The pearl is the oldest known gem, and for many centuries it was considered the most valuable. Unlike all gems, the pearl is organic matter derived from a living creature - oysters and mollusks.
There is much folklore and tradition about the pearl.
The color of a pearl depends on the oysters environment.
The unique luster, or orient, of pearls depends upon the reflection and refraction of light from the translucent layers and is finer in proportion as the layers are thinner and more numerous. The iridescence which some pearls display is caused by the overlapping of successive layers, which breaks up light falling on the surface.
Over time, the pearl has become the symbol of purity and innocence and it is often sewn into bridal gowns, or worn as jewelry by the bride.
photo by Nate Gates photography