An extremely unique gem, Pearls are the only gemstone to come from a living creature. Pearl's form in oysters or mussels underwater whereas all other gemstones form deep underground in the earth's crust. Natural pearls are extremely rare and it is estimated that 99% of the pearls on the market are cultured.
There are four main types of pearls; Freshwater, Japanese Akoya, Tahitian and South Sea.
Freshwater - The most commonly produced pearl, usually cultured in freshwater lakes and ponds. They are cultivated in mussels, and some single freshwater mussels are capable of producing up to 50 pearls at a time.
Japanese Akoya - The most commonly produced saltwater pearl, the gorgeous Akoya pearls are white in colour and range in size from 6mm - 9.5mm.
Tahitian - Sometimes referred to as black pearls, Tahitian pearls are cultivated around the islands of French Polynesia and are usually black, gray or brown with blue, green, pink or purple undertones.
South Sea - One of the more sought-after saltwater pearls, South Sea pearls can be white or golden. They are coveted for their luster, smoothness, and size and Australia is well-known for its beautiful white South Sea pearls.
Ancient legend says that Cleopatra used a pearl to win a bet with a roman politician. She dissolved one of her pearl earrings in a cup of vinegar and drank it, to prove that she could outdo his extravagance and serve a single meal that would cost 10,000,000 sesterces ( approx $30million in modern currency). She won the bet!
Pearls are often given for a 3rd and 30th wedding anniversary.