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Pearls have been valued as gemstones for centuries. Although there’s a major difference between pearls and gemstones like diamonds,rubies, sapphires, and emeralds amongst others. While these others form as minerals in the earths crust, pearls are organic and form in a living being. They form within various species of freshwater and saltwater mollusks. Pearls are precious gems but not stones in the true sense of the word
The most valuable pearls occur naturally in the wild, but are extremely rare. These wild pearls are referred to as natural pearls. Cultured or farmed pearls from oysters and freshwater mussels make up the majority of those currently sold. man made pearls are also widely sold in inexpensive jewelry. Pearls have been harvested and cultivated primarily for use in Jewellery, but in the past were also used to adorn clothing. They have also been crushed and used in cosmetics, medicines and paint formulations.
There are two types of pearls today freshwater pearls and saltwater pearls
Freshwater pearls form in various species of freshwater mussels, which live in lakes, rivers, ponds and other bodies of fresh water. These mussels occur not only in hotter climates, but also in colder more temperate.Most freshwater cultured pearls sold today come from China.
Saltwater pearls grow within pearl oysters, family which live in oceans. Saltwater oysters are usually cultivated in protected lagoons or volcanic atolls like in Tahiti or French Polynesia