Pearls

Keywords: Purity, Innocence, Honesty, Integrity

Birthstone: Pearl and cultured pearl along with alexandrite and moonstone are birthstones for the month of June.

Wedding anniversary: Freshwater Pearl is the anniversary gemstone for the 1st year of marriage while Saltwater Pearl is the anniversary gemstone for the 12th and 30th year of marriage.

A pearl is a hard object produced within the soft tissue (specifically the mantle) of a living shelled mollusk. Just like the shell of a mollusk, a pearl is made up of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form, which has been deposited in concentric layers.

The ideal pearl is perfectly round and smooth, but many other shapes of pearls (baroque pearls) occur. The finest quality natural pearls have been highly valued as gemstones and objects of beauty for many centuries, and because of this, the word pearl has become a metaphor for something very rare, fine, admirable, and valuable.

Valuable pearls occur in the wild, but they are very rare. Cultured or farmed pearls produced by a mollusk after the intentional introduction of a foreign object inside the creature's shell make up the majority of those that are currently sold. Pearls from the sea are valued more highly than freshwater pearls. Imitation or fake pearls are also widely sold in inexpensive jewellery  , but the quality of their iridescence is usually very poor and are generally easily distinguished from genuine pearls.

Pearls that are considered to be of gemstone quality are almost always nacreous and iridescent, like the interior of the shell that produces them. However, almost all species of shelled mollusks are capable of producing pearls of lesser shine or less spherical shape.

Pearls are characterized by their translucence and lustre and by a delicate play of surface color called orient. The more perfect its shape (spherical or droplike) and the deeper its lustre, the greater its value. Only those pearls produced by mollusks whose shells are lined with mother-of-pearl (e.g., certain species of both saltwater oysters and freshwater clams) are really fine pearls. Pearls from other mollusks are reddish or whitish and lacking in pearly lustre.

The color of pearls varies with the mollusk and its environment. It ranges from black to white, with the rose of Indian pearls esteemed most. Other colors are cream, gray, blue, yellow, lavender, green, and mauve. All occur in delicate shades. Cultured pearls are being produced in virtually every color of the rainbow.

The finest Oriental pearls are found in the Persian Gulf. Other notable sources of fine-quality pearls include the Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka, the waters off Celebes, Indonesia, and the islands of the South Pacific. In the Americas, the Gulf of California, the Gulf of Mexico, and the waters of the Pacific coast of Mexico have yielded dark-hued pearls with a metallic sheen as well as white pearls of good quality.

Freshwater mussels in the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere have produced pearls of great value, as for example those from the Mississippi River. Japan and Australia are the largest producers of cultured pearls, though Fiji also produces some.

As an emblem of modesty, chastity and purity, the pearl symbolizes love, success, and happiness.

 
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