How Are Pearls Made?

How are pearls made?

In the captivating realm of jewellery, pearls stand apart for their timeless elegance and natural allure. These treasures from the depths of the ocean have delighted human hearts for centuries. Whilst when many think of pearl jewellery they will think of the classic white pearls, there is an entire world of these mesmerizing gems, each with its unique charm. But how are pearls made?

In this blog, we embark on a fascinating journey through the diverse world of pearls, including exquisite freshwater pearls. We find out how pearls are extracted and how pearls are formed.

The allure and beauty of pearls have inspired jewellers for centuries

Pearls have long been associated with luxury, sophistication, and timeless beauty. As a result, pearl jewellery has been cherished by cultures around the world for centuries. The luminous allure of pearls, combined with the artistry of jewellery craftsmanship, results in creations of pearl jewellery for her that captivates the imagination and serve as cherished heirlooms.

How are pearls made?

Pearls are formed when an irritant, such as a grain of sand or a parasite finds its way into the shell of an oyster or mollusc. In response, the organism secretes nacre, a lustrous substance that, over time, coats the irritant creating a pearl.

How are pearls formed naturally? Natural pearls are extremely rare, as their formation is entirely organic and dependent on chance. These natural wonders have been treasured for their irreplaceable beauty throughout history. Pearls are harvested and then drilled so they can be threaded or set into pieces of jewellery.

Freshwater pearls and freshwater pearl jewellery

Possessing unique charm, freshwater pearls are grown in mussels, predominantly in lakes and rivers. Originating from regions like China, the USA and Europe, these pearls are admired for their wide variety of shapes and colours. From button-shaped pearls to baroque pearls and in shades from pastel pinks to vibrant purples, freshwater pearls are celebrated for their affordability and versatility. We love making pearl jewellery from freshwater pearls as we are able to create contemporary pearl jewellery at a great price for our customers. Here are a few of our bestselling freshwater pearl jewellery pieces.

What are cultured pearls?

Cultured pearl jewellery is made from cultured pearls which are a testament to the harmonious partnership between nature and human ingenuity. These pearls are made using the same principle as natural pearls but with a slight intervention by skilled pearl farmers. A nucleus, typically a bead or piece of mantle tissue from a donor mollusc is inserted into the oyster to initiate the pearl formation process. The oyster then proceeds to coat the nucleus with layers of nacre giving birth to a magnificent cultured pearl.

What are other types or pearl?

Akoya pearls are known for their stunning lustre and classic round shape. They are usually cultivated in Japan and China and range from 2mm to 10mm in size. Akoya pearls are popular for their array of colours and their near-perfect roundness.

South Sea pearls originate from the large and rare Pinctada maxima oyster. They are the most sought-after and luxurious pearls in the world. Cultivated primarily in Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines, these pearls boast remarkable size and natural shades of white, silver and gold. Their impressive size ranges from 9mm to 20mm and create a captivating statement in any piece of jewellery.

Tahitian Pearls are often referred to as ‘black pearls’. Tahitian pearls are grown in the warm, nutrient-rich waters of French Polynesia. Contrary to their name, these pearls display a wide range of dark exotic colours such as charcoal, peacock green and midnight blue. These unique and alluring colours make Tahitian pearls a fabulous choice for those seeking a bold and mysterious touch to their jewellery.

Shell pearls are often used in costume jewellery and we have asked by customers ‘what are shell pearls?’ Shell pearls are manufactured pearls made out of a composite of ground down pieces of the inside of the oyster shell also called mother of pearl.  They tend to have a man made look due to their typically perfect round shape but nevertheless can be an attractive bead in jewellery.

Pearl Necklaces – a classic statement

Freshwater pearl necklace
Stunning bespoke pearl necklace

Above all forms of pearl jewellery, the pearl necklace holds a special place in the hearts of jewellery lovers. Whether it is an iconic choker or a gracefully cascading opera-length necklace, pearls have an innate ability to exude grace and poise. The versatility of pearl necklaces allows them to be worn on a whole host of different occasions, from weddings to parties, from work to everyday. Pearl necklaces don’t have to be in a traditional design but instead a contemporary pearl necklace can enjoy the style and allure of beautiful pearls without looking traditional but instead on trend and current.

Pearl Earrings – timeless and elegant

Pearl earrings have an understated elegance that complements any facial shape and adds a touch of refinement to the wearer. From classic pearl studs to drop earrings showcasing lustrous pearls, they are the epitome of sophistication. The gentle gleam of pearls enhances the natural beauty of the wearer, making pearl earrings a popular choice for both casual and formal events. We offer traditional style pearl earrings as well as earrings that are contemporary. When you are buying pearl earrings you’ll be able to find a wide range of styles and designs.

Pearl Sets and Parures

If you’re looking for a coordinated and refined look, sets and parures offer an array of matching pearl jewellery pieces. A typical set may include a necklace, bracelet and earrings. Parures were especially popular during the Victorian and Edwardian eras reflecting the fashion of the time but modern interpretations are now available to inspire and the look can be anything but old fashioned!

So finally…

Pearl jewellery transcends trends and fads, standing the test of time with its unparalleled grace and elegance. Whether it’s a dainty pair of earrings, a statement pearl necklace, or a complete jewellery set, these exquisite pieces symbolise not only beauty but also timeless sophistication. The enchanting appeal of pearl jewellery ensures its continued significance in the world of fashion and style, making it a cherished treasure for generations to come. Take a look at our pearl jewellery collection and find out more at