The world jewel, pearls have been revered since before written history. For this reason, their discovery cannot be credited to one person particularly, but it is believed that men and women detected them. We know they’ve been used for millennia due to some fragment of pearl jewelry found in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess who dates back as a form of adornment.
Bracelets were presented as gifts to Oriental infantry as early as 2300 BC, while in ancient Rome, pearl jewellery was regarded as that the ultimate status symbol. So prized were the stone that Julius Caesar passed a regulation restricting the sporting pearls to the classes.
The abundance of natural oyster beds in the Persian Gulf meant that pearls also carried great importance in Arab cultures, where legend stated that pearls were made from dewdrops which were swallowed by oysters when they dropped into the sea. Before the advent of cultured pearls, the Persian Gulf was in the centre of the pearl trade and it had been a source of prosperity in the region.
With such a long and ancient tradition, it is no question that, over time, the pearl turned into shrouded in myth and legend. In early China, while knights often wore pearls on the battle, presuming that the diamonds could keep them 39, pearl jewelry has been believed to symbolise the innocence of the wearer. According to legend, Cleopatra smashed a pearl into a glass of wine to show that she could give the most expensive dinner ever.
Pearls have been an important trade commodity since Roman times, along with the discovery of pearls in Central and South America in the 15th and 16th century led to the so-called Pearl Age. Together with the demand for pearls in Western Europe, where women of royalty and nobility wore brooches, earrings, pearl bracelets and elaborate pearl braceletsdemand for pearl jewellery became so high that oyster supplies started to dwindle.
Unlike diamonds which are mined in the ground, a living organism produces a pearl as well as in reality, their own existence is a freak of nature. A pearl is formed when an irritant, like a parasite or piece of shell, becomes inadvertently lodged within an oyster’s soft inner body, causing it to exude a crystalline substance called nacre, which builds around the irritant in layers until a bead is formed. Cultured pearls are formed through precisely the procedure being the dermis is planted rather.
Until the start of the 20th century, the only method of amassing pearls was risking their lives at depths of up to 100ft to retrieve the pearl oysters. It was a pursuit for only three or four standard pearls could throw up and also one which carried limited probability of succeeding. Freshwater molluscs residing in rivers and streams were simpler to collect, but these pearl beds were earmarked for harvesting by royalty.
Today, natural pearls are among the rarest of gems and their nearly entirely depleted source means that they are found very rarely only from the waters away Bahrain and Australia. The scarcity of natural pearls is reflected at the prices they bring at auction, together with antique pearl bracelets and pearls. Modern pearl rings are available from a range of retailers such as MyPearls.
Intense bidding wars have also erupted over high quality natural pearl necklaces with the winning bids running to a few million dollars. Elizabeth Taylor’s famous La Peregrina 16th century trophy, which sold for US$11.8 million, is a case in point. Contrary to the gemstone that is senile, pure pearls’ creation depends on stable temperatures, both of which are thrown into disarray by pollution and global warming and clean seas. All pearl jewellery on the market these days is made using pearls that were cultivated and farmed.
Kokichi Mikimoto, the son of a noodle manufacturer, created the world’s first cultured pearl in 1893 by manually introducing an noodle in an oyster to stimulate it to create a decoration. The introduction of pearls in the early 1900s turned the entire pearl business and caused the value of pearls to plummet. From 1935, there were 350 pearl farms in Japan, producing 10 million cultured pearls per year, though Mikimoto had to constantly defend herself against accusations that his pearls were not “actual”. The scientific evidence spoke to the contrary; the cultivated pearls possess the specific same qualities as those formed in sea beds, so the sole difference was they had in getting the process 40, a hand.
Mikimoto’s Akoya pearls are still used now by the jewellery house that bears his name and so are renowned for their brilliant lustre and rich colours, which range from white, cream and pink, to crimson pink.
Pearls can be found, or cultivated, in saltwater or freshwater and there are several different types of pearls based on what mollusc they arise from. Cultured freshwater pearls are made in China as well as because of their prosperity, they’re less expensive than their saltwater cousins. Saltwater pearls incorporate Tahitian pearls, which arise in other islands and Tahiti in French Polynesia as well as the aforementioned Akoya. The latter is the largest of all of the pearl types and come with sizes. A Tahitian pearl can also be referred to as a black pearl, even though its colour spectrum also includes gray, blue, green and purple.Read more about Tahitian pearls.
Coloured pearls were popular with both people as far back as the 17th century as well as in the past several years, these dim wonders of the sea have witnessed a resurrection, using a new production of fashion-conscious consumers embracing jewelry comprising colored pearls as a edgier alternative to the conventional white pearl necklace.
“Baroque” is a phrase applied to pearls that are non-symmetrical, and such irregular shapes are more common in freshwater pearls. Baroque South Sea or Tahitian pearls are frequently utilized in exceptional, contemporary jewellery to great effect, while round pearls have become the most coveted.
Strictly speaking, oysters just produce pearls, but a few gems that are created in other molluscs also qualify with this particular moniker. These include incredibly rare, oval-shaped conch pearls and Melo Melo pearls. These pearls are shaped by a substance composed mostly of calcite, and their beauty is no less spectacular, if they lack the iridescence of nacreous pearls.
Because of this, conch rings are precious and a stone may bring as much as US$120,000. Mikimoto lately launched a group of conch pearl jewellery, as well as the distinctive pink pearls have also been integrated into stones by the likes of Boucheron jewellery and Tiffany & Co..
Additionally incredibly amazing and sought after are abalone pearls, that are one of the most popular in the world since they’re not cultured and simply found by chance in rugged, coastal waters.
In the 1920s, the fashion was reflected by pearl necklaces in the form of simple strands for compact, unfussy layouts. These extended bracelets would measure more than 30 inches and also be adorned with a tassel as a pendant. Society ladies shocked by teaming her pearls and mixing the item. Largely because of her acceptance, costume jewelry became popular and many women wore imitation pearl jewellery made from Lucite or glass.
Inspired by Mademoiselle’s enthusiasm for the gem, in 2014 Chanel established a high jewellery collection dedicated to the timeless pearl. The Perles Swing set, consisting of necklace, a pearl necklace and earrings, is also a superbly straightforward but elegant blend of pastel-coloured South Sea, Tahitian and freshwater cultured pearls.
Jackie Kennedy is just another pearl-wearing icon whose signature triple strand pearl necklace really consisted of fake gems made out of glass rather than the actual deal. Audrey Hepburn’s title can be synonymous with pearls, be it a necklace or a pair of pearl earrings subtly accentuating her gamine features.
Somewhere around the 1980s pearls obtained a reputation as the preserve of elderly women in twinsets using blue-rinse hairdos. Numerous high jewellery houses prominently feature pearls within their high jewelry collections and progressive designers such as Kova are also incorporating into modern jewellery designs them.
As with gemstones, the caliber of a pearl is determined by several criteria including its dimensions, shape, color and lustre. Since this decides not merely the pearl’s lustre but also how long it will last A significant aspect is that the depth of the nacre. Unlike the diamond that is more robust, pearls take a little bit of TLC to guarantee they remain looking pristine. Pearl should be stored separately from diamonds to guarantee the harder stone doesn’t scratch their surface. We’d recommend placing pearl stones to a cloth bag before putting them in the jewelry box. Acidic elements such as perfume and perspiration can dull the lustre of a pearl, therefore never before putting them off spray scent directly onto them and wipe the rings. In the case of pearl bracelets, it is a great idea to take them to a jeweller every five years to check if they need re-stringing.
Traditionally, pearls were renowned for their uniformity in size and colour but now it seems the more daring, the better. Pearls in vibrant colors and unusual shapes have been incorporated into unique stones by jewellers famous for their creativity, such as Boghossian and Hemmerle, although YOKO London offers an incredibly wide palette of colored pearls so vibrant it’s hard to believe they were formed naturally – far removed from the conventional discreet white pearl studs gracing the ear lobes of women who lunch.