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How Cultured Pearls are Made

Historically one of the most popular gems the pearl is no longer reserved for the highly affluent. Cultured pearls have made this natural beauty available to anyone who wished to include pearls in their wardrobe.

cultured pearl necklace

Cultured pearls are nurtured through human intervention and care. Most mollusks used in this process are specifically raised to create pearls. Though in some places wild mollusks are still collected and used.

To begin the process of nurturing a pearl a technician takes a sliver of mantle tissue from one mollusk and a shell bead and inserts it into the gonad of a second mollusk. With some species of mollusk several pearls seeds can be implanted at once. Leading to more pearls from one shell, and increasing the affordability of high quality pearls.

In cases where this is the process used the mantle tissue grows to encase the shell bead and nacre begins to cover it. Creating the glow that is a pearl.

If no shell bead is used the nacre forms around the implanted mantle tissue. Giving the appearance of a naturally formed pearl. And a much more

removal of pearl

Photo by Tessa Ayson/The Gazelle

unique shape to the pearl.

The mollusks are tended to until it is time to harvest the beautiful newly formed treasure inside. They are then harvested by a technician who carefully removes the pearls from the mantle tissue.

The length of time that the pearl is left to grow the thickness of the nacre increases, as does its value. The thicker the nacre the more iridescent the pearl. Layers of nacre also increase the size of the pearl.

Pearls occur in a variety of sizes and colors without the need to undergo any additional treatment.
The species of mollusk used and their diet plays a role in the color that the pearl will become. Along with the size of pearl that the mollusk is able to produce.

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