The Gemstone Guide to Pearls
The world's oldest known gem. A symbol of purity and hope.
About the Pearl
The only gem grown in a living organism, real pearls can occur naturally or cultured with human intervention.
Natural pearls have been found throughout history in mussels and oysters. The creation of a pearl is believed today to be the result of an intrusion of a parasite or an injury to the mollusk.
Other mollusks such as abalone, clams, melo melo and conch snails can also produce natural pearls.
Most cultured pearls are grown in varieties of freshwater mussels or saltwater oysters.
One of the unique qualities of a pearl is its mother-of-pearl like substance called nacre. Concentric layers of nacre reflect and diffract light from the pearl's surface to create its characteristic lustre and overtones.
White, Cream, Golden, Pink, Silver, Grey, Green and Black are naturally occurring colours.
Some pearls may also be treated with bleaching, irradiation or dye to change their colour.
Where it's found
Cultured pearls today are mainly grown in Australia, China, French Polynesia, the Gulf of Mexico, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar (Burma) and the Philippinnes.
2.5 (1 soft to 10 hard)
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