Unlike other gems, the pearl is born of water and living creatures. Pearls begin as a foreign body embedded within a mollusk's shell. The animal's defense against the foreign body is to form a protective layer of nacre around the intruder. The culturing process simply entails planting a "seed" within the mollusk, normally either a plastic bead or a small piece of shell, nature takes its course and another pearl is born. Our cultured freshwater pearls come in an ever growing variety of shapes, sizes and colors, so whatever your fashion preference you are sure to find the pearl to suit your needs. Ancient beliefs about the origin of the pearl include: moonlight filled dewdrops and Aphrodite's tears of joy. Although not technically a stone, pearl is one of June's birthstones. Currently, the International Commission of Colored Gemstones (CIBJO) recognizes only five organic (once living material) gemstones: Ammolite, amber, pearl, jet, and coral. Also be sure to check out our freshwater pearl mixtures and our flawlessly crafted glass pearls by Jablonex and crystal pearls by Swarovski.