a semicircular shape, and another 15 years later the world was presented with a round pearl that was ideal in its shape.

Before 2011 Japan took a leading position on the market in a cell of cultured mother-of-pearl. But in 2011, a catastrophic tsunami destroyed most of the farms, and China took first place in the supply of pearls. Despite the almost complete death of the rival, Chinese pearls are valued much less on the market. The fact is that the climate of the country does not allow the cultivation of beads with a diameter larger than 7 mm. And everyone knows that the larger the diameter of the jewelry, the higher its price. This fact allows the Japanese to maintain their position in the jewelry market.

One of the most famous places for growing cultured pearls is located on the coast of the Sea of ​​Japan in the southeastern part of the island of Honshu, Dzherelo.

Technological details

The process of growing marine cultured mother of pearl usually takes from 3 to 12 years.

Almost the entire thickness of the bead is an implant. And the “real” thickness of mother-of-pearl, which a living mollusk works on almost all its life, takes only 1 mm (and this is over several years), which is from 10 to 25% of the total bead material. However, this is quite enough to get perfect and very beautiful pearls. It is quite obvious that the more time the mollusk “works”, the larger in diameter the beautiful pearl will turn out.

Marine version on the market is valued more thanks to the large size of the beads and the ideal spherical shape. But to obtain the desired shape and color of pearls, it is necessary to strictly adhere to technological nuances, which is not always possible.

river pearl

The color palette of freshwater pearls starts from light pink and ends with dark purple.

It also happens that the oyster rejects the bead that has fallen into it, and it is no longer possible to get the bead. This moment slows down the technological process. Statistics show that out of 10 pearls prepared for cultivation, only three are obtained. And only one thing will fit the standard.

Interesting features of growing pearls

There are two ways to grow pearls:

For implementation of the nuclear method two clams required. A part of the mantle is taken from the first individual and transplanted under the well-developed nacreous layer of the second. This allows you to increase the productivity of the oyster. Next, an implant of an ideal spherical shape is also placed into the mantle.

Nuclear-free way is much simpler than the first one, since it is used to grow pearls of arbitrary shape. It is not balls that are placed in the shell, but ordinary grains of sand and fragments of other pearls. Obviously, this method is less expensive, but it is also very relevant in the market for the production of simpler products.

Pearl varieties

That is, you cannot simply pour pearls into your hand and string them on a thread in any order. Such a composition will look bad and sloppy. Craftsmen must carefully select the neighbors in the necklace so that flaws in the shape of the jewelry are not visible.

If we take into account everything that has been said, it will become clear that comparing one piece of jewelry in terms of cost with another is very problematic. Therefore, jewelers evaluate each piece of cultured pearl jewelry separately. We can only provide approximate cost estimates.

So, the most small stud earrings with pearls in silver will cost approximately 3 thousand rubles. The same gold jewelry will require an investment of 6 thousand.

Classic beads made of snow-white pearls40 cm long, grown in river reservoirs, will cost 2000 rubles, and sea decorations will cost approximately 10 times more.

Average cost per gold ring with freshwater pearls weighing 2 grams will cost approximately 8 thousand rubles. And a silver product of the same weight can be found for a minimum cost of 2000 thousand.

There are many varieties and methods of growing cultured pearls. Due to this, the cost of such jewelry today is not exorbitant, as it was two centuries ago, and almost any beauty can afford to buy such a piece of jewelry. As you understand from our article, cultured pearls are not an artificial bead, they are grown in the same conditions as real pearls, and therefore have enormous energy potential. Therefore, if you are planning to purchase jewelry with beautiful mother-of-pearl, find out whether this beauty suits your zodiac sign.

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