Saltwater Pearls

Written by Stacy Chbosky
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Pearls come in a surprisingly wide variety. For instance, pearls come in the traditional white color, but they also come in black, pink, yellow and silver. Most pearl necklaces feature coveted round pearls, but pearls also come in teardrop and oval shapes. Furthermore, pearls can be cultivated in both freshwater and saltwater.

Quality Saltwater Pearls

To the inexperienced eye, the difference between saltwater and freshwater pearls is not readily visible. You may have to set them side by side to see the differences. At this point, it will become clear that saltwater pearls are generally far superior to freshwater ones. This explains their greater cost. Saltwater pearls are more expensive, and are generally considered the appropriate pearls to give as gifts.

Saltwater pearls tend to have many of the qualities collectors look for in a pearl. They are very round, very smooth, and extremely lustrous. A pearl's luster is the amount of shine it produces. How does a pearl produce this deep, soft glow?

Luster is created when light bounces off layer upon layer of calcium carbonate crystals. These crystals are also known as nacre. Generally speaking, larger pearls have more nacre. Subsequently, bigger pearls are more lustrous. However, in addition to size, the smoothness and shape of the pearl also contribute to its luster. The rounder and smoother the pearl is, the more successfully light will bounce off of it.

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