Pearl Information


Pearls are some of the most beautiful gemstones in the world and while their organic compounds are found naturally in the earth’s crust, they are created by living organisms. The finest quality loose pearls have been highly valued as gemstones and objects of beauty for many centuries, and the word pearl has become a metaphor for something rare, fine, and admirable.

Pearls are made from calcium carbonate, which is found in minerals such as aragonite and calcite. Pearls come in a wonderful array of colors; however, the most common color is white. Other colors that are common are silver, and white or silver tinged with green or blue. Many times Pearls give off an iridescent quality, known as orient. This is caused by the structure of the pearl. The secretions of calcite are so small that light waves usually reflect from the Pearl gemstone giving it wonderful hues and an aura affect. Besides spherical shapes, there are many types of shapes that Pearls come in, such as tear drop, button and oval.

Major Pearl Varieties:

Akoya Pearls

Cultivated in the oceans of Japan and China are the Akoya Pearls. Tiny rounded specks are placed inside the shell of the mollusk and left for 2-4 years, after which they are harvested and sometimes treated to clear impurities in the Pearl - to make them more valuable. The Akoya producing mollusks can be harvested just once unlike the freshwater variety, which can be implanted with fresh fragments after the pearls have been harvested.

These pearls are very popular and the Japanese Akoya Pearls are more valued due to their larger size (above 7mm), their proportioned rounded shape and a better luster than the Chinese Akoya Pearls. It is found in hues of cream with grey and light pink shades. The average size of the Akoya pearl is between 2-9mm with the symmetrical, larger sizes commanding a higher price. A good quality Akoya pearl necklace with larger pearls can be bought for several thousand dollars.

Tahitian Pearls/Black Pearls

These unusual pearls found in hues of black, grey and the rare bluish-green are some of the most sought after Pearls in the world. Cultivated in the oceans of the South Pacific, these pearls are larger than the Akoya variety and have a natural beautiful sheen that makes them unique. The Tahiti Pearls are produced in the black-lipped oyster - which secretes the black or dark colored nacre that gives them their color. These pearls are larger than the Akoya pearls, often found in sizes from 9mm-18mm. The oyster, which produces these pearls, is large allowing larger pearls to grow inside and only one pearl can be cultivated inside one mollusk unlike the Akoya oyster, which can grow up to four pearls inside.

These pearls are far more expensive and their price depends on the depth of the color, size of the pearl and its luster. These are natural color pearls and do not require any treatment to enhance their appearance, which adds to their value. The Black pearls are famous and have been associated with magic and mystic. A necklace of matched Black Pearls is a collectors delight and its cost can go into five figures.

Australian / South Sea Pearls

The South Sea Pearl cultivated in the oceans in the south bordering Australia and some parts of South-east Asia is also known as the Australian Pearl. The cultivation methods used in producing these pearls is intricate and the number of pearls harvested are limited resulting in greater demand and higher prices. The oyster producing this pearl coats it with a thick nacre (layers of calcium carbonate), which make it more lustrous and attractive. This pearl is highly valued for its natural beauty - which is timeless. Some Australian pearls are handed down as heirlooms from generation to generation.

Found in several shapes, the spheres and the oval shapes are most in demand, these large pearls (10mm to 20 mm) are normally light-colored- white, silver, shades of pink, gold and blue. Just like Tahiti pearls, the Australian pearls too do not require any treatment to enhance their beauty making them a treasure. The Australian pearls are the said to be the most expensive pearls.

Saltwater pearls are more expensive than freshwater pearls, the techniques, costs and risks involved in producing saltwater pearls are much greater and the demand for these pearls exceed the supply resulting in higher prices. Of course the quality and luster is far higher than the freshwater varieties.

Freshwater Pearls

The price of freshwater pearls is lower compared to the saltwater variety. The price difference is mainly due to two main reasons – the quantity of pearls produced by a single mollusk and the quality of the pearls. An individual saltwater oyster normally produces only one or two or a maximum of four large pearls at a time unlike the freshwater mollusk yielding 20-50 pearls during a single harvest.

Freshwater Pearls are found in different shapes ranging from round to oval to rice shaped, button shaped pearls and plenty more. The large variety in the shapes make freshwater pearls a designer's delight. The round shapes are more valued than the other shapes but even the best freshwater round pearls are not as perfectly round as their saltwater cousins nor does their surface have the sheen and polish of the saltwater pearls, but they have a warm charm of their own and their natural unique shapes make attractive Jewellery pieces.

These pearls are found in a vast range of colors from white to silver, gold, lilac, pink, copper, green and almost every other hue imaginable. Freshwater pearls come in a range of sizes from 1mm upto 18mm - these qualities make them a versatile option for contemporary designers. Black freshwater pearls too are cultivated in the US, but the difference is unlike the Black Tahiti pearls, which are perfect spheres, the black freshwater pearls are normally found in non-spherical shapes making them less expensive than the Tahiti pearls and very suitable for economical jewellery ensembles.

The price of freshwater pearls is lower compared to the saltwater variety. The price difference is mainly due to two main reasons - the quantity of pearls produced by a single mollusk and the quality of the pearls. An individual saltwater oyster normally produces only one or two or a maximum of four large pearls at a time unlike the freshwater mollusk - yielding 20-50 pearls during a single harvest. Most saltwater oysters are implanted with fragments only once whereas the freshwater varieties can be harvested 2-4 times making the yield from a single freshwater mussel almost 30 times more than a saltwater mussel. An interesting fact about the freshwater mussels is that sometimes after being harvested for the first time, the mussels instinctively produce pearls the second time, without fresh implantation of any fragment or irritant inside the shell, making freshwater cultivation less risky and requiring reduced manpower or labor.

Why Buy Loose Gemstones Instead of Pre-Set Jewelry?
There are many reasons, but mainly it comes down to value and choice...

When buying your pearl loose instead of a pre-set stone, you can be sure that you are getting the best value for your money.  Loose gemstones are less expensive, a better value, and you can really see what you are paying for.  The most important part of getting the right price and finding the best value is to first see what you're getting.  A jewelry setting will hide the inclusions inside a gem, and can deepen or brighten its color.  With a loose stone you can much more easily inspect the gem and see it for what it really is.  In this way you can get a better idea of its true worth and be sure you are paying a fair price.

The second advantage of buying a loose gemstone is choice.  You are free to pick the exact color, cut, shape and variety of the stone for the setting of your dreams, be it yellow gold, white gold, platinum or silver; prong set or bezel set with diamond accents.  You can experience the joy of creating your very own, one-of-a-kind jewelry design. Choose from a variety of jewelry settings and styles to create a completely original presentation that will perfectly suit your individual gemstone and will be as unique as you are!

 Pearl Ring                                                Pearl Earrings



World wide. Japan is famous for Akoya pearls.  Conch pearls are found in the Caribbean Sea and Indo-Pacific Ocean.
Color Black, white, gray, yellow, orange, red, green, blue, silver, cream, colorless.
Refractive Index  1.530-1.685
Chemical Composition (Conch Pearls: CaCO3)
Hardness  2.4-4.0
Density  2.70 (Conch: 2.85)
Crystal Structure Organic
Month June
Zodiac Signs Libra, Scorpio and Aries

A pearl is a hard, roundish object produced within the soft tissue (specifically the mantle) of a living shelled mollusk. Just like the shell of mollusks, a pearl is composed of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form, which has been deposited in concentric layers.  A true pearl is made from layers of nacre, by the same living process as is used in the secretion of the mother of pearl which lines the shell. A "natural pearl" is one that formed without any human intervention at all, in the wild, and is very rare. A "cultured pearl", on the other hand, is one that has been formed on a pearl farm. The great majority of pearls on the market are cultured pearls.

The unique luster of pearls depends upon the reflection, refraction, and diffraction of light from the translucent layers. The thinner and more numerous the layers in the pearl, the finer the luster. The iridescence that pearls display is caused by the overlapping of successive layers, which breaks up light falling on the surface.

Pearls are delicate gems and are rated between 2.4 - 4 on Moh's Scale of hardness.  Pearls range in their refractive index from1.530 - 1.685 and a pearly surface luster.  The refractive index (RI), measured using a refractometer, is an indication of the amount light rays are bent by a mineral.  Birefringence is the difference between the minimum and maximum RI. When birefringence is high, light rays reflect off different parts of the back of a stone causing an apparent doubling of the back facets when viewed through the front facet.


Pearl Producing Mollusks

Black-Lip Oyster: An oyster of unusual size and diameter found in the South Pacific, from which is derived the famous black pearls known in the industry as Tahitian Pearls. Other colors produced by this mollusk, besides black, are silver to light gray, dark gray, orange, gold, green, blue, and purple.

Gold-Lip Oyster: The large oyster, found in the waters off Australia, Indonesia, Philippines and Japan, which produces gold-colored South Sea Pearls.

Pinctada Fucata: The industry term for the saltwater mollusk that produces Akoya cultured pearls.  Cultivated in the oceans of Japan and China are the Akoya Pearls. Tiny rounded specks are placed inside the shell of the mollusk and left for 2-4 years, after which they are harvested and sometimes treated to clear impurities in the Pearl - to make them more valuable. The Akoya producing mollusks can be harvested just once unlike the freshwater variety, which can be implanted with fresh fragments after the pearls have been harvested.

These pearls are very popular and the Japanese Akoya Pearls are more valued due to their larger size (above 7mm), their proportioned rounded shape and a better luster than the Chinese Akoya Pearls. It is found in hues of cream with grey and light pink shades. The average size of the Akoya pearl is between 2-9mm with the symmetrical, larger sizes commanding a higher price. A good quality Akoya pearl necklace with larger pearls can be bought for several thousand dollars.

Pinctada Maxima: The industry term for the White-lip oyster that produces South Sea Pearls.

Pinctada Margaritifera: The industry term for the saltwater mollusks that produces Tahitian cultured pearls.

Uniondae Hyriopsis Schlegeli: The freshwater mussel, prevalent in China, which produces a strong pearl with thick nacre and a bright luster. Its pearls come in a palette of colors ranging through plum, lavender, peach, apricot, curry, red pepper, cinnamon, celery and sage.

White-Lip Oyster: Large oysters found in the waters around Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan, and producing good-sized South Sea cultured pearls whose tints include silver-white, pink and cream

Strombidae Conch Pearls:  Conch pearls are far more rare than the finest natural Akoya pearl, and therefor are considerably more expensive. The name conch "pearl" is somewhat of a misnomer because these "pearls" are not nacre encrusted foreign bodies like an actual oyster pearl, but instead are calcareous concretions that form in the animal's digestive tract, in much the same way that a human kidney stone, or bezoar stone (gall stone) would.

Conch Pearls are created in the digestive tract of spiral shelled gastropods in the Strombidae family, that live in sea-grasses or sand substrate found in warmer tropical oceans. Several conch sea-snail species produce conch pearls, and some are 'dual purpose,' producing both gems and food.

There are no cultured equivalents for conch pearls, and these natural creations are extremely rare, taking as many as ten thousand conchs to located one conch pearl. Of those, perhaps one in ten are worthy of gem status. This may seem wastful, but because the conch is a food sourch, the discovery of a conch pearl is a bonus to the fisherman who normally hunt them.

Although not a true pearl as they have no nacre, Conch (pronounced konk) Pearls are one of the rarest and most sought after gems. They are produced by the Queen Conch, Strombus Gigas, and are usually found as a by-product in conchs caught for food. When the animal is removed from its shell there is a yellow /orange skirt that helps create the suction that keeps it in its shell. If there is a pearl it will be in this skirt. It so happens that the skirt is also the slimiest part of the creature and many people just cut it off and throw it away. It does not do to speculate on how many pearls have been lost this way. It has been estimated that only one in every ten thousand to fifteen thousand conch's have a pearl and of those, only some twenty percent are suitable for jewelry.  Many Bahamians we know have never found one in their lives, yet others find them on a regular basis.

The color of the pearl varies but it is usually one of the colors of the shell. The only very rare exception is black. The most desirable is hot pink with the flame effect, when the surface of the pearl looks like flames. Spherical pearls are rarely ever found. The more uniform the shape the more valuable, the higher the luster he better, and of course the larger the pearl the more it is worth.

Some conch pearls have been known to fade over time, yet we have had one for thirty years that looks just the same as when it came out of the animal. It has been suggested that sunlight is to blame for fading. If that is so, sun block should be effective when worn outdoors. Others have suggested that they should only be worn at night. We try to maintain a stock of both loose pearls and conch pearl jewelry at all times, but this can sometimes be difficult as they are offered to us only as the fisher people find them, and finished pieces are quickly snapped up by connoisseurs.

It is said that only one in ten to fifteen thousand Queen conchs produces a pearl - this would account for so few people, including jewelers, having ever seen or known of the existence of the pastel pink, naturally occurring pearl of the Caribbean. So rare is its occurrence that the conch pearl is prized by collectors and connoisseurs as the rarest of the rare. Only one conch pearl may be found in 10 to 15 thousand conchs. To find a gem conch pearl brilliantly surrounded by the lights of its magnificent flame structure, the number of conchs to be found rises to 120 to 150 thousand.

It is fortunate that the acquisition of conch pearls is a very infrequent by-product of the conch fishery, highly regulated internationally by the C.I.T.E.S. Act. The taste for the succulent white meat of the conch may have to be held in check in the future, as many countries, including the U.S., have closed off conch fishing until stocks replenish, and this trend appears to be ongoing. Therefore, the best time to purchase a conch pearl is now, as supplies in the very near future will be even more limited and prices will rise accordingly.

While the various shades of pink are most in demand, colors range from Saturn Gold to Magenta, Lavender and Orange. Conch pearls are found only in the Queen Conch (Strombus Gigas) from the Spanish Main north to Bermuda. Strombus Gigas, the large pink univalve from Florida, the Caribbean, the West Indies, and the Islands of the Bahamas and Bermuda in the tropical northwestern Atlantic, has guarded its secret well. This writer has been fortunate in bringing together a collection gathered over forty-five years of visiting the seaports and offshore islands of what was once known as the Spanish Main.

There, commercial free-diving for conchs, primarily by Miskito Indian divers, hired onto fishing trawlers for their skills, continues. It has been my privilege to live among the remote island people and admire the expertise developed by them for recovery of conch shells. It is important to note that the conch shell, removed of its sought-after meat, continues to be an important part of many island communities, being used for land fill extension on which stilt thatch roof houses are built. The shape of the conch makes it excellent for diffusing wave energy, and many countries have copied its design for the construction of sea walls and jetties.

Holding a Conch shell to the ear and being able to hear the whispering sound of the Caribbean and the trade wind breezes was a source of fascination for inland tribes of Indians, and they were eager to trade their emeralds and gold for Queen conch shells. Times have changed, however, and this type of commerce garners no results today.

Conch pearls frequently occur in spherical form, but teardrop and oval shapes are also possible, even triangles, with baroque the most common. The shape of the irritant (sand, shell, coral, etc.), along with the rolling motion of the conch's going in and out of its shell, helps to determine the final form of the pearl, created by a release of the same calcareous solution that forms the pink lip and the whole of the conch shell. The pearl thus formed is located between the mantle and the outer shell.


Pearls come in a wonderful array of colors; however, its most common color is white. Other colors that are common are silver, and white or silver tinged with green or blue. Many times Pearls give off an iridescent quality, known as orient. This is caused by the structure of the pearl. The secretions of calcite are so small that light waves usually reflect from the Pearl giving it wonderful hues and an aura affect.

Generally the mother shell determines the coloring for freshwater pearls, but factors like species, genetics, water quality, and the position of the pearl in the shell also make a contribution to the final shade of the pearl. You will not find it easy to choose from the beautiful range of colors. The most sought after are the pastel pinks, roses, lavenders and purples. Other popular colors are white, silvery white, salmon, copper, red, bronze, blue, green, brown, cream, and yellow.


You will be amazed at the variety of shapes in which pearls are formed. The shapes include rounds, buttons, pears, drops, eggs, domes, and baroques. The baroques, which are becoming increasingly fashionable in rings, earrings and pendants, are classified into wings, hammers, nuggets, barrels round a circle, dogtooth, twins, and rosebuds. The shape of the nucleus and its location determine the final shape of the pearl.

The ideal pearl is perfectly round and smooth, but many other shapes of pearls (baroque pearls) occur.


Dyes, heat treatment, and irradiation are sometimes applied to produce a wide range of hues such as yellow, green, blue, purple, gray, and black in freshwater and Akoya pearls. Some South Sea pearls are bleached to lighten their hue, but most South Sea and Tahitian pearls are not subjected to enhancements to create or improve their color.

AJS Gems fully discloses any and all treatments to our gemstones.
True iridescent pearls, the most desirable pearls, are produced by two groups of molluscan bivalves or clams. One family lives in the sea: the pearl oysters. The other, very different group of bivalves live in freshwater, and these are the river mussels; for example, see the freshwater pearl mussel.  Saltwater pearls can grow in several species of marine pearl oysters in the family Pteriidae. Freshwater pearls grow within certain (but by no means all) species of freshwater mussels in the order Unionida, the families Unionidae and Margaritiferidae. These various species of bivalves are able to make true pearls because they have a thick iridescent inner shell layer which is composed of "mother of pearl" or nacre. The mantle tissue of a living bivalve can create a pearl in the same manner that it creates the pearly inner layer of the shell.  Fine gem-quality saltwater and freshwater pearls can and do sometimes occur completely naturally, but this is rare. Many hundreds of pearl oysters or pearl mussels have to be gathered and opened, and thus killed, in order to find even one pearl, and for many centuries that was the only way pearls were obtained. This was the main reason why pearls fetched such extraordinary prices in the past. In modern times however, almost all the pearls for sale were formed with a good deal of expert intervention from human pearl farmers.

Previously natural pearls were found in many parts of the world. Present day natural pearling is confined mostly to seas off Bahrain. Australia also has one of the world's last remaining fleets of pearl diving ships. Australian pearl divers dive for south sea pearl oysters to be used in the cultured south sea pearl industry. The catch of pearl oysters is similar to the numbers of oysters taken during the natural pearl days. Hence significant numbers of natural pearls are still found in the Australian Indian Ocean waters from wild oysters. X-Ray examination is required to positively verify natural pearls found today. 

Black pearls, frequently referred to as Black Tahitian Pearls, are highly valued because of their rarity; the culturing process for them dictates a smaller volume output and can never be mass produced. This is due to bad health and/or non-survival of the process, rejection of the nucleus and their sensitivity to changing climatic and ocean conditions. Before the days of cultured pearls, black pearls were rare and highly valued for the simple reason that white pearl oysters rarely produced naturally black pearls, and black pearl oysters rarely produced any natural pearls at all. Since pearl culture technology, the black pearl oyster found in Tahiti and many other Pacific Island area has been extensively used for producing cultured pearls. The rarity of the black cultured pearl is now a "comparative" issue. The black cultured pearl is rare when compared to Chinese freshwater cultured pearls, and Japanese and Chinese akoya cultured pearls, and is more valuable than these pearls. However, it is more abundant than the South Sea pearl, which is more valuable than the black cultured pearl. This is simply due to the fact that the black pearl oyster Pinctada margaritifera is far more abundant than the elusive, rare, and larger south sea pearl oyster - Pinctada maxima, which cannot be found in lagoons, but which must be dived for in a rare number of deep ocean habitats or grown in hatcheries. Black cultured pearls from the black pearl oyster — Pinctada margaritifera — are not South Sea pearls, although they are often mistakenly described as black South Sea pearls. In the absence of an official definition for the pearl from the black oyster, these pearls are usually referred to as "black Tahitian pearls". The correct definition of a South Sea pearl — as described by CIBJO and the GIA — is a pearl produced by the Pinctada maxima pearl oyster. South Sea pearls are the color of their host Pinctada maxima oyster — and can be white, silver, pink, gold, cream, and any combination of these basic colors, including overtones of the various colors of the rainbow displayed in the pearl nacre of the oyster shell itself.

Biologically speaking, under the right set of circumstances, almost any shelled mollusk can produce some kind of "pearl," however, most of these molluscan "pearls" have no luster or iridescence. In fact the great majority of mollusk species produce pearls which are not attractive to look at, and are sometimes not even very durable, such that they usually have no value at all, except perhaps to a scientist, a collector, or as a curiosity. These objects would be referred to as "calcareous concretions" by a gemologist, even though a malacologist would still consider them to be pearls.

One unusual example of calcareous concretions which nonetheless can sometimes have value, are the "pearls" which are found very rarely growing between the mantle and the shell of the queen conch or pink conch, Strombus gigas, a large sea snail or marine gastropod from the Caribbean Sea. These "pearls", which are pink in color, are a by-product of the conch fishing industry, and the best of them show some chatoyance.

Somewhat similar gastropod "pearls", this time more orange in hue, are (again very rarely) found in the horse conch Pleuroploca gigantea.

The largest "pearl" known, was found in the Philippines in 1934. It is a naturally-occurring, non-nacreous, calcareous concretion from a giant clam. Because it did not grow in a pearl oyster it is not pearly, instead it has a porcellaneous surface. In other words, it is glossy like a china plate. Gemologically speaking, it is not a pearl. Other "pearls" from giant clams are known to exist, but this is a particularly large one.

The "pearl" weighs 14 lb (6.4 kg) and was supposedly first discovered by an anonymous Filipino Muslim diver off the island of Palawan in 1934. According to the legend as it is currently told, a Palawan chieftain gave the pearl to Wilbur Dowell Cobb in 1936 as a gift for having saved the life of his son. The pearl had been named the "Pearl of Allah" by the Muslim tribal chief, because it resembled a turbaned head. Another even more elaborate legend says that this object is actually the Pearl of Lao-Tzu, a cultured pearl created with a carved amulet and then supposedly progressively grafted into several giant clams, before supposedly being lost due to a shipwreck in 1745. [5] This legend has been discredited, however because this "pearl" is indeed the product of a giant clam, Tridacna gigas, which cannot be grafted. The "pearl" is also a whole pearl, not a mabe pearl, and whole pearl culturing technology is only 100 years old.




Today, almost all pearls used for jewelry are cultured by planting a core or nucleus into pearl oysters. The pearls are usually harvested after one year for akoya, 2-4 years for Tahitian and South Sea, and 2-7 years for freshwater. This perliculture process was first developed by William Sawville-Kent who passed the information along to Tatsuhei Mise and Tokichi Nishikawa from Japan.

The nucleus is generally a polished bead made from freshwater mussel shell. Along with a small piece of mantle tissue from another mollusk to serve as a catalyst for the pearl sac, it is surgically implanted into the gonad (reproductive organ) of a saltwater mollusk. In freshwater perliculture, only the piece of tissue is used in most cases, and is inserted into the fleshy mantle of the host mussel. South Sea and Tahitian pearl oysters, also known as Pinctada maxima and Pinctada margaritifera, which survive the subsequent surgery to remove the finished pearl, are often implanted with a new, larger nucleus as part of the same procedure and then returned to the water for another 2-3 years of growth.

Despite the common misperception, Mikimoto did not discover the process of pearl culture. The accepted process of pearl culture was developed by William Sawville-Kent in Australia and brought to Japan by Tokichi Nishikawa and Tatsuhei Mise. Nishikawa was granted the patent in 1916, and married the daughter of Mikimoto. Mikimoto was able to use Nishikawa's technology. After the patent was granted in 1916, the technology was immediately commercially applied to akoya pearl oysters in Japan in 1916. Mise's brother was the first to produce a commercial crop of pearls in the akoya oyster. Mitsubishi's Baron Iwasaki immediately applied the technology to the south sea pearl oyster in 1917 in the Philippines, and later in Buton, and Palau. Mitsubishi was the first to produce a cultured south sea pearl - although it was not until 1928 that the first small commercial crop of pearls was successfully produced.

The original Japanese cultured pearls, known as akoya pearls, are produced by a species of small pearl oyster, Pinctada fucata martensii, which is no bigger than 6 to 8 cm in size, hence akoya pearls larger than 10 mm in diameter are extremely rare and highly prized. Today, a hybrid mollusk is used in both Japan and China in the production of akoya pearls. It is a cross between the original Japanese species, and the Chinese species Pinctada chemnitzii.

Pearls have been treasured for their lustrous, creamy texture and subtle iridescent reflections since the dawn of humankind.

According to ancient Chinese legend, the moon holds the power to create pearls, instilling them with its celestial glow and mystery.

In a Christian New Testament parable, Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven to a "pearl of great price" in Matthew 13: 45-46. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it."

The language of symbolism was in common use around the time of Jesus Christ and most people knew this language. The circle is a symbol of God, it has no beginning and no end. The circle or pearl was considered to represent Love, Knowledge (the combination of equal amounts of Love and Knowledge is a symbol of Wisdom, the 2 circles intertwined (owl eyes) is symbolic of Wisdom. Some other pearls are Truth, and Faith.

The Pearl of Great Price is a book of scripture in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The twelve gates of the New Jerusalem are reportedly each made of a single pearl in Revelation 21:21, that is, the Pearly Gates. "And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every gate was of one pearl: and the streets of the city were pure gold, as if transparent glass."

Pearls are compared to holy things, in Matthew 7: 6. "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."

Pearls are also found in numerous references showing the wickedness and pride of a people, as in Revelations 18: 16. "And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!"

The metaphor of a pearl appears in the longer Hymn of the Pearl, a poem respected for its high literary quality, and use of layered theological metaphor, found within one of the texts of Gnosticism.

The Vedic tradition describes the sacred Nine Pearls which were first documented in the Garuda Purana, one of the books of the Hindu holy text Atharvaveda. Ayurveda contains references to pearl powder as a stimulant of digestion and to treat mental ailments. According to Marco Polo the kings of Malabar (now known as the Coromandel Coast) wore a necklace of 104 rubies and 104 precious pearls which was given from one generation of kings to the next. The reason was that every king had to say 104 prayers to his "idols" every morning and every evening. At least until the beginning of the 20th century it was a Hindu custom to present a completely new, undrilled pearl and pierce it during the ceremony.

Pearls have been harvested, or more recently cultivated, primarily for use in jewelry, but in the past they were also stitched onto lavish clothing, as worn, for example, by royalty. Pearls have also been crushed and used in cosmetics, medicines, or in paint formulations.

Pearl is considered to be the birthstone for June.



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