There are three types of Pearls: Cultured, Natural and Simulated
• Cultured Pearls and Natural Pearls are both real and made by the Oyster. The only difference is the way they get their start.
With Cultured Pearls, a round piece of shell is inserted into the Oyster when the Oyster is 3 years old. The Oyster secrets layers and layers of Nacre over the round piece of shell and after a total of 6 years, a real pearl is formed. No one knows what causes the Pearls to vary in colour. Recent theories are that the soil below where the oysters are being cultured may be a contributing factor. Oysters are then harvested once it reaches maturity and has died (not before).
With Natural Pearls, sand enters by accident, possibly pushed in by an ocean wave.
• Since Cultured Pearls are the same as Natural Pearls and diving is no longer economically feasible, retailers no longer carry Natural Pearls.
• Simulated (Faux) Pearls are made of either glass or plastic.