With all the talk about sustainability and things being organic, you are probably asking yourself, “What the heck does this have to do with pearls? They are just another gemstone.”
Yes, they are another gemstone, but they are also an “organic gemstone” meaning they come from a living creature. They are formed inside a living freshwater or seawater mollusk or oyster when either a micro-organism, or a small particle of shell or debris, either finds its way, or is humanly implanted, inside the fleshy interior of the mollusk. The mollusk or oyster becomes irritated by this, and coats the tiny piece with multiple layers of nacre, which over time forms a pearl.
The best part is that when a pearl is harvested, it does not kill the oyster or mollusk. Pearl farming, which is the most common way of producing most of the pearls you find in jewelry, is a very sustainable practice. The pearl farmers are extremely careful not to harm their mollusks or oysters and generally use some type of surgical style instrument to remove the pearl that causes no damage to the living creature.
Pearls, and the way they are farmed, also provide benefits that effect the world environmentally and socially.
Pearls Benefit Aquatic Environments.
Most Tahitian and South Sea pearls can only grow in extremely clean water environments. The oysters that produce these pearls remove large amounts of nitrogen from the water, which reduces pollution that can kill other types of marine life. The waters where pearl farming takes place are some of the cleanest waters on the planet.
Pearls Provide Jobs in Remote Locales of the World.
The popular and sought-after, South Sea pearls, grow in some very remote places, like the north-west coast of Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Employment can be difficult to find in these areas, but the pearl farming industry brings jobs to these areas. These jobs require dedication, because the water must remain clean, and the harvesting of the pearls must be done in a specific and skilled way. Those that do this job are essentially stewards of the environment and they take pride in their jobs because they know it effects the environment of their homelands which sustain their families.
Pearls are not only one of the world's most popular gems used in jewelry, but they are definitely unique from many other gemstones because of how they formed, and how they are farmed. They give back not only to the environment and to society, but also give back to jewelry designers and customers everywhere with their various shapes, textures, and colors. So every time you buy a pearl, you are not only buying a thing of unique beauty and adornment, but you are also helping the environment and people as well.