What is the difference between Natural and Cultured pearls?
Natural pearls are a completely natural phenomenon wherein an oyster produces a pearl without any human intervention, by accident.
Cultured pearls are not an accident, but a result of human intervention. Man surgically inserts mantle tissue and/or beads into an oyster to stimulate it to produce a pearl. Once the initial intervention by man is complete, the oyster takes over and produces a pearl in a similar fashion to natural pearls.
Are cultured pearls real?
Yes cultured pearls are very much real and considered real by the jewelry industry as well as various independent trade bodies including the Gemological Institute of America and CIBJO (The World Jewellery Confederation).
Are natural pearls still produced today?
Natural pearl production does take place today but on an extremely small scale. Cultured pearl production makes up for the overwhelming majority of the pearl industry today.