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The Types of Pearls - IELTS Reading Answers

Yocket Editorial Team

The IELTS Reading test is essential for anybody planning to study, work, or relocate to English-speaking nations. Mastery of this part necessitates strong linguistic abilities and efficient reading comprehension techniques. In this situation, understanding reading passages and correctly recognizing responses is critical. This article will examine "The Types of Pearls" and how it relates to IELTS reading. By analyzing the passage and critiquing example responses, we want to give valuable insights and tactics to assist test takers in effectively traversing this area. This article provides thorough information for improving reading comprehension and eventually succeeding on the IELTS Reading exam, from understanding the material to breaking down sample responses.

Table of Contents

The Types of Pearls IELTS Reading Passage

Paragraph 1

Throughout history, pearls have held a unique presence within the wealthy and powerful. For instance, the pearl was the favoured gem of the wealthy during the Roman Empire. This gift from the sea had been brought back from the orient by the Roman conquests. Roman women wore pearls to bed so they could be reminded of their wealth immediately upon waking up. Before jewellers learned to cut gems, the pearl was of greater value than the diamond. In the Orient and Persia Empire, pearls were ground into powders to cure anything from heart disease to epilepsy, with possible aphrodisiac uses as well. Pearls were once considered an exclusive privilege for royalty. A law in 1612 drawn up by the Duke of Saxony prohibited the wearing of pearls by the nobility, professors, doctors or their wives in an effort to further distinguish royal appearance. American Indians also used freshwater pearls from the Mississippi River as decorations and jewellery.

Paragraph 2

There are essentially three types of pearls: natural, cultured and imitation. A natural pearl (often called an Oriental pearl) forms when an irritant, such as a piece of sand, works its way into a particular species of oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defense mechanism, the mollusk secretes a fluid to coat the irritant. The layer upon layer of this coating is deposited on the irritant until a lustrous pearl is formed.

Paragraph 3

The only difference between natural pearls and cultured pearls is that the irritant is a surgically implanted bead or piece of shell called Mother of Pearl. Often, these shells are ground oyster shells that are worth significant amounts of money in their own right as irritant-catalysts for quality pearls. The resulting core is, therefore, much larger than in a natural pearl. Yet, as long as there are enough layers of nacre (the secreted fluid covering the irritant) to result in a beautiful, gem-quality pearl, the size of the nucleus is of no consequence to beauty or durability.

Paragraph 4

Pearls can come from either salt or freshwater sources. Typically, saltwater pearls tend to be higher quality, although there are several types of freshwater pearls that are considered high in quality as well. Freshwater pearls tend to be very irregular in shape, with a puffed rice appearance, the most prevalent. Nevertheless, it is each individual pearl’s merits that determines value more than the source of the pearl. Saltwater pearl oysters are usually cultivated in protected lagoons or volcanic atolls. However, most freshwater cultured pearls sold today come from China. Cultured pearls are the response of the shell to a tissue implant. A tiny piece of mantle tissue from a donor shell is transplanted into a recipient shell. This graft will form a pearl sac and the tissue will precipitate calcium carbonate into this pocket. There are a number of options for producing cultured pearls: use freshwater or seawater shells, transplant the graft into the mantle or the gonad, add a spherical bead or do it non-beaded. The majority of saltwater cultured pearls are grown with beads.

Paragraph 5

Regardless of the method used to acquire a pearl, the process usually takes several years. Mussels must reach a mature age, which can take up to 3 years, and then be implanted or naturally receive an irritant. Once the irritant is in place, it can take up to another 3 years for the pearl to reach its full size. Often, the irritant may be rejected, the pearl will terrifically misshapen, or the oyster may simply die from disease or countless other complications. By the end of a 5 to 10-year cycle, only 50% of the oysters will have survived. And of the pearls produced, only approximately 5% are of substantial quality for top jewellery makers. From the outset, a pearl farmer can figure on spending over $100 for every oyster that is farmed, of which many will produce nothing or die.

Paragraph 6

Imitation pearls are a different story altogether. In most cases, a glass bead is dipped into a solution made from fish scales. This coating is thin and may eventually wear off. One can usually tell an imitation by biting on it. Fake pearls glide across your teeth, while the layers of nacre on real pearls feel gritty. The Island of Mallorca (in Spain) is known for its imitation pearl industry. Quality natural pearls are very rare jewels. The actual value of a natural pearl is determined in the same way as it would be for other “precious” gems. The valuation factors include size, shape, and colour, quality of surface, orient, and lustre. In general, cultured pearls are less valuable than natural pearls, whereas imitation pearls almost have no value. One way that jewellers can determine whether a pearl is cultured or natural is to have a gem lab perform an x-ray of the pearl. If the x-ray reveals a nucleus, the pearl is likely a bead-nucleated saltwater pearl. If no nucleus is present, but irregular and small dark inner spots indicating a cavity are visible, combined with concentric rings of organic substance, the pearl is likely a cultured freshwater. Cultured freshwater pearls can often be confused for natural pearls which present as homogeneous pictures that continuously darken toward the surface of the pearl. Natural pearls will often show larger cavities where organic matter has dried out and decomposed. Although imitation pearls look the part, they do not have the same weight or smoothness as real pearls, and their luster will also dim greatly. Among cultured pearls, Akoya pearls from Japan are some of the most lustrous. A good quality necklace of 40 Akoya pearls measuring 7 mm in diameter sells for about $1,500, while a super- high-quality strand sells for about $4,500. Size, on the other hand, has to do with the age of the oyster that created the pearl (the more mature oysters produce larger pearls) and the location in which the pearl was cultured. The South Sea waters of Australia tend to produce the larger pearls; probably because the water along the coastline is supplied with rich nutrients from the ocean floor. Also, the type of mussel common to the area seems to possess a predilection for producing comparatively large pearls

Paragraph 7

Historically, the world’s best pearls came from the Persian Gulf, especially around what is now Bahrain. The pearls of the Persian Gulf were naturally created and collected by breath-hold divers. The secret to the special lustre of Gulf pearls probably derived from the unique mixture of sweet and saltwater around the island. Unfortunately, the natural pearl industry of the Persian Gulf ended abruptly in the early 1930s with the discovery of large deposits of oil. Those who once dove for pearls sought prosperity in the economic boom ushered in by the oil industry. The water pollution resulting from spilt oil and indiscriminate over-fishing of oysters essentially ruined the once pristine pearl-producing waters of the Gulf. Today, pearl diving is practised only as a hobby. Still, Bahrain remains one of the foremost trading centres for high-quality pearls. In fact, cultured pearls are banned from the Bahrain pearl market, in an effort to preserve the location’s heritage. Nowadays, the largest stock of natural pearls probably resides in India. Ironically, much of India’s stock of natural pearls came originally from Bahrain. Unlike Bahrain, which has essentially lost its pearl resource, traditional pearl fishing is still practised on a small scale in India.

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The Types of Pearls Questions

Questions 1-4

Choose the paragraph that contains the following information.

Write the correct letter of the paragraph in boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet.

1. Past stories about the pearls and its users
2. Difficulties in producing pearls
3. Ways to check the value of natural pearls
4. Process to differentiate cultural pearls from natural pearls

Questions 5-10

Complete the summary with a maximum of two words for each answer.

Write the correct answer in boxes 5-10 on your answer sheet.

In the historical period, pearls were of great importance among powerful and wealthy men and were used as precious stones for women in (5)………….. Pearls were also used as a remedy by the people of (6)………….. The pearls are categorized into three types namely: imitation pearls, cultured pearls, and natural pearls. China is known for the freshwater cultured pearls and the imitation pearl industry is situated in (7)………….. Island. Good quality natural pearls are very rare. Some of the shiniest pearls are manufactured in (8)………….. while (9)………….. produces large-size pearls because of the favorable environmental conditions near the shore. In ancient times, the best quality pearls were produced in (10)………….. in the Persian Gulf. These days, India has the highest amount of natural pearls.

Questions 11-13

Check whether or not the below statements agree with the passage.

#solution-for-the-types-of-pearlsWrite True/ False/ Not Given in boxes 11-13 on your answer sheet.

11. In general, cultured pearls have a larger center than natural pearls.
12. At times, real pearls can be less expensive than fake ones.
13. The pearls of Japan are smaller than those of Australia.

The Types of Pearls Answers with Explanations

The types of pearls answers with Explanations are given below. It will assist you in understanding the format of the reading test and will allow you to correct your errors.

1. Answer: A

Explanation: The fact that ancient Romans and Persians valued and used pearls highly is stated in paragraph A. As a result, it shares tales about pearls and their wearers.

2. Answer: E

Explanation: The length of time it takes to produce pearls is stated in paragraph E. A danger of infections exists as well, which can cause many pearls to be damaged. This demonstrates how difficult it is to make pearls.

3. Answer: G

Explanation: The fact that the natural pearls are tested in various methods, including sending them to a gem lab and getting X-rays, is stated in paragraph G.

4. Answer: C

Explanation: The irritant in farmed pearls is implanted surgically into oysters, as stated in paragraph C. Compared to genuine pearls, they produce cores that are substantially bigger.


Explanation: The fact that Roman ladies put pearls on them to feel prosperous is stated in paragraph A.

6. Answer: PERSIA

Explanation: The use of powdered pearl powders as medicine by the Persian people is mentioned in paragraph A.

7. Answer: MALLORCA

Explanation: The fact that Mallorca Island is well-known for its fake pearl business is stated in paragraph F.

8. Answer: JAPAN

Explanation: Japan is said to produce the pearls with the greatest sheen in paragraph G.

9. Answer: AUSTRALIA

Explanation: The production of huge pearls in Australia is mentioned in paragraph G.

10. Answer: BAHRAIN

Explanation: The fact that Bahrain is where the best pearls were discovered is mentioned in paragraph H.

11. Answer: TRUE

Explanation: The passage from the previous paragraph indicates that cultivated pearls have a bigger center than natural pearls.

12. Answer: NOT GIVEN

Explanation: N/A

13. Answer: TRUE

Explanation: The fact that Australia has larger pearls is stated in paragraph G. It demonstrates that Australian pearls are larger than pearls from Japan.

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Tips for Answering the IELTS Reading Test

A key element in assessing your ability to comprehend and interpret written facts is the reading segment of the IELTS. To score well on the IELTS reading section, you need English proficiency. But, you also need to understand analysing and interpreting texts. 

Here are a few guidelines to help you prepare for the IELTS reading section:

  • Pay attention to details while reading
  • Improve your vocabulary
  • Work on analysis 
  • Focus on keywords
  • Practise regularly 


The IELTS reading section is crucial as it evaluates the ability of the test taker to read, process, and analyse the information. To get good scores in IELTS reading you have to be good at analysing and comprehending the text. You have to answer 40 questions in 60 minutes. This makes the IELTS Reading test hard due to time limits.

Securing good scores in IELTS is important but there are various other things you have to go through such as shortlisting universities, applying to universities, getting visas, finding scholarships, and a lot more. If you feel overwhelmed with these steps and want to know more about how to score high bands in the IELTS examination, reach out to Yocket. Yocket experts will help you streamline your preparation and will guide you through the complex process of studying abroad. Connect with Yocket experts today to make your study abroad journey smooth.

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