Pearls, natural or cultured, are formed when a mollusk produces layers of nacre around some type of irritant inside its shell.

Throughout time, Pearls have been highly regarded and valued for their stunning lustre, beauty, and rarity. Despite being quite small, natural pearls are very expensive because of how rare they are. As a result, there has been methods created to culture pearls so they are more accessible to buy and sell. They can be found in both saltwater and freshwater and are one of the only gemstones that are organic and are formed by living organisms.

The most common and familiar colour of Pearls is a milky white colour. However, Pearls come in a wide range of colours such as; white, pink, black, silver, gold and even green and blue.

Unlike other precious and semi-precious gemstones, there is no standard grading system for Pearls. However, they are valued and graded according to their lustre, shape, colour, surface, size, and symmetry. Lustre is usually considered to be a principle factor in judging pearl quality. Although, with all factors being equal, the larger the pearl the more valuable it is. Large, perfectly round pearls are rare and can stretch into the £millions.

There are four main types of pearls:
– Natural Pearls which are grown completely naturally and organically in the ocean.
– Cultured Pearls, usually grown in a pearl farm and aided by inserting a mother-of-pearl bead or a piece of tissue into the mollusk to start the process.
– Saltwater Pearls include the akoya cultured pearls grown in Japanese and Chinese waters
– Freshwater Pearls are pearls are grown in freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds

Pearl is the birthstone for those born in June and on a Monday. It is also the gem of the third and thirtieth wedding anniversaries and represents loyalty, faithfulness, friendship.

Throughout time, the pearl has been a symbol of purity and said to enhance personal integrity. It’s also associated with hidden wisdom, patience and peace. The ancient Greeks believed that pearls were actually hardened tears of joy from Aphrodite, the goddess of love, giving pearls the association with love.

Physically, pearls are thought to help in treating health issues related to the stomach, heart and spleen and also known to calm the mind and promoting mental stability.

Interestingly enough, different coloured pearls can symbolise different meanings. The white pearl was a symbol of beauty, purity and regeneration, while black pearls were used to enhance wealth and attract prosperity. Traditionally, the blue pearl was associated with love and the pink pearl was said to stimulate fame and success. The brown pearl was worn for safe-guarding.