Cultured Pearl | Gemopedia

Pearls are the only gems that are grown inside living creatures, so rather than being mined like other gems, pearls can be farmed and harvested. Pearls have been harvested from mollusks for thousands of years, either by chance or, more recently, purposely through culturing. From the start of mankind's love affair with pearls, they have been symbolic of class, purity, refinement, and wealth, but modern designs with fashionable new pearl shapes and colors are helping pearls appeal to a broader audience. They truly are not just your grandmother's pearls anymore.
Colors
White, Cream, Golden, Silver, Gray, Brown, Black

Cultured Pearl Classification

Common Name

Cultured Pearl

Species

NA

Variety

Cultured Pearl

Colors

White, Cream, Golden, Silver, Gray, Brown, Black

Alternate Names

Gemstone Groups

Key Separations

refractive index, birefringence blink, specific gravity and magnification. A "tooth test" is commonly used in which a pearl is rubbed against a tooth; if gritty, this is an indication that the surface is nacre, versus plastic and glass imitations that feel smooth.

Comments

Major classifications include natural/cultured and saltwater/freshwater. Major types of cultured pearls include Akoya, Tahitian, South Sea and Freshwater.

Cultured Pearl Optical Properties

Transparency

Translucent - Opaque

Refractive Index

1.53-1.685

Birefringence

0.155-0.155

Optic Character

NA

Optic Sign

NA

Polariscope Reaction

Aggregate (AGG)

Fluorescence

SWUV: inert to strong light blue, yellow, green or pink
LWUV: inert to strong light blue, yellow, green or pinknatural black: weak to moderate red to orangy red to brownish redLa Paz: strong red

CCF Reaction

Pleochroism

None

Dispersion

Comments

Cultured Pearl Chemistry & Crystallography

Chemical Name

calcium carbonate + conchiolin and water

Chemical Formula

CaCO3

Synthesis

Crystal System

NA

Classification

Organic

Nature

Cultured

Crystallinity

Non-Crystalline

Comments

Cultured Pearl Characteristic Physical Properties

Hardness

3.5-4

Streak

Specific Gravity

2.72-2.78

Toughness

Fair

Inclusions

Cultured pearls will have an iridescent surface. If the pearl is drilled you can inspect the hole to look for bead nucleus.

Luster

Pearly

Stability

Poor

Fracture

Uneven

Cleavage

None

Comments

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