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HomeJewelry InformationLectureTypes of Pearls at wholesale market

Types of Pearls at wholesale market

Types of Pearls at wholesale market

  • Natural pearl
  • Cultured pearls – saltwater pearls, freshwater pearls, rice pearls,
  • Imitation pearls – nucleus pearls, plastic, crystal pearls

When we go to the Accessories Wholesale Market, there are many different types of pearls.

Some stores say they are nucleus pearls, others say they use rice pearls, some say they are freshwater pearls, and some even call them crystal pearls.

So, I will briefly explain the types of pearls.

1. Natural pearl

It is literally a pearl that comes from the sea in a natural state. Because it is rare, it is considered a semi-precious stone. To put it simply, a foreign substance enters the clam, the shell surrounds the foreign substance, and a pearl is created in a circle around the foreign substance.

It is difficult to find natural pearls due to environmental pollution, but it is natural that the price is high because foreign substances must enter the shell. First of all, natural pearls are rarely seen in wholesale accessory shops.

2. Cultured pearls

Pearls are created by artificially inserting foreign substances into clams.

1) Freshwater pearls

These pearls are cultured in fresh water, not the sea. Because they are cultured in fresh water, the pearls are bumpy and ugly, and their shape is not consistent, and they look as they please. The bumpy, ugly pearls commonly seen in wholesale accessory market are freshwater pearls.

If you walk around the wholesale jewelry district in KOREA, you will surprisingly see a lot of freshwater pearls. Even though freshwater pearls are artificially made, I thought they were expensive, but they are cheaper than I thought.

freashwater pearl image

Image Source : https://eusharon.com/blogs/blogs/what-is-freshwater-pearl

This is because more than 10 freshwater pearls can be artificially created in one shell. So, because there are many artificially grown pearls, they all have different, bumpy shapes.

nuclear pearl - Types of Pearls

This thing that looks like a horizontally long pearl… is also a freshwater pearl after all.


2) Seawater pearls

Saltwater pearls are made artificially like freshwater pearls, but since they are made in a natural environment, only 1 to 2 are made in one shell.

Because pearls are made by artificially placing foreign substances inside shells and culturing them in the sea, their shape is close to a circle and their luster is higher than that of other artificial pearls. Because pearls are artificially cultivated in the ocean, the surface of the pearl may not be clean.

So, when considering the production efficiency of artificial pearls, freshwater pearls are the best to produce, so you can see a lot of freshwater pearls among wholesale products.

3) Rice pearl

rice pearl

If you go to the Wholesale Market, you will find some stores that specifically refer to these as rice pearls, but these are actually freshwater pearls. Because they are bumpy and ugly and small in size, freshwater pearls are just called rice pearls.

3. Imitation pearls

Although it looks like a pearl, it is a fake pearl.

1) Nucleus pearl

If you make a mistake, many people think that nucleus pearls are real pearls. When you go to the wholesale accessories mall, there are many stores that emphasize nucleus pearls, and at first I thought that nucleus pearls were also cultured pearls.

nuclear pearl

First of all, nucleus pearls are imitation pearls. Still, it is naturally more resistant to gloss and surface scratches than cheap, completely imitation pearls. These are artificial pearls made by laying shells and coating them.

Of course, since it is artificially made, it has a consistent shape and a clean surface. Although it is an artificial pearl, it is still made from seashells, so it has some value. Among the pearls seen in wholesale market, there are very few saltwater pearls and most of them are freshwater pearls or nucleus pearls.

Also, saltwater pearls and nucleus pearls may be similar in that they are round and clear in shape. However, when you drill a hole in a pearl, the pierced part of a saltwater pearl is clean, but since a nucleus pearl is coated, the pierced part tends to break. You may not be able to tell them apart at first glance.

– How to distinguish Nucleus pearls from freshwater pearls
The main difference between Nucleus and freshwater pearls lies in the surface coating. Nucleus pearls are artificially made and coated several times to form a film on the surface. Conversely, freshwater pearls form naturally from pearl secretions and lack a coating film.

If you make a crisp sound when scratching pearls with your fingernails or teeth, it’s likely to be farmed pearls, whether it’s seawater or fresh water.

I’ll talk about one more thing.

Freshwater and sea pearls are naturally formed, the shapes and luster of all pearls are inevitably different. There are also natural scratches and the reflections of light in each pearl are slightly different.

However, if all the pearls look the same and have the same luster, it’s probably a nuclear pearl.

2) real imitation pearls

– Plastic pearls

It’s coated on plastic to give it a pearly feel, and it’s just plastic. Therefore, minor scratches easily appear on the surface and the plastic pearl itself has a rough quality. Most of wholesale marketplace’s products are made using ordinary plastic pearls.

– Crystal (glass) pearl

A pearl-like coating is applied to glass or crystal. So, it is heavier than cheap plastic pearls and has a much better shine and feel.

– Swarovski crystal pearls

It is a pearl made by Swarovski and coated on crystal to give it a pearl feel.

There are a lot of small pearl-shaped or pearl-like ones that can be seen at wholesale accessory stores. If the price is not high, you can think of them as plastic pearls.

If you know these basic differences, you can check what type of pearl it is when purchasing it at wholesale marketplace before purchasing it, and also understand the impact of the type of pearl on the cost.

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