Pearls are the only gem created by living animals. Mollusks create pearls by depositing layers of calcium carbonate around microscopic irritants which have lodged inside their shells–typically a grain of sand, as generally believed. While some shelled mollusk can theoretically make a decoration, just two kinds of bivalve mollusks (or clams) utilize mother-of-pearl to produce the iridescent “nacreous” pearls which are appreciated in jewellery. These rare gems do not need any polishing to show their natural luster. Because perfectly shine, all-natural pearls are so rare, the term “pearl” can refer to anything more uncommon and precious. The vast majority of pearls sold today are cultured or farmed by planting a grafted bit of casing (and on occasion a round bead) into pearl oysters or freshwater pearl mussels. They’re sensitive to intense heat and acidity; in actuality, calcium carbonate is indeed prone to acid which pearls will dissolve in vinegar. The best pearls possess a reflective ribbon, which makes them look creamy white with an iridescent sheen which casts many vibrant colors. Cultured freshwater pearls are also dyed yellow, blue, green, brown, pink, black or purple. Dark pearls–that are largely cultured since they’re so uncommon in nature–are not really black but instead green, purple, black, silver or blue. Pearls utilized available in many areas of the Earth, but organic pearling is currently restricted to the Persian Gulf waters near Bahrain. Australia owns among the planet’s last remaining cherry diving fleets, and still harvests natural pearls in the Indian Ocean. Nowadays, most freshwater cultured pearls come in China. In most civilizations, pearls represent purity and innocence, which explains why it’s heritage for a bride to wear pearls on her wedding day.

The earliest known pearl jewelry has been found at the sarcophagus of a Persian Princess who perished 520 B.C.Ancient Japanese folktales advised that pearls were made in the tears of mythical creatures such as mermaids and nymphs. Early Chinese cultures believed that paintings transported pearls between their teeth, and the dragon has to be slain to assert the pearls–that represented wisdom. Other civilizations associated pearls together with the moon, calling them “teardrops of this moon.” Hindu folklore clarified that dewdrops fell from the moon to the sea, and Krishna chose one because of his daughter on her wedding day. Since natural pearls were so rare during history, just the wealthiest echelon could manage them. Throughout the Byzantine Empire, rules ordered that only the emperor was permitted to wear such treasured gemstones. Tudor England was called the Pearl Age due to the rock’s popularity with the top class during the sixteenth century. Portraits showed royals sporting pearl jewelry and clothes adorned with pearls. Pearls became more accessible from the early 1900s when the first business culturing of saltwater pearls started in Asia. Since the 1920s, cultured pearls have nearly entirely replaced natural pearls from the marketplace–which makes this timeless bead cheap for almost any budget.