The world jewel, pearls are revered since before written history. For this reason, their discovery cannot be attributed to a person particularly, but it’s thought that people first discovered them. We know they’ve been used as a kind of adornment for millennia due to a fragment of pearl jewelry found in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess that dates back.
Rings were presented as presents to Chinese infantry as early as 2300 BC, although in early Rome, pearl jewellery was regarded as that the ultimate status symbol. So valuable were the stone that from the 1st century BC, Julius Caesar and a regulation restricting the wearing of pearls passed only to the ruling classes.
The prosperity of natural oyster beds from the Persian Gulf meant that pearls also carried great significance in Arab cultures, where legend said that diamonds were made from dewdrops which were swallowed by oysters when they fell into the sea. Prior to the advent of cultured pearls, the Persian Gulf was in the middle of the pearl trade and it had been a source of prosperity in the region.
With this kind of a long and ancient history, it is no wonder that, as time passes, the pearl turned into shrouded in legend and myth. In China, while, at the Dark Ages, knights wore pearls in the battle pearl jewellery has been stated to symbolise the innocence of the wearer. According to legend, a pearl crushed into a glass of wine to show to Marc Antony she would provide the most expensive dinner in history.
Pearls have been an important trade commodity since Roman times, along with the discovery of pearls at Central and South America in the 15th and 16th century resulted in the so called Pearl Age. With the rising demand for pearls in Western Europe, where ladies of nobility and royalty wore earrings, pearl necklaces, pearl bracelets and broochesneed for pearl jewelry became so high that oyster supplies started to dwindle.
Unlike diamonds which are mined in the ground, a living organism creates a pearl as well as in fact, their own presence is a freak of nature. A pearl is formed when an irritant, like a parasite or piece of shell, becomes lodged in an oyster’s soft inside, causing it to secrete a crystalline substance called nacre, that builds up around the irritant in layers before a bead is formed. Cultured pearls are formed via precisely the exact same process being that the irritant is planted rather.
Until the beginning of the 20th century, the sole method of collecting pearls was by sailors risking their own lives at depths of up to 100ft to retrieve the bead. It turned out to be one which carried limited chance of succeeding for only three or four quality pearls would throw up and a dangerous pursuit. These decoration beds were earmarked for harvesting by royalty, although freshwater molluscs living in streams and shallow rivers were easier to gather.
Today, natural pearls are among the rarest of gems and their almost entirely depleted source usually means that they’re found very rarely only from the waters away Bahrain and Australia. The lack of natural pearls is reflected in the prices they bring at auction, with pearl rings and pearls at My Pearls.
Intense bidding wars have also erupted over high-quality natural pearl necklaces with the winning bids running into several million dollars. Contrary to the shatterproof diamond, the formation of pure pearls is dependent on clean seas. All pearl jewelry in the marketplace these days is made using pearls that farmed and were cultivated.
Kokichi Mikimoto, the son of a noodle maker, created the world’s first cultured pearl in 1893 by manually introducing an irritant to an oyster to excite it to form a necklace. The debut of cultured pearls in the early 1900s led to the value of pearls that were pure and turned the pearl sector on its head. From 1935, there were 350 pearl farms in Japan, making 10 million cultured pearls per year, though Mikimoto had to constantly defend herself against accusations that his pearls weren’t “actual”. The scientific proof spoke to the contrary; the pearls had the same properties as those formed in sea beds, so the only difference was they had at getting the pure process 40, a helping hand.
Mikimoto’s Akoya pearls are still used now by the jewellery home that bears his name and so are famous for their brilliant lustre and rich colors, which range from white, cream and pink, to purple pink.
Pearls can be found, or cultivated, in saltwater or freshwater and there are numerous different kinds of pearls based on what mollusc they arise from. Freshwater pearls are created largely in China as well as due to their abundance, they are cheaper than their saltwater cousins. Saltwater pearls incorporate Tahitian pearls, which arise in Tahiti and other islands in French Polynesia as well as the Akoya. The latter come with dimensions and is the biggest of all the pearl kinds. A Tahitian pearl can also be known as a black pearl, but its colour spectrum also includes gray, blue, green and purple.Read about Tahitian pearls here.
Coloured pearls have been popular with both people as far back as the 17th century as well as in the past few years, these dim wonders of the sea have seen a resurrection, with a new production of fashion-conscious consumers embracing jewelry comprising colored pearls as an edgier alternative to the usual white pearl necklace.
“Baroque” is a phrase applied to pearls that are non-symmetrical, and these irregular shapes are somewhat more prevalent in freshwater pearls. While perfectly round pearls have become the most enviable South Sea or Tahitian pearls are utilized in modern jewellery to fantastic effect.
Strictly speaking, oysters just create pearls, however some gems that are created in other molluscs also qualify with this particular moniker. Included in these are incredibly uncommon, oval-shaped conch pearls and Melo Melo pearls that are yellowish-orange. All these pearls are shaped by means of a substance composed of calcite, and while they lack the iridescence of pearls, their beauty is not as spectacular.
Ranging in colour from yellow to crimson crimson, with delicate pink being the hottest color, conch pearls can’t be cultivated and are only seen in one in every 10,000 Queen conch molluscs. Because of this, conch rings are amazingly valuable and even a pea-sized stone could draw up to US$120,000. Mikimoto recently launched a selection of conch pearl jewelry, and the pink pearls also have been incorporated into stones by the likes of Boucheron jewelry and Tiffany & Co..
Also incredibly beautiful and sought after are abalone pearls, which are one of the most popular in the world since they’re not cultured and simply seen by chance in rocky, coastal waters.
Concerning their fashion currency, pearls have experienced something of a rough travel, particularly in the latter half of the 20th century. In the 1920s, pearl bracelets in the form of strands that were straightforward represented the fashion. These extended bracelets would often measure over 30 inches and be adorned with a tassel for a pendant. “A lady needs ropes and ropes of pearls,” announced Coco Chanel, who was rarely seen without a pile of pearls casually worn round her throat. Society ladies were shocked by her by teaming her earrings and mixing the item. Largely as a result of her acceptance, costume jewelry became several and popular girls wore fake pearl jewellery made out of Lucite glass.
Inspired by Mademoiselle’s passion for the stone, in 2014 Chanel established a high jewellery collection devoted to the traditional pearl. The Perles Swing collection, consisting of necklace, a pearl necklace and earrings, is also a simple but tasteful blend of pastel-coloured South Sea, Tahitian and freshwater cultured pearls.
Jackie Kennedy is another pearl-wearing celebrity whose signature triple strand pearl necklace actually consisted of fake stone made from glass instead of the real thing. Audrey Hepburn’s name is also synonymous with pearls, be it a necklace or a pair of pearl rings accentuating her features.
Somewhere across the 1980s pearls gained a reputation as the preserve of elderly women in twinsets with blue-rinse hairdos. Now the tide is turning and pearls are once more back in favour. Several high jewellery houses prominently feature pearls in their jewelry collections and designers such as Kova are also incorporating into jewellery designs them.
As with diamonds, the caliber of a pearl is set by numerous criteria including its size, shape, color and lustre. A significant aspect is the depth of the nacre because this decides not only the pearl’s lustre but also how long it will last. Unlike the diamond that is more robust, pearls need a little bit of TLC to make certain they stay looking pristine. Pearl should be stowed separately to make sure the harder stone doesn’t scratch their surface. We’d suggest putting pearl stones before placing them. Acidic elements like perspiration and perfume can dull a pearl’s lustre, so never before putting them off spray scent onto them and wipe the rings. In the instance of pearl necklaces, it’s a fantastic idea to take them to a jeweller to assess if they want re-stringing.
Traditionally, pearls have been celebrated for their uniformity in size and colour but now it seems the more avant-garde, the better. Pearls in vibrant colours and unusual shapes are being integrated into unique jewels by jewellers renowned for their creativity, such as Boghossian and Hemmerle, while YOKO London provides a remarkably broad palette of colored pearls so vibrant it’s hard to believe they were shaped naturally – far removed from the standard discreet white pearl studs gracing the ear lobes of women who lunch.