There is not a piece of jewelry quite as timeless as a necklace made from pearls. This romantic gift is often presented to wives on their wedding day or anniversary as a sentiment of love and affection.

Jewelry made from cultured pearls can add elegance to your wardrobe and make the perfect accessory to wear on special occasions. Along with necklaces, you can find other types of pearl jewelry, such as rings, bracelets, and earrings.

What Are Cultured Pearls?

cultured pearls

You may have heard some self-proclaimed jewelry experts refer to cultured pearls as fakes. The truth is that the majority of pearls bought and sold through retail markets are all cultured pearls. These pearls are not fake at all. They are grown inside of oysters raised on farms in areas such as China, Japan, and Australia.

There are also natural or wild pearls that exist, but very few people own them. Natural pearls are found inside shellfish in the wild. Harvesters can go through tens of thousands of oysters to find a single natural pearl. That is one reason why they are so expensive.

The main difference between cultured pearls and natural pearls is where the oysters live, and how the pearls are harvested.

The Four Types of Cultured Pearls

With so many different types of pearls on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right type to feature in a piece of jewelry. Here is some more information about the four types of pearls that you can use throughout the buying process.


Akoya

akoya cultured pearl

Also known as The Classic Pearl, Akoya Pearls are grown off the coast of Japan, the same way they have for a century. They are one of the most popular types of pearls because of their shimmer, hint of color, and clarity.

Akoya Pearls are typically round in shape and feature a crisp reflective luster. However, you can find these pearls in unique baroque shapes or in natural colors like gold or silver-blue. The majority of Akoya pearls produced in Japan today are between 4 and 10 mm in size.

Anyone seeking a traditional strand of white pearls for a necklace or bracelet should look for jewelry made from Akoya pearls.


Tahitian

tahitian cultured pearls

Tahitian Pearls are the only variety of pearls that are naturally dark in color. They are grown in the French Polynesian area and are often referred to as black or exotic pearls.

It is rare to find an authentic round Tahitian pearl, however, there are multiple shapes available such as drops and ovals. While they may not be as rare as perfectly round Tahitian pearls, these are considered to be very valuable.

Most Tahitian pearls measure between 8 and 15 mm regardless of what shape they are. These naturally dark pearls will go well with all types of professional or elegant attire. They make a unique addition to any jewelry collection.


White or Gold South Sea

golden south pearl cultured

When you desire pearls that are large and luxurious then you should purchase White South Sea pearls. These pearls have an extended growth period allowing them to reach larger sizes than other types of cultured pearls.

They are also grown in a limited area, and only a few of these pearls are perfectly round in shape, making them some of the rarest of all pearl types.

White South Sea pearls are available in various neutral tones to add diversity to your wardrobe. Choose from elegant optic white to intriguing honey gold for a look that acquires plenty of attention.


Freshwater Pearls

freshwater cultured pearls

Freshwater pearls are some of the most affordable pearls available in the industry. They feature a baroque shape and are available in various pastel colors including white, pink or beige.

Their appearance has a softer luster than Akoya pearls. And the size ranges from 5 to 12 mm, however, recent advancements in development for freshwater pearls have allowed harvesters to create freshwater pearls as large as 20 mm.

Types of Jewelry Made from Cultured Pearls

Pearls have been admired for centuries for their rarity and simplistic beauty. During the Dark Ages, pearls were often worn by soldiers heading to battle as they were believed to contain magic that would protect the warriors.

While it was once difficult to find even a handful of natural pearls at sea, today we can create an abundance of pearl jewelry items thanks to cultured pearls.

Cultured pearls are preferred for use with creating necklaces, bracelets, pearl earrings, rings, and brooches. And since they are much easier to obtain, jewelry made from cultured pearls is affordable enough for everyone to enjoy.

What You Should Know Before Buying Cultured Pearls

Before you buy a pearl necklace or set of earrings, it’s important to understand the difference between cultured pearls and natural pearls.

There are many who believe that cultured pearls are fake and that’s why they are so affordable. But cultured pearls are real and come from oysters the same way that natural pearls do. They are just harvested on farms instead of being naturally found at the bottom of the sea. The rarity of natural pearls is the reason why jewelry made using them is so much more expensive.