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Cultured Pearl
Cultured Pearl


Organic Gems
Pearls are organic gemstones. Most gemstones are formed from inorganic substances, but a number of gemstones are from organic sources, that is from living things, either plants or animals.

Natural, Cultured and Artificial
Natural or real pearls come mainly from oysters, although there are other bi-valve molluscs from which can produce them. Cultured pearls are produced by artificially introducing a foreign object into the fleshy part of oysters, which become coated with nacre in a similar manner to natural pearls. Imitation pearls are also made in various ways.

Pearls are formed naturally by the oyster when a foreign object enters the shell and causes irritation to its soft tissue. The oyster forms a secretion around the object as a form of protection. The foreign object can be a number of different things including a grain of sand or a parasite. In time the coating builds up in irridescent layers. Pearls can be almost any shape, but round ones are generally more desirable. You may wish to check the attributes of gemstones on our Gemstone Characteristics page.

The hardness of pearl is 3.5 to 4.0.

Imitation pearls, usually called simulated pearls have been produced for many years. They can be made with a plastic core or of mother of pearl, coated with a layer containing fish scales which give the irridescent effect.

Technical Details
Chemical Composition and NameCaCO3 - Calcium Carbonate
Hardness3.5 to 4.0
Refractive Index 
Specific Gravity2.65 - 2.78
Crystalline System 

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