Cultured pearls clarification

Was: [Source] Cultured Diamonds

A cultured pearl is made by a bivalve mollusk 

note that the species of mollusk generally used for cultured pearls
is generally different from the species in which typical natural
pearls might be found. At least as regard the japanese akoya

around a bit (large or small) of stuff that man puts in the oyster
instead of it getting in there through some act of nature. 

The the “stuff” put in there is just wildly different from anything
nature would put in. In a natural pearl of any significant size, the
originating irritant might still be a tiny speck. In the cultured,
it’s a bead that’s almost the size of the finished pearl, made of a
material totally different from what the usual natural irritant would
have been…

It is made by an oyster-- it's "real"-- not simulated or

Well, no. not “It’s “real””, but rather, just that thin outer nacre
that the oyster added. Unlike a natural pearl where the built up
nacre usually accounts for almost all the pearl, in the cultured
ones, only a small percentage is added by the oyster. The bulk of the
mass is decidedly not “real”…

It is not a "natural" pearl, but it is still a pearl. Just in the
same way that a lab-grown gem is "real", but not "natural" 

Only sorta. In the lab-grown gem, there are generally minor
differences of structure that allow separations to be made
gemologically, but the basic chemistry and gemology of the entire gem
duplicates that of the natural version. In the cultured pearl, only
that thin outer layer does so. While a cultured pearl duplicates the
look of a natural pearl as well as much of it’s utility, it does not
duplicate the full structure.

I know, I know. Gettin picky here. But then gemological definitions
and nomenclature in general tends to be that way… (grin)



Anyone can argue with me. However:

It is made by an oyster-- it's "real"-- not simulated or

Everything that exists is “real”. Synthetics are “real” synthetics.
By saying that it is a “real” pearl you imply that it is a “natural”
pearl. A layman will usually not understand the difference. And
therein lies the problem. If you say this pearl is a “real” pearl to
them without then further explaining that it is a cultured pearl
started by man, you are breaking the FTC rules about gemstone
disclosure. For more on the thinking behind the misuse of
the term “cultured” in regards to synthetics you can check this link

which is a briefing the JVC has filed with the FTC.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

If you say this pearl is a "real" pearl to them without then
further explaining that it is a cultured pearl... 

Don’t worry, Daniel, I never use the word “real” in my business
context, for exactly the reasons you state. If someone asks me “Is
it real?” my basic nature wants to say, “well, I don’t think it’s
imaginary!” but I’ve learned to control myself, mostly (some might
beg to differ).

I describe cultured pearls as such, and go further, giving whatever
I know about the source, quality, whether natural-color or dyes,

I still feel I have to explain “synthetic” for fear of people
thinking “artificial”, but in fact it seldom comes up as I don’t
(knowingly) use synthetic stones in my work. It does come up with
students, but any student I’ve ever had will tell you I’m likely to
tell them more than they ever wanted to know about nearly anything
that comes up. But I guess I’m not alone there! ;>)