For many centuries pearls have been a valued gemstone, worn in jewelry items such as necklaces, earrings, and stitched onto expensive pieces of clothing. Pearls have also been used in crushed form for medicines, paint, and makeup at times in the past.
Pearls form in the mouths of clams. Traditionally the only way to acquire pearls was for a diver to go to the ocean floor and gather clams, opening them and pulling the valuable pearls out of the clams mouths. Today pearls are made in pearl farms, where clams are raised until they reach the proper age, and the pearls are then harvested. Also, many fake pearls are made today out of cheap materials. These fake pearls are easy to spot, as they are not as iridescent as real pearls.
The Value of Pearls
A baby-sized strand of pearls can sell for anywhere between $300 and $1,500 dollars, while the most expensive pearl in the history of the world is valued at $3.5 million dollars because of its great size. It weighs 14 pounds and is 9 inches in diameter, though its shape is large and lumpy.
Types of Real Pearls
Usually people who want pearls wants pearls that are round and smooth. But, another type of pearl, called baroque pearls, have a non-spherical shape. These pearls can be oval in shape, curved to one side, or lumpy. Most freshwater farmed pearls are baroque, because of the unnatural methods which are used to form pearls inside of the clam. Natural pearls formed in the wild are usually spherical, and if they do have a baroque shape it is usually a teardrop shape.
Colors of Pearls
Pearls can come in a variety of shades. Black and white are the most sought after, but some other rare colors are blue, green, pink, and purple. It can take several years to amass enough natural pearls of a particular shade to make a necklace with only pearls of that shade.
Julia Lawrence thoroughly enjoys spending time researching and writing about diamonds, jewelry and pop culture! When she isn't hard at work writing blog posts for The Diamond Lining, she spends her time wither with an absolutely adorable Mini Golder Retriever: Jake, and her husband: Mr. Julia Lawrence.
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