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Where Do Pearls Come From?

Posted on Thursday, June 4th, 2020 at 4:23 pm by Pamela

Unlike most gems, pearls are not mined from the ground but rather from the water, a mollusk more specifically. 

Pearls form naturally from a living creature called a mollusk (almost always an oyster). These lustrous round jewels are the result of a biological process. Oysters produce nacre, the material that forms an oyster’s shell. When an irritant, most often a grain of sand, gets stuck between an organ called the mantle and the oysters shell. The oyster will cover the irritant with layers of nacre, forming a precious pearl in the process.


Most of the pearls available for purchase today are cultured pearls. In fact, only 1 in every 10,000 oysters in the wild will form a natural pearl, and from those, only a tiny percentage will be gem quality. This understandably explains the value and costly price of natural pearls. Cultured pearls are formed the same way as natural pearls, but they get some help from pearl farmers. A pearl farmer will purposely stick a little round irritant into the oyster and wait for the pearl to form which takes anywhere from 8 months to 6 years. Cultured pearls can be grown in both freshwater and salt water and are farmed in many different regions. 40-50 freshwater pearls can be grown at once in a single mollusk where only 1-5 saltwater pearls can be grown at once. Pearls can also come in different colors, from pink and blues to golden shades of yellow. Not all pearls are perfectly round. Less than perfect pearls are commonly called Baroque pearls


As the most notorious birthstone for June, pearls are a timeless gem that is a staple for the jewelry industry and jewelry lovers. Pearls can be found in anything from earrings, necklaces, rings, and broaches. Additionally, the 30th wedding anniversary is the pearl jubilee.
Whether you are shopping for a June birthday, 30th anniversary gift or timeless jewelry, pearls are perfect for girls and women of all ages and they’re complimentary for almost any occasion (with the exception of your beach and pool parties). Shop our pearl designs, custom made in our Palm Harbor, FL studio.



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