Pearls Varieties of pearls

The mother of all pearls is the mussel or, in some cases, rare conches. If these highly sensitive creatures are disturbed – by another animal for instance – it can lead, in rare cases, to the oyster forming a pearl. Once this natural phenomenon had been discovered, attempts were made to initiate the process by deliberately irritating the mussel. And it was approximately 100 years ago that farmers first succeeded in growing pearls: cultured pearls, as they were known.