"The Pearl is the Queen of Gems and the Gem of Queens."
~Author Unknown~

"What? You like my PEARLS you say?
Why, they're MiShel Designs, of course!"

I love pearls. I mean I REALLY love them! 

I’ve loved pearls since I was a little girl and quite frankly, "I don't think there's a pearl I've met that I haven't fallen in love with!" 

I'm a CPAA Certificed Pearl Specialist and I earned my Pearls Diploma from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) back in 2006.

Quick Facts About Pearls:
(the non-boring, not-so-technical stuff)
There are two types of pearls - Real pearls and Imitation pearls.  

Breaking this down, there are two types of Real Pearls: Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls. 

Natural pearls are: a pearl formed without human assistance. (found in nature, forming on it's own via natural circumstances with out any human intervention)

Cultural pearls are: a pearl formed as the result of human intervention in the formation process.  (pearls formed when humans have intervened and 'helped' the natural process along).  

 Under Cultured Pearls there are two types: Freshwater Cultured Pearls and Saltwater Cultured Pearls. 

Freshwater Cultured Pearls are cultured in bodies of freshwater such as lakes, etc.
Under Saltwater Cultured Pearls there are three main (most common) types, including akoya, Tahitian and South Sea, and these are cultured in bodies of saltwater. 

Yes, Cultured pearls, whether Freshwater Cultured or Saltwater Cultured, are real pearlsNot Natural Pearls, but still real pearls.  And they both (freshwater cultured pearls and saltwater cultured pearls) come from Bivalve Mollusks (oysters, mussels, etc.) 

Natural Pearls can be distinguished from Cultured Pearls by an x-ray to reveal their inner components/structure.  (Although I will not go into detail between tissue nucleation vs. bead nucleation or things of this nature, I have provided links further down on this page for those of you who are interested in learning more.) 

Natural pearls are extremely rare in this day and age and therefore quite expensive, especially compared to their cultured pearl counterparts.  I'd love to be able to hold an entire strand of Natural Pearls in my hands,....Yes, this is on my bucket list!

As far as Imitation pearls go, there are tons of them.  Anything such as Swarovski Crystal Pearls (awesome colors and cool shapes!), to Resin or Plastic pearls, Majorica/Majorca Pearls, or any pearl that is neither a Natural or a Cultured Pearl is an Imitation. Many people refer to these pearls as 'faux' pearls.  In the industry, we refer to them as imitation.

Pearls! Pearls!! Pearls!! Blog Hop Reveal Post
Click Here!
(1st Pearls Blog Hop Post with lots of great links and information)


Click HERE for a link to a prior post answering questions such as,
What cord do I use to knot my pearl designs, where to purchase large hole pearls and
"Can I dip my pearls in a liver-of-sulfur solution along with my metal?"

Hand Knotted Freshwater Cultured
Pearls and Swarovski Crystals


"Cotton Candy" - Hand Knotted Freshwater Cultured Pearls
and Sterling Silver Lariat Necklace by Michelle Buettner - MiShel Designs

I like to hand knot Pearls or put them in designs with various metals, leathers, cords and other interesting materials.

I wear pearls with everything and I believe pearls go with anyone, for any occasion, anytime, anyplace, any season, for any reason! 

Freshwater Cultured Pearls and Swarovski Crystals
Hand Knotted on Silk - Michelle Buettner/MiShel Designs


The mystic properties of pearls lend them to be associated mostly with women and they are known as the ultimate gemstone for feminine energy. (You Go Girlfriend!!)

Pearls are said to represent purity, faith, loyalty, truth, charity, innocence, spirituality and wisdom (to name a few things).

Some cultures use pearls as a way of helping women to connect with their “inner goddesses” and pearls are believed to help you focus, keep you centered and to give the wearer a sense of calmness.

Photo by Michelle Buettner / MiShel Designs

Goddess Freya - Wire Sculpture by Michelle Buettner

"Ancient Rome" Freshwater Cultured Pearl and Pewter Cross Bracelet
by Michelle Buettner / MiShel Designs

 Below are links to Pearl education, jewelry industry magazines, a few suppliers and general info.


Earring Design and Ear Wires by Michelle Buettner / MiShel Designs
Artisan made copper links by Kristi Bowman of Kristi Bowman Design