Pearls are one of the most commonly used gems for all types of earrings, be it a pierced or a clip-on kind. Earrings have been in use starting from our ancient ancestors as ornamentals or accessories to adorn the face.
Pearls are commonly known to have come from oysters but not all oysters can produce pearls. Pearl producing oysters and mussels belong to the phylum Mollusca, the group noted for their mantel which is a special type of tissue that allows development of natural pearls through the aid of whatever foreign object (dirt, stone, small life forms, and other tiny particles ) that may still get stuck between the mantle and the Mollusca shell.
Pearls can be natural or cultured. It is very difficult to find natural pearls, especially with costs that may soar to an appalling degree. There was a constant demand for pearls, which did not correspond with the limited supply of natural pearls. The demand paved way to pearl culturing, which is usually done by putting in bits of mantle tissue for saltwater mollusks and a piece of small round bead for freshwater mollusks.
Commonly found in jewelry and department stores are imitation pearls that are usually made from beads, glass, or shells with coating of lacquer or ground fish scales to adopt the luster and color of real or natural pearls, although they can also be artificial colored.
How to Differentiate Natural and Cultured from Imitation Pearl Earrings
First-time buyers may not be able to tell the difference between natural, cultured, or imitation pearls, but an expert can spot the difference in just a glance. The so called "tooth test" can be done to determine the difference. Cultured pearls feel rough when rubbed against the teeth while imitation pearls may even break because of the artificial materials used.
Source by Thomas Morva