It was not long ago that the pearl was more popular and valuable than diamond. Many changes have occurred in the pearl market in the past 100 years. Natural pearls are rare and expensive. The cultured pearl (a ball of mother of pearl placed in an oyster as an irritant, to be covered by the animal with layers of nacre) has become the standard. Although a recent innovation, it should be noted that while Kokichi Mikimoto originated the process for the "man-made" pearl, the Chinese had been inserting images of Buddha into molluscs to create nacre-covered talismans for seven hundred years.
00000Now with the production of the "fresh-water" mussel pearl a new revolution has be sparked, meaning that pearls can now be produced in even greater quantities, and inexpensive strings of medium to good pearls are now finding their way onto the market.
00000The pearl trade has come a long way from the days when trade caravans came to Europe via the Persian Gulf, bringing their high quality pearls to the west. While Bahrain is still the centre of diving for natural pearls, the Japanese and, lately, the Chinese control the market.
00000The rich white colour of the pearl symbolises a pure heart and makes it especially popular with brides. They are also thought of as an aid to digestion and to ease emotional stress.


Location - Australia, Japan, Mexico, Myanmar, Sri Lanka


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