What Is Inside of a Cultured Pearl?

What Is Inside of a Cultured Pearl?

Have you ever wondered what is inside of a cultured pearl? Why do freshwater pearls come in different shapes? What is the most expensive shape or colour of pearl? Or are dyed pearls coloured all the way through? I have always been curious and decided to smash a bunch of pearls to show you what is inside of the pearls. 

The art of culturing pearls originated in Japan, and after disease virtually wiped out most of the pearl culturing oysters in Japan in the 1950’s, China has perfected the art of culturing pearls in its many freshwater lakes.

Pearls are naturally produced because a grain of sand gets lodged inside of the oyster that it cannot expel. It then coats nacre (the same shiny hard substance it produces for its shell) around the irritant sand.

Culturing replicates this by artificially introducing the irritant into the oyster by wedging open an oyster and implanting a grain of sand, or sometimes searing a bit of the oyster’s flesh. The oyster then coats nacre around the sand or irritant, and, over time, the thickness of the nacre grows into a larger pearl. The technology of culturing has advanced to using larger oysters to produce multiple pearls simultaneously and also by implanting larger and pre-shaped beads that have been cut from old oyster shells. 

In this video, I will be smashing different pearls: surface dyed pearl, chemical dye peacock pearl, Keshi pearl, Baroque pearl, Edison pearl, and Tahitian pearl.

To answer the questions – what is the most expensive shape or colour of pearl? The rarer the pearl, the more expensive it is. In general, perfectly round, high lustre (more mirror-like focus of reflection) and no imperfections is the most rare. Highly prized are true white pearls, but some unusual pearls are prized because of their rarity – chocolate pearls, black (Tahitian) pearls and some champagne colours can fetch higher prices than white pearls of the same size.

Click here to watch the full video.