When a tiny foreign object becomes
trapped in an oyster, the object is coated with layers
of a smooth, crystalline substance known as nacre to reduce
the irritation. This natural response produces the luminescent, organic
gems we know as pearls.
Cultured pearls, like flowers grown in a greenhouse, are gently guided through the cultivation process. An irritant, most often a spherical section of a shell or tissue is deliberately inserted into an oyster, triggering its natural instinct to produce nacre. Since this method was perfected in the 1920s, natural pearls have become extremely rare. Due to economic pressures and water pollution, virtually all new pearls on the market today are cultured.
Pearls are both a wardrobe staple and a fashion accessory. A woman usually begins her collection with a single strand of classic white pearls at the neck, then adds bracelets, rings and earrings. Larger necklaces of unusual shapes or colors follow. Flattering, feminine and always appropriate, pearls are one of the most beloved gems.