Natural Pearls are rare and expensive. The cultured Pearl (a ball of mother of pearl placed in an oyster as an irritant, to be covered by the creature with layers of nacre) has become the standard. Although a recent innovation, it should be noted that while Kokichi Mikmoto originated the process for the 'man-made' pearl, the Chinese had been inserting images of Buddha into molluscs to create nacre-covered talismans for seven hundred years. Now, with the rise in the production of the fresh-water or mussel pearl, a new revolution has started. The Chinese are now producing Pearls in vast quantities, and inexpensive strings of medium to good pearls are common in the marketplace.

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