Pearls have been prized for their beauty and rarity for more than four thousand years. From ancient China, India, and Egypt, to Imperial Rome, to the Arab world, to Native American tribes, cultures from around the world and throughout recorded history have valued pearls longer than any other gem.
Pearls are the only gemstones grown inside of a living organism. There are approximately 8,000 different species of bi-valve mollusks, of which only about 20 are capable of consistently producing pearls. Natural pearls are extremely rare.
Nearly all pearls now are cultured. A cultured pearl is any pearl grown with the influence of human intervention.
Pearls are organic gemstones that are vulnerable to acid, alkaline and extremes of humidity. To preserve your pearls' radiance, avoid letting them come into contact with cosmetics, hair spray, or perfume. Always put on your jewelry as a final touch, after applying make-up and styling hair. The pearl's luster can also be harmed by perspiration. To prevent this, before returning your pearls to the jewelry box, wipe them gently with a soft cloth.