I bought some shell pearls just to see what they are like. They are lovely! The shell pearl is manufactured out of shells, and start with the same process used to create the shell nuclei that is the beginning of a cultured pearl. The shell is then shaped manually...and painstakingly. Then it is drilled, strung, dyed and baked. Many colors are available. Finally, the pearl is polished and strung for the second time. There are many quality controls built into the process, and in the end, a shell pearl can pass for a cultured pearl. Just so you know. Jewelry designers love shell pearls because they come in large sizes and their appearance is so delightful. As one website states, "They should be enjoyed".