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The English tutor at my college asked me about black pearls today and that spurred me to do a little research.

Apparently, pearls are used for medicinal purposes as well as cosmetic. Their medicinal properties are mostly regarded in traditional Chinese medicine, which suggests that powderded pearl can be ingested to treat conditions like epilepsy and insomnia and are also used to improve vision. Pearls have been shown to improve bone density, whiten teeth, reduce inflammation, calm nerves, and improve complexion.

I'll bet you're all like, "But Rob, pearls are freakin' expensive! Can people actually afford to have them ground into powder to be used as a dietary supplement?!"

The answer is simple, my lad. Only about thirty percent of cultured pearls are considered high enough quality to be used in jewelry. The rest are sold real cheap to low quality jewelry manufacturers and to druggists (do they still call them druggists? Maybe I should've said pharmacists?) These low quality pearls are still the same thing as better pearls, only they have different shapes and such. Some are half sphere, teardrop shaped, dented, etc.

So, there you have it! I now know more about pearls than I ever had imagined I could, all because a woman I work with just heard about black pearls.