Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls
Pearls, unlike mined gems, are organic gems since they come from a living organism, the mollusk. Mollusks are soft-bodied marine animals with one or two shells. The other organic gems are coral, amber, ivory, and jet.
Did you know that pearls were one of the first gems to be valued by people? They could be worn without any of the polishing or cutting required by other gems - straight out of the shell! Until the 1920s when Mikimoto developed and marketed the cultured pearl, only natural pearls were available. But the market opened up when cultured pearls became available and pearls became accessible to a larger population.
I love pearls - their iridescence, inner glow and smooth silkiness, the incredible variety of shape, color, and Botox-like property of imparting the wearer with light and luminoscity.
Well - I took a plunge and enrolled in the GIA pearls course! Expert knowledge about pearls will enable me to better advise my pearl-buying customers, and to bring them superb pearls from pearl farms around the world.
So ... it is off to the library - see you again when I have more pearl savvy under my skin!