Natural vs. Cultured
Natural pearls are pearls that are formed without human intervention. Cultured pearls are pearls formed by manipulating a oyster to form a pearl.
Natural pearls are 100% calcium carbonate with layers that completely coat an irritant that has invaded the mollusks body. The mollusk then coats the irritant or intruder with with many layers calcium carbonate forming a pearl with no nucleic center.
Cultural pearls have a nucleic center, another words a pre-formed center that the mollusk coats it with nacre which forms a pearl. This artificial center can be seen with an X-ray.
Finding My Own Pearl
About 10 years ago we took our daughter to Disney World and Epcot Center in Florida. While at Epcot Center we stopped at one of those places where you can open your own oyster to try and find a pearl. Not expecting to find much of a pearl since the people around us were getting tiny dots for pearls. I tried my luck. When the oyster opened I was very surprised to find a perfectly round, creamy white pearl! It seemed very large. I estimated it to be about 8mm. When we got back home I had it appraised by a jeweler. I was very happy to learn it was a natural pearl, about 8 1/2 mm, "perfect color", and gave me a price of $40. I couldn't believe my luck. A $40 pearl! I wanted to make some jewelry with it for myself but I can't bring myself to do it, let alone drill it.
During the blog carnival we are blogging about pearls so I decided to debut some of my new pearl jewelry.
Victorian Elegance earrings
These earrings were made with faceted glass pearls and black glass coin beads. The accent beads are antiqued silver etched.
Victorian Elegance necklace
This necklace was made with cultured coin pearls, round glass pearls, and faceted glass pearls. The accents are the same as the earrings; antiqued silver etched beads. The black beads are glass in various shapes of cube, square, and coin. The diamond shaped pendant is also black glass.
I hope to be putting this items in my shop soon, along with more jewelry sets.