Pearls, one of the highly esteemed gems, are very valuable due to the high demand and prices for them. Several countries bordering the Indian and Pacific Oceans and some countries along the Eastern Atlantic Ocean have pearl oyster resources. Cultured pearls are broadly classified into: nacreous layer pearls, prismatic layer pearls, and organic layer pearls. Different molluscs produce pearls of different colours. The colour of a pearl is usually similar to the colour of the shell nacre of the mollusc which produces it; this character is genetically controlled. The United States freshwater pearl industry is adding to the world’s natural pearl market. About 9 to 11 pounds of natural pearls are discovered for every 2,000 tons of freshwater mussel shells harvested to be used as nuclei in the cultured pearl market.
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