The world’s oldest gem, pearls have been revered as before written history. For this reason, their discovery can’t be credited to a single person in particular, but it’s believed that they were detected by men and women searching for food along the seashore. We all know that they’ve been dressed as a type of adornment for millennia in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess who dates back found thanks to a fragment of pearl jewelry.
Bracelets were presented as presents to Chinese royalty as early as 2300 BC, while at early Rome, pearl jewellery was considered that the ultimate status symbol. So prized were the stone that are curved that in the 1st century BC, Julius Caesar and a law passed only to the ruling classes.
The abundance of natural oyster beds from the Persian Gulf meant that pearls additionally carried great value in Arab cultures, in which legend said that pearls were made from dewdrops which were swallowed by oysters when they dropped into the sea. At the middle of the pearl trade, the Persian Gulf was before the advent of cultured pearls and it turned into a source of prosperity in the area.
With such a long and ancient tradition, it’s no wonder that, over time, the pearl turned into shrouded in myth and legend. In ancient China, while, at the Dark Ages, knights often wore pearls about the battlefield pearl jewelry was thought to symbolise the innocence of the wearer. According to legend, a pearl crushed into a glass of wine to prove she could give the most expensive dinner in history.
Pearls are an important trade product because Roman times, and also the discovery of pearls in Central and South America from the 15th and 16th century led to the so-called Pearl Age. Where ladies of nobility and royalty wore fancy pearl bracelets, earrings, pearl bracelets and broochesneed for pearl jewelry became so large that oyster supplies began to dwindle.
Unlike gemstones that are mined from the ground, a living organism produces a pearl and, in fact, their very presence is a freak of nature. A bead is formed when an irritant, such as a parasite or piece of shell, becomes inadvertently lodged within an oyster’s soft inside, causing it to exude a crystalline substance called nacre, which builds up around the dermis in layers until a pearl is formed. Cultured pearls are formed through the process being the dermis is implanted into the oyster rather.
Until the start of the 20th century, the sole means of collecting pearls was risking their own lives at depths of up to 100ft to regain the pearl oysters. It turned out to be one which transported prospect of succeeding as only three or four quality pearls would toss up and a dangerous pursuit. Molluscs residing in streams and rivers were easier to gather, but these pearl beds were frequently reserved for harvesting by royalty.
Nowadays, natural pearls are among the most popular of gems and their almost entirely depleted supply usually means they’re found very infrequently only in the seas off Bahrain and Australia. The scarcity of natural pearls is reflected in the prices they bring at auction, together with classic pearl necklaces and rings . This past Year, a set of natural pearl rings – left –
Intense bidding wars also have erupted over high quality natural pearl necklaces with the winning bids running into several million dollars. Elizabeth Taylor’s famous La Peregrina 16th century pearl, which sold for US$11.8 million, is a case in point. Unlike the shatterproof diamond, the creation of organic pearls is dependent upon clean seas. Almost all pearl jewelry in the marketplace these days is made with pearls which have been cultivated and farmed.
Kokichi Mikimoto, the son of a Japanese noodle manufacturer, made the world’s first cultured pearl in 1893 by manually introducing an irritant into an oyster to excite it to make a pearl. The debut of pearls in the early 1900s caused the value of pearls that were pure to plummet and turned into the pearl sector on its mind. From 1935, there were 350 trophy farms in Japan, making 10 million cultured pearls per year, although Mikimoto had to constantly defend himself from accusations that his pearls weren’t “real”. The scientific proof spoke to the contrary; the pearls that were Egyptian possess the same qualities as those formed in deep sea beds, so the sole real difference was they had a hand at getting the process began.
Mikimoto’s Akoya pearls continue to be used today by the jewellery house that bears his name and are renowned for their brilliant lustre and rich colors, which vary from white, pink and cream, to silvery pink.
Pearls are available, or cultivated, in saltwater or freshwater and there are several different types of pearls depending on what mollusc they originate from. Freshwater pearls have been created in China and, because of their abundance, they’re more affordable than their saltwater cousins. Saltwater pearls include the Akoya in addition to Tahitian pearls, which arise in other islands and Tahiti in French Polynesia. The latter come in cream, white or gold hues with sizes and is the biggest of of the pearl types. A Tahitian pearl can also be known as a dark pearl, even though its color spectrum also includes grey, blue, green and purple. MyPearls offers a range of natural pearl rings.
Coloured pearls have been popular with both men and women as far back as the 17th century and, in the last few decades, these dark wonders of the sea have witnessed a revival, with a new generation of fashion-conscious consumers embracing jewelry comprising colored pearls as a edgier alternative to the standard white pearl necklace.
“Baroque” is a phrase applied to pearls which are non-symmetrical, and these irregular shapes are more common in freshwater pearls. Baroque South Sea or Tahitian pearls are utilized in modern jewellery to fantastic effect while round pearls have been the most coveted.
Strictly speaking, oysters only produce pearls, however some gems that are made in different molluscs also qualify for this particular moniker. Included in these are incredibly infrequent, oval-shaped conch pearls and Melo Melo pearls that are yellowish-orange. A substance composed mainly of calcite forms these pearls, and their attractiveness is no less spectacular whether they lack the iridescence of nacreous pearls.
Consequently, conch pearls are valuable and even a gem can bring up to US$120,000. Mikimoto recently launched a group of conch pearl jewellery, and also the pink pearls have also been incorporated into jewels by the likes of Boucheron jewelry and Tiffany & Co..
Also incredibly amazing and sought after are abalone pearls, which are among the most popular in the world as they are not cultured and only discovered by chance in rugged, coastal waters.
In terms of their fashion currency, pearls have experienced something of a rough travel, especially in the latter half of the 20th century. Pearl bracelets in the kind of simple strands represented the style. These necklaces would frequently measure over 30 inches and be adorned with a tassel as a pendant. Society girls stunned by mixing the item with fakes and teaming her earrings. Largely thanks to her endorsement jewellery became popular and many women wore fake pearl jewelry made out of Lucite glass.
Inspired by Mademoiselle’s enthusiasm for the stone, in 2014 Chanel launched a high jewellery collection dedicated to the traditional pearl. The Perles Swing collection, consisting of earrings, necklace and a pearl bracelet, is a straightforward but tasteful mixture of South Sea, Tahitian and freshwater cultured pearls.
Jackie Kennedy is just another pearl-wearing celebrity whose signature triple strand pearl necklace actually consisted of imitation gems made out of glass rather than the actual deal. Audrey Hepburn’s name is also synonymous with pearls, make it a pair of pearl rings or a necklace subtly accentuating her attributes.
Somewhere around the 1980s pearls gained a reputation as the help of elderly ladies in twinsets using blue-rinse hairdos. Quite a few top jewellery houses feature pearls inside their jewelry collections that are high and innovative designers like Kova are also incorporating into contemporary jewellery designs them.
Like diamonds, the standard of a pearl is determined by various criteria for the size, shape, color and lustre. Since this determines not merely the pearl’s lustre but also how much time it will last an important aspect is the depth of the nacre. Contrary to the diamond, pearls call for a little bit of TLC to guarantee they stay looking pristine. Pearl should always be kept separately from diamonds to ensure the stone does not scratch at their face. We would recommend placing pearl stones before putting them. Elements such as sweat and perfume can dull the lustre of a pearl, therefore never before putting them away, spray odor onto them and wipe the pearls. In the instance of pearl bracelets, it is a great idea to take them to a jeweller to check if they want re-stringing.
Traditionally, pearls have been renowned for their uniformity in size and colour but now it seems that the more avant-garde, the better. Pearls in vibrant colours and unusual shapes are being integrated into unique stones by jewellers famous for their imagination, for example Boghossian and Hemmerle, while YOKO London offers a remarkably extensive palette of colored pearls so vibrant it is hard to believe they were shaped naturally – far removed from the conventional discreet white pearl studs gracing the ear lobes of women who lunch.