Pearl is one of the most beautiful secrets of the ocean. It is a substance made of calcium carbonate nacre which is used by the human as a gemstone since ancient times. One can find its usage mentioned in few ancient Hindu, Islamic as well as Jain texts.
In today's world, it is an important question that who should wear a pearl? Pearls are worn by people to get astrological benefits and it is associated with the planet Moon in Vedic astrology. Moon is the lord of Cancer (Kark) Sign and hence pearl is considered to be the birthstone for people born in Cancer ascendant. Apart from this, people born with ascendants Aries (Mesh), Scorpio (Vrishchik), Sagittarius (Dhanu) & Pisces (Meen) signs can also wear a Pearl gemstone.
The next question arises in our mind is which is the best pearl for astrological purpose. So, it is a simple answer, for best astrological effects, a gemstone (whether it is a pearl or any other gem) must be formed naturally and should not be treated or adulterated in any way. Today, there are two broad categories of pearls available in the market - Cultured and Uncultured.
What is Cultured Pearl?
Cultured pearls are those which are found inside the shell of a mollusk wherein, the irritants are inserted by the human. This process is called ‘Pearl farming or Pearl culturing’. Although the formation of the pearl inside these shells occur naturally, the irritant (which usually is of large size) are inserted by humans to get bigger pieces of pearls.
What is Uncultured Pearl?
Uncultured pearls are those pearls which are found and formed naturally inside the shell in a sea or ocean. These are way too small in size and it is very difficult to find a natural uncultured pearl of more than 3 carat. The reason is that a natural irritant that can enter into the shell of a mollusk is of very tiny size and to protect from that irritant, the insect secrets lesser nacre which result in the formation of a small pearl.
Uncultured pearls are available mainly from Atlantic Oceans near Venezuela, Indian ocean near Nicobar islands and in few seas like the Persian Gulf. The most beautiful and finest uncultured pearls are Basra Pearls which are extracted from this Persian Gulf region in Bahrain. The kingdom of Bahrain includes the Basra Port which actually falls under the governance of Iraq. However, the pearl fisheries were still governed by the Kingdom of Bahrain. Basra Pearls are famous for their lustrous nacre and shine of their surface
Nowadays, it is very difficult to get a real Basra Pearl because after the Lebanese civil war during the 1970s and 80s, the pearl fisheries in this area decreased in numbers and hence the cultivation of pearls from Basra is restricted by the kingdom of Bahrain.
Here people may get curious as to how to know if it is a real Basra Pearl or not. Today, there are more than 90,000 traders globally selling pearls and most of them sell the natural uncultured pearls from any part of the world by the name of 'Basra Pearl'. However, in reality, a Basra Pearl must be supported with a certificate and letter from the Kingdom of Bahrain Government certifying that the pearl is a Basra Pearl. Without this certificate, a pearl must not be considered as a Basra Pearl.
Although this is a wrong marketing technique, considering the rarity of real Basra pearls, it is a commonly acceptable practice by people selling & buying pearls to call the pearls which are uncultured, i.e. formed naturally inside the shell of a mollusk in a sea, a Basra pearl.
About the prices of a pearl gemstone, a real Basra Pearl's cost in India starts from INR 20,000 per carat and may reach up to INR 5 Lakhs per carat for the finest quality. However, the uncultured pearls from other places traded as Basra Pearls would cost between INR 10,000 to INR 50,000 depending on the shine, shape, and luster of its nacre.
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