Pearls are one of my favourite gemstones, they fall under the category of ‘organics’ which means that they originate from plants or animals, just like amber. Most gemstones are ‘minerals’ - natural and inorganic materials. Others are ‘synthetics’ – they do not have a natural origin, but are made in laboratories. Pearls are formed in shellfish – mainly mussels and oysters. They occur as a defence against an irritant which can get into the shell; layers of nacre coat the irritant and gradually build up to form a beautiful pearl. In cultured pearls, this irritant is purposefully added to the shellfish to stimulate the growth of a pearl. These layers of nacre produce a beautiful iridescent lustre, which is a characteristic that pearls are most known for and can be seen during light reflection. Pearls can vary in colour from white, all the way through to brown or black; this depends on the type of mollusc and the water they were formed in. They are less durable than many other gemstones as they are sensitive to humidity, dryness and acids. To preserve your pearls, it’s important to handle your pearls with care, store them safely and do not spray them with perfume.