Pearls are the only gems that are grown inside living creatures, so rather than being mined like other gems, pearls are farmed and harvested. Pearls have been harvested from mollusks for thousands of years, either by chance or, more recently, purposely through culturing. From the start of mankind's love affair with them, pearls have been symbolic of class, purity, refinement, and wealth, but modern designs with fashionable new pearl shapes and colors are helping pearls appeal to a broader audience. They truly are not just your grandmother's pearls anymore.