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A pearl is an iridescent gem, used throughout history as a metaphor to convey how something is admirable, rare and has extraordinary value. Although pearls are primarily used for jewelry, they have also been utilized for creating designs on apparel and cosmetics. Pearl jewelry has always been the most popular use for pearls, especially the classic pearl necklace.
A lot of jewelry is created with precious stones found in the earth, however, pearls come from living creatures. Oysters and other mollusks create pearls when a foreign substance gets trapped inside. The mollusks' natural reaction is to cover the foreign object with nacre, the same substance that is used to create its shell. This coating is what forms a pearl.
Cultured pearls are commonly used in pearl jewelry. These pearls are created in the same way natural pearls occur, but are given some help by oyster harvesters.
Freshwater mussels, found in bodies of water such as ponds, rivers, and lakes that are not salty produce freshwater pearls. Freshwater pearls are used to create jewelry pieces that tend to be less expensive then the salt water created pearl jewelry. Even though fresh water pearls are created using a different technique, they still look beautiful on all pieces of jewelry.