This a question that is commonly asked by people who want to purchase pearls.
The truth is that the majority of pearls sold today are cultured, they are produced in salt or fresh water and the correct definition is “cultivated with natural technique.”
Pearls cultivated with natural technique develop almost identically to natural pearls, the only difference being that the foreign body is intentionally inserted by a human being into the oyster.
After insertion, the human hand steps aside and lets nature perform the “miracle”.
Cultured pearls are chemically and structurally very similar to natural pearls; the difference manifests itself only through X-rays which are capable of seeing inside of the pearl and revealing the presence of a nucleus (In the case of the salt water pearl) or a small cavity (in the case of the freshwater pearl).
Freshwater pearls are cultivated without the nucleus, that is comprised entirely of layers of pearl; this composition makes the pearl very resistant and similar to natural pearls, they should still be handled carefully, as with natural pearls. Frequently freshwater pearls irregular form, small to medium size, vivid colors, and a discrete shine. Despite their characteristics, freshwater pearls are generally more affordable than saltwater pearls. This is why China, leader in the cultivation of freshwater pearls, succeeds in producing quantities of pearls greater than that required by the market, and obviously the function of a workforce more content with other countries’ goods.
Saltwater pearls are pearls cultivated with the nucleus, usually resulting in a rounder shape with delicate colors and a brilliant shine.
Many jewelers and jewelry stores incorrectly utilize the commercial expression “cultivated pearls” to describe the saltwater Akoya pearls, although there are four different types of pearls cultivated with natural technique.
It is however important to know that there still exists a market for natural pearls. As with all pearls sold in the market, the natural pearls must also be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity that states the exact type.
In fact Genisi Pearls certifies every piece of jewelry which contains pearls.
Typically, natural pearls are found only in auctions or from dealers specializing in natural pearls.
With the exception of a small amount of pearls harvested in Bahrain, most natural pearls are antiques with prices that can reach six figures …
As you can see, it is important to ask your own jeweller what kind of cultivated pearls you are thinking of purchasing. If he cannot tell you, I suggest you change your supplier…