Natural pearls are formed more or less randomly, when a piece of sand or other irritant becomes
embedded in the tissue of an oyster or mollusk. In response to the irritation, the oyster secretes
nacre, a combination of calcium carbonate and organic substances, which gradually builds up in
layers around the irritant. Over a period of several years, this build-up of nacre forms a pearl.
In every 10,000 oysters, you might be lucky enough to find a single natural pearl. Because of
this scarcity, most pearls today are cultured pearls. A cultured pearl is formed when a tiny bead
is implanted in an oyster, the oyster in response secretes nacre. Layers upon layers, a lustrous
pearl is gradually formed.
At Clemoon, we offer beautiful Freshwater and Akoya cultured pearls.
Akoya pearls are saltwater pearls which are cultivated from the oyster species Pinctada fucata
martensii. Akoya pearls are on average smoother, rounder, and more lustrous than Freshwater
pearls. They are generally white or cream colored, and have overtone colors of rose, yellow, or
Freshwater pearls appear in a wide variety of shapes and colors, and they tend to be less
expensive than Akoya pearl, making them quite popular. Freshwater pearls are also quite
durable, resisting chipping, wear, and degeneration. The only tradeoff is that Freshwater pearls
are generally less symmetrical, and not as well matched when strung on a strand. However, fresh
water pearls offer an outstanding value and are perfect for many occasions.
Pearl are graded based on the following factors:
The general color of a pearl is also called the body color. Typical pearl colors are white, cream,
yellow, pink, silver, or black. A pearl can also have a hint of secondary color, or overtone, which
is seen when examined closely. These overtones tend to alter the bodycolor somewhat, as well
as adding depth and glow. A pearl may be white with rose overtones, for example. Some pearls
have no overtones at all. Generally, pearls that are more uniformly colored demand higher price.
Luster is essentially the reflective quality or brilliance of the surface of the pearl nacre. The more
lustrous the pearl, the more it shines and reflects light and images. On average, saltwater pearls
tend to have greater luster than freshwater pearls.
In general, round and near-round shaped pearls are the most desirable and valuable, because
of their rarity. Symmetrical shapes are commonly used to create a variety of designs and
considered to be more desirable than baroque shapes. Baroques, however, can be extremely
unique, thus increasing their desirability more than might be expected based on their shape
Due to the natural nature, almost no pearl will have a perfect surface. Some flaws or
irregularities are almost certain to be found on any pearl. Pearls with the least surface markings
and smoothest surfaces are the highest-quality, most sought-after pearls.
The size of the pearl greatly depends on the type of pearl. Freshwater pearls are more often
given a full millimeter range of sizes. Akoya pearls range from about 5mm to 8mm. Akoya pearls
greater than 8 millimeters are considered extremely rare.