The Ultimate Pearl Guide by Sterling King

Pearls are timeless beauties, but have you ever wondered about the nuances that set each type apart? Dive into our ultimate pearl guide to help you understand the distinct characteristics of various categories of pearls, helping you choose the perfect set tailored just for you.     

Natural vs. Cultured Pearls: 
Genuine round pearls develop organically in natural environments, untouched by human hands. They are incredibly rare and often found within antique jewelry. However, cultured pearls are meticulously cultivated within pearl farms, which yields large quantities of similarly rounded pearls. These cultivated pearls, prevalent in the jewelry industry, are sourced from both saltwater and freshwater mollusks.

Freshwater Pearls 
Freshwater pearls derive their name from their exclusive habitats in freshwater environments such as lakes, riverbeds, and creeks. They offer a wider diversity of colors, shapes, and sizes than any other type of pearl. This feature of the freshwater pearls offer more options in style choices. You can find freshwater pearls in their common white tones, or in more pastel colors like pink, lavender and purples. You can also find them in a variety of shapes such as  potato-shaped and stick pearls, rice-shaped, button pearls, coin-shaped, drop pearls, off-round and round pearls. ​​While a set of freshwater pearls may initially seem uniform, authentic pearls possess subtle distinctions in texture, surface, and luster, imbedding each with a distinctive and one-of-a-kind characteristic. 
Freshwater Baroque Pearls: 
The term "baroque" originates from the Portuguese word 'barroco,' meaning 'irregular pearl.' Baroque pearls are renowned for their unique, non-spherical shapes, each pearl boasting distinct and individual characteristics. These pearls are notably more prevalent in freshwater environments instead of their saltwater counterparts which allows for the process to develop their unique shapes. No two authentic baroque pearls will ever be the same. 
Natural Black Tahitian Pearls
Nurtured amidst the tranquil warmth of tropical lagoons and atolls in French Polynesia, black Tahitian pearls exude an alluring and exotic charm. These extraordinary pearls boast the remarkable capacity to exhibit overtones of various colors, including shades of purple, pink, green, and an array of captivating rainbow hues. Originating from black-lipped saltwater oysters adorned with iridescent outer lips, these pearls are distinguished by their trademark shimmering sheen. Available in a variety of elegant shapes such as round, button, drop, and asymmetrical baroque, these stunning pearls captivate with their unparalleled beauty.

Faux Pearls 
Often deriving from various materials, these man-made pearls are an excellent choice for anyone looking to wear large and eccentrically shaped pearls that possess a lightweight quality. Available in a variety of colors as well as shapes, these pearls will also bring a more uniformed look. Additionally, faux pearls are an excellent vegan-friendly alternative.