Pearls have been the focus of my work in recent weeks, and interestingly enough, I have also been receiving a lot of requests for pearls. Just recently sent a shipment to the Green Phoenix 2 in Annapolis, Maryland. If you are in the area, go check in !
Well, because of this focus and interest, I thought I'd talk about the pearls I use in my work.
True pearls, whether cultivated or found in the wild, are the only gemstone that are produced by a living creature in nature. I use cultivated, or cultured pearls, mainly freshwater. Cultured pearls are "real" pearls. The main difference in them is that they are raised in farms, and have human intervention in creating them.
Freshwater pearls are usually formed in mussels in lakes, rivers, ponds and other bodies of fresh water. A pearl farmer uses an irritant to form the pearl, usually mantle tissue, or mother of pearl.. The mussel will coat the implant with multiple layers of a substance called nacre. Overtime, the gradual coating forms the pearl. A freshwater mussel can produce up to 40 pearls.
It's fascinating to think of a "lowly" mollusk creating such a beautiful gemstone!