The English word pearl comes from the French perle. Who doesn't love Pearls? They've been around for centuries. Everyone from Mary Queen of Scots (and those before her) to Barbara Bush, (and those after her) donned a pearl necklace at the very least. Remember Johannes Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" painting? (or the movie with Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson, if you've not had the pleasure of seeing the real thing). Although white, and more recently black, are ever popular, there is now a wide range of colorful hues to accent any wardrobe. Pearls come in eight basic shapes: round, semi-round, button, drop, pear (or what has come be known as teardrop) oval, baroque, and circled.
There is of course the highly coveted natural pearl, then there is the cultured pearl. But did you know that it is nearly impossible to tell the difference without gemological x-ray? Unless of course, you end up with some crappy poorly made "fake" pearl with no luster.
The value of the pearls in jewelry is determined by a combination of the luster, color, size, lack of surface flaw and symmetry that are appropriate for the type of pearl under consideration. Among those attributes, luster is the most important differentiator of pearl quality according to jewelers.
All factors being equal, however, the larger the pearl the more valuable it is. Large, perfectly round pearls are rare and highly valued. Teardrop-shaped pearls are often used in pendants. (ref:Wikipedia)
There are also lots of religious references; Hindu, New Testament, Islam, Hebrew and others that regard pearls in many of their religious ceremonies and find them fine and admirable.
I myself cannot afford lovely white natural pearls but I do have some lovely pairs of cultured pearl earrings and necklaces. And now I offer some good quality cultured highly lusterous Big teardrop earrings in about 4 colors. Here is a pair of Big Teardrop South Seashell Bead Earrings in coffee color (it's a light to medium roast I think!) :) Visit Le Petit Marche to read more about each pearl item.