What is a pearl exactly?
It is a gem which mineral is composed of calcium carbonate (CaC03) accounting for 93% of the pearl’s mass, 5% is organic matter and the rest is shared by calcium oxide and water. Such large amount of calcium carbonate is the direct result of the oyster feeding on a myriad of phytoplankton and diatoms which are particularly abundant in the lagoon of the Tuamotu archipelagos.
The calcium carbonate form crystals perfectly organized as the wonder of mother nature and are bound together by the organic substance called Conchioline, a material related to chitin which is the main skeletal component of insects and crustaceans.
The process of all pearl formation is so extraordinary and the factors involved are so big in number depending on farmers skills, water condition, temperature, genetics, conditioning, predators, etc. that the end result for a commercial grade pear alone is less than 30% and a AAA quality pearl is 5% or less.
What is the difference between a natural pearl and a cultured pearl?
The only difference is the nature of the nucleus around which the pearly substance forms. In natural pearls, sand particles, parasite eggs and other foreign objects form the center of the sphere, whereas an artificial nucleus of shell is inserted to grow cultured pearls. The pearl forming process in both is identical. A culture pearls is a product of the deposit of calcium carbonate around a shell nucleus made from a fresh water bivalve from the Mississippi river.