Cultured pearls are pearls that have had a helping hand from humans, "pearls that are grown or cultured by tissue grafting techniques or nucleation. Mussels are opened a tiny amount by a technician who inserts a very small piece of tissue or bead. The mussel produces nacre (or pearl) to cover over the irritant. Over time, more and more layers of nacre covers the nucleus, producing a lustrous pearl. This process can also occur naturally when a tiny bit of grit or sand enters the mussel but naturally formed freshwater pearls are very rare and very rarely round, however it is possible to culture a nearly round pearl by inserting a round bead."
This process can take from 2 - 7 years!
Freshwater pearls are either natural or grown the same way as cultured pearls with the mussel living in freshwater lakes and rivers.
Synthetic or man-made pearls usually look exactly like real pearls except they may appear to be more "perfect" as in more perfectly round and more lustrous. This makes them popular, not just in baby and children's jewellery but also adults' jewellery.
Pearls denote innocence and purity. This makes them particularly popular in baby bracelets and earrings. The colours all flatter a baby's perfect skin. Pearls occur naturally in white, pink, apricot, lavender and mauve, with white being the most popular. They team beautifully with both gold and silver and the sparkle of crystals. by Christening jewellery made from pearls has been popular for decades with no sign of that changing.