Pearls are a type of gemstone that are formed inside the shells of certain molluscs, such as oysters and mussels. They are created when an irritant, such as a piece of sand or a parasite, enters the shell of the mollusc and the animal responds by secreting layers of a substance called nacre around the irritant.
Natural pearls are now one of the best performers in annual appreciation, not to mention one of the world’s most beautiful, naturally occurring gemstones. These wondrous gems usually come in the form of pearl necklaces or earrings and are becoming so sought after that I would probably advise natural pearls as the best buy you could ever consider.
The natural pearl has to be accompanied by a respected laboratory report stating that the pearls have been x-rayed and are found to be natural. A cultured pearl always has a seed in the middle of the pearl, which will have been inserted into the oyster.
Natural pearls, which are formed without human intervention, are rare and highly valued. Most of the pearls on the market today are cultured pearls, which are produced by intentionally introducing an irritant into a mollusc and then carefully cultivating the pearl that grows around it.
To make the pearl grow, a cultured pearl is an entirely different gem from a natural pearl and should never be compared. Out of every untouched oyster that is opened, only one in ten thousand will hold a natural pearl; only a few are found to be of gem quality enough to be used in jewellery.
This gives you an idea of how rare these gems are, especially when acknowledging that the world’s natural pearls production has nearly dried up. Matching a string of genuine pearls is an art form; matching the size, nacre, and age of pearls to make a perfect string is a significant challenge. When comparing natural pearls to diamonds, it is easy to see how there is no comparison as diamonds are pulled out of the earth by the ton load every year, and new finds occur almost daily. Hence, the argument that diamonds are very rare is hard to sustain. The world’s cleverest money is now filtering into natural pearls. There is no reason for you not to buy with the right money and buy something genuinely very rare.
Pearls have been prized for their beauty and rarity for thousands of years, and they have been used to create jewellery, decorative objects, and even clothing. They are also associated with a variety of cultural and symbolic meanings, and are often given as gifts to mark special occasions such as weddings and graduations.
To read more about pearls, visit the GIA Pearl page