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Pearl is an organic gemstone generated by mollusks, usually oysters or mussels. These bi-valved creatures coat an irritant with layers of nacre, which is a combination of calcium carbonate (aragonite) and complex proteins that form their shells (conchiolin). This nacre has a rainbow-like iridescence which pearls are famous for. This protective mechanism of coating irritants can take a long time to form a sizeable pearl. Natural pearls are fairly uncommon, and round natural pearls are exceptionally rare; most freshwater pearls available for purchase are cultured, meaning someone has placed an irritant (usually a bead or small piece of shell) into the mantle of the mollusk to trigger the immune response of coating the foreign material. Pearls created in this way can be collected in as little as six months. The color of pearls generally matches the color of the shell of the mollusk, so they are usually cream, white, yellow, grey, light pink, or occasionally green, blue or black. Color can also be added during the formative process to obtain other shades.

Freshwater pearls are from mollusks that live in freshwater sources, such as rivers and lakes, as opposed to those which live in saltwater environments like oceans or seas, which would make saltwater pearls.

It has a Mohs hardness of 2.5 to 4.5 and amorphous crystal structure.

It is the main birthstone for June (the alternate being moonstone).

Location: Natural freshwater pearls can be found in rivers in Asia, Europe and North America; cultured freshwater pearls are mostly from China and Japan.

Properties: Pearl can help focus intention and increase personal integrity. It symbolizes purity, faith, charity, innocence, and sincerity. It can calm the boisterous and act as a mirror such that one can see how they appear to others. It can be helpful in clearing the mind to connect with spiritual guidance and wisdom.

Some believe pearls can aid treatment of soft organs and digestive disorders, increase fertility, ease childbirth, and alleviate bloating.

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