Pearls are an organic gemstone formed by living organisms. They have become very popular througout the ages due to their iridescence, high sheen and beautiful luster. Certain mollusks produce gem quality pearls by secreting layers of aragonite (nacre, a mixture organic and inorganic substances) as a natural defense towards an irritant such as a grain of sand. These layers gradually build up around the irritant, which in the end results as a beautiful pearl. Although pearls are characterized by their body colour, they also have an "Overtone". This is the word used to describe the colourful glint of a pearl in various lighting conditions. Although Pearl's can occur naturally, this is very rare and most pearls seen on the market are "Cultured Pearls". Inserting a foreign substance into the mollusk will cause it to form a pearl. The difference between natural and cultured pearls are that the foreign substance is introduced by man rather than nature. These are still real pearls as the mollusk does exactly the same thing. Pearls come in a wide palate of colours and these are often broken down by variety: Akoya Pearls- Classically white pearls with overtones of rose, cream and silver. The black-dyed varity are also very popular. Freshwater Pearls- Known as the Pearl with the widest variety of colours and shapes. They occur naturally and are found in freshwater. The most common colours of these are Lavender, White and peach. In extremely rare cases they can even be blue. These can also be dyed black or bleached. South Sea Pearls- These pearls usually fall into two categories, "White South Sea Pearls" and "Golden South Sea pearls". The white variety can have overtones of rose and silver that give them a high shine and silky appearance. The golden variety varies from light champagne to rich golden colours. The darker the colour the higher the price. Tahitian Pearls- The most valuable variety, Tahitian pearls are the only naturally occurring dark pearl. Tahitian pearls often have colours of grey, silver and green with overtones ranging from pink to dark green.
Since ancient times, pearls have been viewed as a symbol of perfection. In many countries pearls were worn to signify wealth and power. Pearls were also worn as a talisman to bring good fortune, ward off illness and banish evil spirits. The Latin word for pearl literally means unique, attesting to the fact that no two pearls are identical. The oldest pearl necklace was found in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess and is nearly 2000 years old. Pearls were worn in the Asia and Middle Eastern societies as early as 3500 BC and continued to grow in popularity during Roman times. Legend says that Cleopatra dissolved a pearl in wine and drank it to prove her love to Marc Antonius A pearl called "La Peregrina" (the incomparable) was found in the Americas and is considered one of the most famous pearls in the world. It is reported to be the size of a pigeons egg and its famous owners include Mary Tudor of England, Napoleon III and Elizabeth Taylor.
Pearls with a high silky sheen that displays iridescent overtones are most sought after. Colour is subjective to the buyer. Pearls come in all different shapes but the round uniform shape is the most popular.
Indian Name: chandra(Moon) or Moti
Color: White, pink, silver-, cream-, brown, green, blue, black, yellow, rainbow