and Shell Jewelry
What kind of pearl is it?
The difference between pearls and mother of pearl, natural and cultured pearls,
freshwater and saltwater pearls, Mabe and blister pearls, Osmena and Turbo shell
are formed inside the shell of certain mollusks. In response to an irritant
inside its shell, the mollusk deposits layers of nacre around the irritant and
it grows into a pearl. Pearls are usually white, sometimes with a creamy
or pinkish tinge, but may be tinted many other colors.
Both mother-of-pearl and pearls are made of "nacre".
Mother of pearl is a coating of nacre on the inside of the shell itself and
typically includes part of the shell.
Natural Pearls or Cultured Pearls
Natural pearls occur on their own while
cultured pearls are cultivated by the insertion of a small bead or mantle tissue
around which the pearl is formed.
Freshwater Pearls or Saltwater Pearls Freshwater
pearls are formed in fresh water mussels.
Saltwater pearls grow in oysters that live
in the ocean, usually in protected lagoons.
Mabe Pearls or Blister Pearls
Both pearls grow on the inside wall of
the shell. Mabe pearls are grown by adhering a small dome onto the inside surface
of a mollusk's shell. Once it has been coated with nacre it is cut away, filled
with resin and backed with mother of pearl. All blister pearl are formed by
adhering and object to the shell but only the dome shaped blister pearls are
Osmena Pearls or Turbo Shell Pearls
These are often mislabeled, so we
consulted an expert: Turbo pearls are cut from the side of a turban shell and
naturally white, but sometimes tinted. True Osmena pearls come from the nautilus
shell, actually the inner spiral of the shell. Osmena pearls are naturally silver
blue, but sometimes dyed various colors or bleached white. It becomes difficult
to tell which is which. The term Osmena is more widely known and Turbo pearls
are often called Osmena, because they are both domed flat backed cabochons.
Both pearls are technically mother of pearl.