The best pearls are moonlike, shining white in colour, with a perfectly round, globular shape. They should be compact, with a high specific gravity, spotless and free from blemishes. The appearance should be lustrous and smooth. Pearls may be white, giving spiritual gifts, rosy, giving intelligence and power, yellow, bringing material prosperity. Black pearls are rare, but are not ideal for development. Coppery or non-lustrous, dirty, cracked, misshapen or otherwise defective pearls should be avioided as they are inauspicious.
Pearls are found in Sri Lanka, India, Persian Gulf, Venezuela, Mexico and Australia. Australian pearls are generally considered less desirable. Sri Lankan perals are considered the best, though pearls from Bahrain are highly prized. In India the best pearls come from Bay of Bengal and fom Tuticorin in South India.
Pearls grow inside oysters and rarely elsewhere (bamboo, cobra, conch etc). Today cultured pearls are available which may be distinguished from genuine pearls by the bore, which is unifom in the genuine, but thin at the start and wide in the middle in the cultured pearl. Another difference is the structure, which is concentric in the genuine pearl, but parallel in the cultured. Natural pearls are also available. These are created like cultured pearls by the intentional insertion of foreign matter into the oyster, but mother-of-pearl is used rather than glass bead. natural pearls are better than cultured pearls, but both are acceptable if a genuine pearl is unavailable.
Imitation pearls made from fish scales are also sold, but these are not suitable for our purposes. Misshapen or otherwise defective pearls are not suitable either, although very small genuine pearls (too small fo jewellery) may be powdered and used for medicinal purposes.One very important factor, which anyone trying to identify a Gem should note, is that some “faults” are always present in a genuine Gem – their absence and not their presence should be a cause for concern. However, as a rule, any Gem should be shaped in a pleasing manner, lustrous, of pure colour and fine texture. Pearls in particular should not be misshapen.