Like most living organisms that have evolved over millions of years certain molluscs have derived a natural way to protect themselves from threats of the environment on the sea or river bed. These living shelled molluscs produce and secrete a substance called calcium carbonate, allowing the mollusc to entomb a harmful foreign body such as a piece of debris or perhaps a parasite which if left, could cause serious health issues for the mollusc. The end result of this natural process is the formation of a pearl.
Pearls have been the objects of admiration and desire throughout history, from the earliest civilisations such as the Egyptian dynasties through to famous periods of Empire. Pearls have also been sort and demanded by royalty in Europe and the Middle East and continue to be one of the most prized gemstones today.
A natural pearl is produced by a wild mollusc. This type of pearl is extremely rare and will tend to be small and misshapen. Natural pearling is generally confined to countries like Bahrain. Today, most pearls we see in the Jewellery market are termed as Cultured. These pearls are grown under the guidance of scientific research first discovered by an English biologist and then implemented and perfected by Japanese pioneers over a hundred years ago.
The concept of the cultured pearl has allowed this gemstone to be made available to a much wider market due to the large farming yields from China who use the robust freshwater mussel Hyriopsis Cumingii. In comparison to natural pearls these cultured pearls exhibit a larger choice of shape, colour and size.