Believed to be the most precious possession a person can own, pearls are the oldest known gems still available today. Pearls are unique in that they are the only gems that form inside a living organism – an oyster. When attacked by a parasite, an oyster engages in a chemical secretion process. This process results in the formation of a pearl.
Particularly fond of pearls, women of Roman royal families used to decorate themselves with the gems. The oldest known pearl jewelry is from the Persian Gulf, a necklace belonging to a princess of ancient times.
There are various kinds of pearls available today, including the very rare natural pearl, cultured, colored, Tahitian, freshwater and imitated pearls. Pearls offered today are mostly of the cultured variety. If you are looking for variety in color, freshwater pearls are the best choice.
When selecting a pearl, look at the luster, color, shape, size and surface of the pearl. You must carefully consider these factors, as investing in pearls can be an expensive affair. Pearls are ideal wedding gifts signifying both purity and virtue. You can wear pearls in many forms – necklaces, pendants, earrings and bracelets – choosing the color, shape and size to fit your particular attire and occasion.