The most valuable Pearls are perfectly symmetrical, relatively large and naturally produced. The principal oyster beds lay in the Persian Gulf, along the coasts of India and Sri Lanka, and in the Red Sea. Chinese Pearls come mainly from freshwater rivers and ponds, whereas Japanese Pearls are found near the coast in salt water.
There are many types of Pearls:
Natural Pearls -
made without human interference
- made when a foreign substance is intentionally inserted into a living oyster. This method was first used in 1893.
Baroque Pearls -
pearls that have irregular shapes
- an irregular shaped pearl which forms in the freshwater of Lake Biwa, Japan
Blister Pearls -
pearls which grow attached to the inside of the shell
- gray to black pearls
Fresh Water Pearls -
pearls which form in fresh water mollusks and resemble puffed rice
Mabe Pearls -
cultivated blister pearls
- small, tiny pearls used in Victorian jewelry and sewn on clothing)
Early Chinese myths told of pearls falling from the sky when dragons fought. Much early folklore mentions Pearls as a symbol of innocence, faith, and charity.