It is hard to believe that the rarity and the value of the pearl have been recognized for many centuries. The ancient Egyptians understood this value, therefore they used pearls in the making of their own jewelry. Perhaps the ancient Egyptians did not understand the rarity of the pearl, but they clearly understood its beauty.
We all know that pearls are a natural occurrence via the oyster and although there are approximately 8,000 species of oysters, only about 20 of those species can produce a pearl. Yet not all of the pearls that are produced contain the required spherical shape, so this explains why pearls hold a very significant value and also explains why one strand of pearls can cost you hundreds of dollars.
But what about those strands of pearls that usually cost around $ 50? Those particular pearls are called 'cultured pearls.' These cultured pearls are synthetically produced and are the primary method of production of today's pearl jewelry. This method was actually discovered in the 1800's and involves the surgical implantation of a synthetic agent into an oyster that promotes pearl growth. Depending on the type of Oyster used it will determine the type of pearl produced, but, since the type of pearl Oyster, that spherical shape that is desired by pearl lovers can be achieved via this method.
Even an experienced jeweler is going to have difficulty telling the difference between an authentic pearl and a cultured pearl. Chances are the jeweler will not know at all without he can give the pearl an x-ray and you can rest assured that he is probably not going to have an x-ray machine in his store. Yet, if you're shopping for pearls, you can most likely tell the difference in the pearls based on their prices. The size of the pearl can make a difference, but if you compare a natural pearl and a cultured pearl of the same size, you are going to see a huge price variation.
So when shopping for pearls, you now know why some are affordable and some are not. If you want rare pearl jewelry, then sometimes you should seek out a natural pearl, but if you just want a pearl without the expense, maybe a cultured pearl is the way to go. Just think of it, that in a way, that no one will ever know the difference when looking at it and will believe your pearls to be as natural as you are.