6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Pearls

When it comes to gemstones, it’s hard to think of an option with more timeless appeal than the pearl. Pearls come in a wide variety of shapes and styles. For that reason, pearl gemstone beads are among the most popular options sought out by jewelry making enthusiasts today. Jewelry that incorporates pearls can be classic or contemporary, understated or edgy. They suit absolutely everyone, regardless of age, skin tone, or lifestyle.


In short, pearls are one of nature’s most highly prized gifts for a reason. However, very few people know all there is to know about pearls. Let’s take a closer look at the elegant, noble pearl and explore why it just might be exactly the option you’re looking for in regards to your next project.




Not all pearls come from oysters.


Although the general buzz surrounding pearls teaches that they all come from oysters, several different mollusks have the ability to produce them. Pearls are formed when a foreign body (such as a piece of sand) finds its way into the mollusk’s shell. The shellfish responds by secreting a substance called nacre to help guard its soft internal surfaces against irritation. Pearls are formed when layer after layer of nacre is formed over the surface of the foreign body in question.


Most saltwater pearls are, indeed, created by oysters. However, freshwater pearls are more likely to have been created by mussels. Pearls are unique in that they are the only gemstone that is generated by living animals. Amazing!


 



Not every pearl is white.


When most people picture a pearl, they think of the white variety. However, while many pearls are indeed white, pearls come in a wide range of different hues. Some are pink, golden, or brown. Still other pearls are gray or even black. The color of a given pearl depends on which type of mollusk originally created it, as well as the conditions of the water where that mollusk lived.


 



Most of today’s pearls are grown on farms.


Roughly 95% of the pearls and pearl gemstones on the market today started out as cultivated pearls grown from mollusks on farms. Small irritants are artificially implanted in the mollusk in order to begin the process of pearl formation, and the entire process is tended to from beginning to end. The art of pearl farming is known as periculture.


Farm mollusks used to generate pearls are not harmed in any way. In fact, it is possible to remove each pearl without hurting or killing the animal, so one mollusk will likely create many, many pearls over the course of its lifetime. It takes roughly two years to create a pearl, and only about three out of every hundred are deemed high enough in quality to enter the market.


 



Round pearls are pretty rare.


Although most people tend to think of pearls as round, real pearls come in many different shapes. Yes, some are round (and round pearls are considered to be the most valuable). However, pearls can also be drop-shaped, pear-shaped, button-shaped, oval, or semi-round. Each shape is beautiful in its own way and has the ability to add a unique sense of character to your custom-designed jewelry pieces.


 



Some people consider pearls to have beneficial spiritual properties.


As is the case with many gemstones, pearls have become associated with multiple beliefs and properties over the years. For instance, many believe that wearing pearls can attract luck, love, money, or protection. Some say pearls can help to strengthen romantic relationships, as well as protect young children.


The ancient Chinese even believed that pearls fell from the sky when dragons fought one another. Ancient Greeks believed that pearls were the tears of the gods themselves. This is the reason brides have traditionally worn pearls on their wedding day – to keep their special day free from tears.


 



Real pearls are not smooth.


The soft, inviting glow of a pearl’s surface makes it look perfectly smooth, doesn’t it? In truth, the nacre is made up of a multitude of tiny crystals, so it’s not really smooth at all. Those in the know use this to test a pearl’s authenticity. True pearls feel gritty when rubbed against the teeth. Fakes and artificial pearls are the ones that feel smooth when this is done.


The unique natural beauty of pearls makes pearl gemstone beads a wonderful choice for even your most ambitious projects. Explore the possibilities with our extensive catalog today!