Natural pearls created in the wild within the shell of a living mollusc are now quite unusual, so much so that the term pearl is now synonymous with something quite rare and treasured. Cultured pearls now make up most of what is seen on the jewellery market. Whether natural or cultured, almost all pearls have a distinctive lustre caused by a diffusion of light across their surface and can be naturally formed in hues from purest white to purple tinted greys.
Pearl is the birthstone for June. Hindu texts say that Krishna himself found the first pearl, and presented it to his daughter on her wedding day. Pearls have since become a symbol of purity and are closely associated with weddings. Even today brides favour pearl jewellery, with some even having pearls stitched into their dress. Pearls are attributed great medicinal qualities, and even modern medicine uses ground pearls to create high quality calcium powder. It is said that wearing a pearl necklace will help to alleviate migraines and headaches and assist in reducing allergies.
Used for centuries in extremely high-end jewellery, historically ladies of great importance had their portraits painted whilst decked in their finest pearls.