Officially the world’s oldest gem, pearls are revered as before written history. Because of this, their discovery cannot be credited to a single person in particular, but it is believed that people detected them. We all know that they’ve been used for millennia thanks to a fragment of pearl jewelry found in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess who dates back to 420 BC, that is on display at the Louvre in Paris as a sort of adornment.
Pearls were presented as presents to Chinese infantry as early as 2300 BC, although at ancient Rome, pearl jewelry was regarded as that the ultimate status symbol. So valuable were the curved stone that in the 1st century BC, Julius Caesar passed the ruling classes a law.
The prosperity of natural oyster beds from the Persian Gulf meant that pearls additionally carried great value in Arab civilizations, in which legend said that pearls were made from dewdrops which were swallowed by oysters when they fell into the sea. At the centre of the pearl trade, the Persian Gulf was prior to the advent of cultured pearls and it turned into a source of prosperity in the region before the discovery of petroleum.
With such a long and ancient tradition, it is no real surprise that, over time, the pearl turned into shrouded in myth and legend. In ancient China, pearl jewellery has been thought to symbolise the innocence of the wearer while knights wore pearls on the battlefield, presuming that the prized diamonds could keep them safe. According to legend, a pearl smashed into a glass of wine to prove to Marc Antony she would give the most expensive dinner in history.
Pearls have been an important trade product because Roman times, and also the discovery of pearls in Central and South America in the 15th and 16th century resulted in the so called Pearl Age. With the demand for pearls in Western Europe, where women of nobility and royalty wore earrings, pearl necklaces, pearl bracelets and broochesneed for pearl jewelry became so large that oyster supplies began to dwindle.
Unlike gemstones that are mined from the earth, a living organism produces a pearl and, in actuality, their own existence is a freak of nature. A pearl is formed when an irritant, like a parasite or piece of shell, which becomes accidentally lodged within an oyster’s soft inside, making it to exude a crystalline substance called nacre, which builds up around the irritant in layers before a pearl is formed. Cultured pearls are formed through the exact same procedure being that the irritant is implanted rather than entering it.
Until the start of the 20th century, the one method of amassing pearls was by sailors risking their lives at depths of around 100ft to retrieve the bead. It was a pursuit for just three or four quality pearls could toss up, and also one which transported prospect of succeeding. Molluscs living in shallow rivers and ponds were more easy to collect, but these pearl beds were reserved for harvesting by royalty.
Nowadays, natural pearls are among the most popular of gems and their almost entirely depleted source means they are found very infrequently only in the waters away Bahrain and Australia. The scarcity of natural pearls is reflected at the prices they bring using pearls and pearl bracelets.
Intense bidding wars also have erupted over high quality all-natural pearl bracelets with the winning bids running to a few million dollars. Contrary to the shatterproof diamond, pure pearls’ creation depends on temperatures, both of which have been thrown into disarray by pollution and global warming and clean seas. Almost all pearl jewelry in the marketplace these days is made with pearls which were cultivated and farmed.
The introduction of cultured pearls in the early 1900s led to the value of pearls that were organic to plummet and turned the whole pearl sector. By 1935, there were 350 trophy farms in Japan, producing 10 million cultured diamonds a year, even though Mikimoto had to shield herself from accusations that his pearls were not “actual”. The scientific proof happened to the opposite; the pearls possess the specific same properties as the ones formed in sea beds, so the sole difference was that they had at getting the natural process 40, a helping hand.
Mikimoto’s Akoya pearls continue to be used now by the jewelry home that bears his name and so are famous for their brilliant lustre and rich colors, which range from white, cream and pink, to silvery pink.
Pearls can be found, or cultivated, in saltwater or freshwater and there are a number of unique types of pearls based on what mollusc they originate from. Cultured freshwater pearls are created in China and, because of their prosperity, they’re less expensive than their saltwater cousins. Saltwater pearls incorporate the Akoya in addition to Tahitian pearls, which arise in Tahiti and other islands in French Polynesia. The latter come in cream, white or gold colors with dimensions and is the largest of the pearl types. A Tahitian pearl can also be referred to as a black pearl, although its colour spectrum also has gray, blue, green and purple.Read more about Tahitian pearls.
Coloured pearls have been popular with both people as far back as the 17th century and, in the past few decades, these dark wonders of the sea have seen a resurrection, with a new generation of fashion-conscious consumers embracing jewelry comprising colored pearls as an edgier alternative to the usual white pearl necklace.
While perfectly round pearls have traditionally been the most coveted South Sea or Tahitian pearls are often utilised in modern jewellery to great effect.
Only speaking, oysters just create pearls, but a few jewels that are made in other molluscs also qualify for this moniker. Included in these are incredibly uncommon, oval-shaped conch pearls and Melo Melo pearls that are yellowish-orange. A substance composed mainly of calcite forms all these non-nacreous pearls, and their attractiveness is no less spectacular if they lack the iridescence of nacreous pearls.
As a result, conch pearls are amazingly valuable and also a pea-sized gem can draw up to US$120,000. Mikimoto lately launched a group of conch pearl jewelry, as well as 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 all abalone pearls, which are one of the rarest in the world since they are not cultured and only found by chance in rugged, coastal waters.
Concerning their fashion currency, pearls have experienced something of a bumpy journey, particularly in the latter half of the 20th century. Pearl bracelets in the shape of strands that were simple represented the fashion. Known as sautoirs, these long necklaces would measure over 30 inches and be adorned with a tassel as a pendant. “A girl wants ropes and ropes of pearls,” announced Coco Chanel, who was seldom seen without a heap of earrings casually worn round her neck. Society girls were stunned by her by teaming her pearls with all casual daywear and mixing the object. Largely thanks to her acceptance, costume jewellery became popular and several women wore fake pearl jewellery made from glass Lucite.
Inspired by Mademoiselle’s enthusiasm for the stone, in 2014 Chanel established a top jewellery collection dedicated to the timeless pearl. The Perles Swing collection, composed of necklace, a pearl bracelet and earrings, is also a simple but elegant mix of South Sea, Tahitian and freshwater cultured pearls.
Jackie Kennedy is another pearl-wearing icon whose signature triple strand pearl necklace actually consisted of imitation stone made out of glass in place of the real deal. Audrey Hepburn’s name can be interchangeable with pearls, make it a necklace or a pair of pearl rings accentuating her gamine attributes.
Somewhere across the 1980s pearls obtained a reputation as the help of older ladies in twinsets with blue-rinse hairdos. Now the tide is turning and pearls are once more back in favour. Several high jewellery houses feature pearls in their jewelry collections that are own high and they’re also being integrated into contemporary jewellery designs by progressive designers such as Kova. Read on how to utilize pearls in 2016 here.
Like gemstones, the quality of a pearl is set by numerous criteria including its dimensions, shape, colour and lustre. Since this determines not only the pearl’s lustre but also how much time it will last, A significant element is that the thickness of the nacre. Unlike the diamond that is more robust, pearls need a little bit of TLC to ensure they stay looking pristine. Pearl should always be stored separately from diamonds to guarantee the harder stone doesn’t scratch at their face. We would advise putting pearl jewels to a cloth bag before putting them. Acidic elements such as perfume and perspiration can dull the lustre of a pearl, so never spray odor onto them and wash the rings before putting them off. In the case of pearl bracelets, it is a good idea every five years to take them to assess if they want re-stringing.
Traditionally, pearls were renowned for their uniformity in size and colour but now it seems the more avant-garde, the better. Pearls in vibrant colours and unusual shapes have been incorporated into unique stones by jewellers famous for their imagination, such as Boghossian and Hemmerle, while YOKO London offers a remarkably broad palette of colored pearls so vibrant it is difficult to believe they were shaped naturally – far removed from the conventional discreet white pearl studs gracing the ear lobes of ladies who lunch.