Pearls have been considered from the earliest times among the most splendid gems. Pearl is composed of conchiolin and calcium carbonate. In Sanskrit pearls called “Mukta”. As in Indian earliest history pearls are dividing in nine categories:
1) Gaj-Mukta: This rarest pearl was found from head elephant.
2) Sarp-Mukta: This pearl was found from “Vasuki” Snakes. It’s of bluish shades.
3) Meen-Mukta: This type pearls found from fish stomach.
4) Bansh-Mukta: This pearls found from Bamboo tree.
5) Aakash-Mukta: This pearl fall from sky with rain drops.
6) Shankh-Mukta: Found from “Panchjanya”-Shell.
7) Megh-Mukta: This pearl fall from sky & its look like water drops.
8) Shukar-Mukta: These round yellowish pearls found in a kind of sea creature “Mother of Pearl”. Pearl is formed by saltwater oyster, some freshwater mussels, and more rarely by other shellfish. Pearls are globular, usually almost spherical cysts, which form inside the tissues of the mollusk. Sometimes, they are pear, egg, bean-shaped or display more pronounced irregularities consisting of roundish apophyges or even sharp crests. The colour is generally much the same as that of the inside of the oyster shell. Most pearls, therefore, are white with a touch of gray to yellowish gray-white, but they may be grayish, blackish or iridescent from gray to green – blue – violet and pink. Pearls assume every colour of rainbow. Pearls are composed of numerous, thin, concentric layers, which are deposited successively by the mollusk. To some extent, the older the pearl, the bigger it is, and the more numerous are the constituent layers. But in cultured pearls, which nowadays far outnumber the others, the inside consists of a spherical nucleus of mother-of-pearl, often taken from the shell of another mollusk, artificially shaped into a bead, but composed of flat, parallel layers, surrounded by a number of concentric layers of nacre deposited around it by the pearl producing mollusk.
Natural Pearls:Natural pearls are those pearls that come into being without intervention by human being, in the ocean as well as in fresh-water.
Sea Pearl: Pearl-producing Sea mollusks live along stretches of coast at a depth of about 50-60 feet, the various species range in size from about 2.5” to 12”; their life span is about 13 years.
River Pearls: Fishing of natural pearls in fresh-water, the river pearls is today of no great importance commercially; they rarely of good quality.
Cultured Pearls:A variety of pearl that is created by a mollusk in the same manner as a natural (wild) pearl except that the process is stimulated by the human insertion into the shell of a grain of sand, a bead, a piece of mantle tissue, or other irritant that becomes the nucleus of the pearl when encased in many layers of nacre. The method was first attempted in China in the 13th century and again later in the 18th century in Sweden, but it was accomplished. In 1896 by Kokichi Mikimoto who produce first a type of blister pearl (called a Mabe pearl). Latter in 1915, he and other perfected the cultured spherical pearl, for which purpose native Japanese pearl oyster have since been specially cultivated; the method involve inserting into an incision in the mantle of the oyster a peace of living mantle tissue from another oyster that enclosed a mother-of-pearl bead (letter the silver of tissue was first inserted and then the bead) and covering the hole with nacreous material and returning the oyster to the sea, where it secretes nacre to enlarge the nucleus. Such cultured pearls were introduced into the London market in 1921, and the peace of cultured pearls soon greatly dropped, especially when methods of identification were developed.
The people of India & Persia were among the earliest to collect them because of the fisheries of Ceylon and the Persian Gulf. Most of the few natural pearls harvested nowadays come from the Persian Gulf (called “Persian Pearl”, “Basra Pearl” or Basarai Moti”), South India (called Tutikorean pearl), Sri Lanka, the Red Sea & the Philippines; some small quantities also come from the sea of Venezuela, Australia, Japan and from the Gulf of California. The cultured pearl mostly comes from Japan, India, Australia & China.
Value of Pearls: Pearl is a most valuable gem in antiquity. It’s valued according to shapes, colour, size, regularity-of-form, compactness, surface condition and luster. The most valuable is the spherical shape. Those flattened on one side or half-spherical pearls are called “Button Pearls” and irregular pearls are baroque pearls. The more watery, translucent ones are less durable; therefore less valuable. In the case of a number of a pearls in a peace of jewellery, much depends on their infirmity of colour or, at any rate, how well matched they are. A string of pearl of equal diameter is worth much more then one consisting of pearls of graduated diameters (larger at the center, smaller at the ends), because numerous pearls of a uniform size are harder to find. Even a pair of matching pearls is worth more than double the peace of a single pearl, because of the quantities that have to be sorted to find two that are identical. Manu natural pearls are old or antique and when they are in a poor stage of repair, dehydrated or cracked, brittle or yellowed with age, their value is greatly reduced.