Pearls are one of those few pieces of jewelry that are produced by living organisms or are organic in nature, like amber (which is a plant resin) or jet (which is an organic deposit). Pearls have a luminous glow that is unique in that it depends on both reflection and refraction from different translucent layers of the pearl. As the light breaks by differential amount at each layer, it effuses a complex soft glow, very unlike other precious stones.
Produced naturally by certain mollusk, pearl is mainly calcium carbonate (CaCO3) formed upon nacre or mother-of-pearl. Till the 20th century, the only way of pearl harvesting was by hunting – divers would pull oysters from ocean floors and river bottoms. Shortly into the new century, however, a Japanese by the name of Kokichi Mikimoto developed a mechanism whereby oysters were impregnated with artificial irritants which induced the oysters to dump calcium deposits on them, creating pearls. Thus, pearl harvesting was developed, a process that has become the de facto way of procuring pearls.
Most pearl production takes about three years after which the pearl is removed with surgery, and those that survive are again impregnated once again. While, post-20th century pearl production has increased tremendously, the number of perfect pearls has not increased at the same rate. The value of pearls is determined by a number of factors including their luster, color, size, surface flaw and symmetry and the type. While perfect pearls are precious and are used for standalone jewelry, pendants, etc, the imperfect ones are used together in the form of necklace and other strings.
Regardless of what type of pearl you have a fancy for, this section of the website has enough resources to meet all your demands. From Akoya pearls to South Sea pearls you will find everything here.