Pearls have always been an ultimate object of beauty. Made up of calcium carbonate, pearls are hard to feel and round in shape. They attain shape within the mantle or other soft tissue of a living shelled mollusk. Pearls are mostly liked round and smooth. Though, one can find pearls in many other shapes also. Natural pearls are highly treasured all across the world. Since natural pearls are so rare, imitation or fake pearls have come into existence. Pearl EmbroideryThese imitation pearls have an extensive use in jewellery. Besides being used in jewellery, natural pearls were at one time stitched on to the attires of kings and queens in the past. Even today, pearls are used to ornate a range of traditional attires.

Depending on the way they are produced, pearls can be broadly classified into two types:

Natural Pearls
It is believed that natural pearls come into existence when a microscopic intruder or parasite makes an entry into a bivalve mollusk. In agitation, the mollusk begins secreting calcium carbonate and conchiolin to encapsulate the intruder. When the secretion activity is repeated over and again, a natural pearl takes place. Though these pearls are available in numerous shapes and sizes, the round ones are the most loved and rare.

Cultured Pearls
Pearl EmbroideryAs natural pearls happen to be both expensive and rare, cultured (nucleated and non-nucleated) and imitation pearls are produced to be used in jewellery, fashion garments and traditional attires. Only and X-ray examination can detect the difference between a natural and a cultured pearl. An X-ray examination reveals a natural pearl to have a series of concentric growth rings whereas the cultured pearl shows a solid centre.

A pearl is valued by its luster, colour, size, symmetry and lack of surface flaw. As mentioned above large and perfectly round natural pearls are found scantily. Today, cultured and imitation pearls are available in a wide range in terms of colour, size and shape. Imitation pearls are less expensive as compared to cultured pearls. Craftsmen deftly use cultured and imitation pearls to ornate garments meant for wedding or other traditional celebrations. Shape, size and colours of pearls can be selected depending on the colour and texture of fabric used to make the garments.