How Pearls Form
Pearls are found in certain fresh water and salt water mollusks and formed either by natural means, meaning that they are formed in the wild by nature, or they may be cultured, meaning that the mollusk is deliberately munipulated by human to make pearl.
Farming mussels and oysters for pearl cultivation is big business in many countries including Japan, China, Myanmar, India, Indonesia, and the French Polynesian Islands and nations around the Persian Gulf.
Pearls are formed by a biological, protective reaction that is triggered in living mollusks, such as oysters and mussels, when foreign matter is lodged in it's body causing irritation.
This foreign matter, sand, shell, or other material, causes a secretion of calcium carbonate, called nache, and a natural binder, called conchiolin, to be released as a way to fight off the effects of the irritant.
The calcium carbonate and conhiolin surrounds, encrusts, and binds the grain of sand or other irritant, forming a smooth, hard sac that isolates the foreign matter from the mollusks inner tissue.
Over a period of time, the sac, made of aragonite crystals, develops one layer upon another and the result of this layered, self immunization is a pearl.
Pearls are normally round, or spherical, but may come in other shapes and forms. Asymmetrical or baroque shapes are also common, along with hemispherical, or blistered pearls, that grow on the surface inside the shell.
Although pearls are soft, their layered structure and organic binder gives them a tough texture that makes them hard to crush or break.
Unlike diamond, sapphires, rubies and other gemstones, pearls have no cleavage so they fracture unevenly so they are not normally cut or chiseled when they are used for jewelry.
Pearls are normally drilled and strung together when used for necklaces. They are used to adorn rings, brooches, amulets, and earrings, and they are exquisitely beautiful on gold, silver and other precious metals.
One reason why pearls have such a great appeal is because they are naturally beautiful and they don't require processing of any kind and can be taken and used straight out of the mollusk.
Pearls are usually graded and priced by form, color, shape, size and their luster.
For thousands of years, pearls have been used as jewelry and other adornments and their popularity is stronger than ever, thus making pearls a perpetual hot commodity.
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