15 Amazing Facts About Pearls - You didn't know

Posted on March 30th, 2022 06:53 PM

Introduction

Pearls are a beautiful and rare kind of jewelry. They have existed for thousands of years and have made their mark again after losing their popularity somewhere in between. On quite a few important occasions, we have spotted royal ladies from Queen Elizabeth to Duchess Camilla, from Princess Diana to Kate Middleton, and political figures like Michelle Obama and Kamla Harris in pearl jewelry. In many cases, it has been passed down from one generation to the next. This itself says what a significant role this exotic gemstone plays in keeping the dressing game up. Its sophisticated and elegant appearance is all a woman needs when she is out and accomplishing big things. So, here are some fascinating facts about this much-loved and cherished gem that never disappoints.

1. Pearl is the Only Gem that Originates from a Living Organism

A pearl is the only gem that has originated from a living being. All other stones come from the earth’s crust when magma cools under high pressure. Pearls are precious gifts from the sea because they are extracted from marine oysters and fresh water mussels. After the extraction of the pearls, most of the time, oysters are consumed as food.

2. Pearl Formation Takes 6 Months

Every pearl type takes a certain amount of time in its formation. But at least six months is the minimum time for all types of pearls. And the maximum can be more than a year for some. The process gets initiated when a tiny nucleus is implanted inside the mollusk’s body. Now, depending on the time of recovery of the mollusk from the implantation, the growth of the pearl takes place. On the mollusk’s full recovery, the pearl begins to grow.

3. Natural Pearls are the Rarest Forms of Gems


According to statistics, only 1 in 10,000 wild oysters contains pearls, and due to the growing popularity of this gem in the 20th century, overfishing caused depletion of the oyster beds. Even after so many years of cultured pearls in the market, the oyster population hasn’t recovered. The natural pearls that we have today were extracted many years ago. This is what makes this gem rare.

4. Majority of the Pearl Market is Occupied by Cultured Pearls

Kokichi Mikimoto's discovery of a method to create cultured pearls transformed the pearl industry forever. Today, nearly all of the pearl jewels that you see and buy are cultured. Natural pearls were already rare, and even those had already been harvested. Because of cultured pearls alone, we could continue wearing and trading pearl jewelry in today’s times.

5. Pierre Cartier Bought his New York Flagship Store with a Pearl Necklace

In the early twentieth century, pearls were the most valuable gems, so when in 1916, Maisie Plant laid her eyes on this natural pearl necklace put up by Pierre Cartier in his New York store, she could not stop herself from buying it. But Cartier offered her the necklace in return for her Italian-Renaissance inspired home on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. She agreed, and Cartier transformed that mansion into the world’s most luxurious retail store. Bought with a pearl necklace, today it is the company’s largest store in the world.

6. The Most Expensive Pearl Costs $100 Million

This pearl is not only the most expensive but also the biggest pearl in the world. It costs a hundred million dollars and weighs 75 pounds. It was discovered by a fisherman in the Philippines when his anchor got stuck in the sea off the Palawan Islands. For 10 years, being unaware of his real worth, he kept it under his bed as a symbol of good luck. But in 2016, when a fire burned his house down, he handed over the piece to the tourism office. The local government has named it the "Pearl of Puerto". 

7. Julius Caesar Restricted the Use of Pearl to Only Aristocrats.

For ancient Romans, pearls symbolized wealth, stature, and honor. Owning a pearl says a lot about your social class. And this is why it refrains other people from using this gem, Caesar passed this law, according to which only the ruling class and aristocrats could wear the pearl jewels.

8. Pearl was Used by Cleopatra to Win a Bet

According to a myth, Cleopatra, in order to prove to Mark Anthony that she could host the most expensive dinner in history, took off one of his pearl earrings, dissolved it in vinegar and swallowed it. These earrings had two of the world’s largest pearls. Antony, who was taken aback, refused the bet on dinner and agreed she had won. Owning pearls was a matter of class and wealth back then. 

9. The Oldest Pearl is 7500 Years Old

In 2012, French researchers discovered the oldest pearl ever in the history of human kind. It belongs to the Neolithic age and was found at a gravesite in the UAE. The name given to this pearl is Umm Al Quwain, to represent the region it was found in. Scientists used carbon dating to assess that the pearl was over 7,500 years old. According to the French National Center for Scientific Research, it is the oldest pearl in the Arabian Peninsula and across the world.

10. Pearl Jewelry Dates Back to 520 BC

It is believed that pearl jewelry found in the sarcophagus of a Persian Princess is the oldest piece. The researchers discovered that this pearl jewelry dates back to 520 BC. They found a beaded pearl necklace that was crafted with 216 pearls in total. Now, it is on display at the Louvre in Paris.

11. Pearl is not Just Round but Come with Many Different Shapes

Though we see mostly pearls in jewelry in round shape. And people believe that all pearls are perfectly round and symmetrical, but this is definitely not true. Different types of pearls come in different shapes like baroque, round, off-round, and drop. Some of the most famous and renowned pearls are non spherical like; "The Hope Pearl", "Pearl of Allah", "La Peregrina pearl", and "The Imperial Hong Kong Pearl" Round-shaped pearl jewelry is the most popular among the general population, but others are admired and bought too.

12. Pearl is the Birthstone of June


People born in June have three official birthstones, and pearl is one of them. According to the myth, the June birthstone symbolizes purity, innocence, and loyalty. The gemstone comes with a rich history and continues to be one of the most popular jewels today. Pearls are a wonderful gift for anyone born in this month because of their significance and enticing beauty. 

13. Historically, Pearls Carried Negative Symbolism

Kokichi Mikimoto's discovery of a method to create cultured pearls transformed the pearl industry forever. Today, nearly all of the pearl jewels that you see and buy are cultured. Natural pearls were already rare, and even those had already been harvested. Because of cultured pearls alone, we could continue wearing and trading pearl jewelry in today’s times.

14. Kokichi Mikimoto is the Name Behind Cultured Pearls

Kokichi Mikimoto was the first man to create a cultured/cultivated pearl. In 1878, he began experimenting with different ways to develop pearls in his own oyster beds. It took him almost two decades of trial-and-error before he succeeded in creating one in 1896. This invention changed the pearl industry for the better, as Mikimoto’s discovery helped fulfill the global demand for pearls. These were less expensive and more symmetrical.

15. Pearls Come in Different Types


Pearls come in four different varieties that make them vary in size, shape, color, and value. They are named as;

  1. Freshwater pearls: Produced widely in China and are also the most widely available pearl. They come in a very baroque to nearly-round shape and look identical to Akoya Pearl.

  2. Saltwater pearls:
    1. Japanese Akoya Pearl: Produced extensively in Japan and China and are Known to be best in the market. Comes in spherical shape with a fine luster.
    2. Tahitian Pearls: Farmed in islands of French Polynesia. As they originate from the black lip oyster, they are black in color. Can be seen in other dark hues like green, blue, and purple.
    3. South Sea Pearls: Found in Australia and the Philippines. They are the largest of all, have a soft luster and come in white to a deep honey gold. Due to their soft luster, alluring tones of gold, and rarity, they are the most expensive pearls.


Conclusion

After knowing some the fascinating facts about pearl you may feel now how precious and rich this gemstone is. Its versatility makes it the perfect jewelry investment. Your search for jewelry that can be teamed with any attire and any occasion, look no further because pearl is undoubtedly is a staple jewelry that can be styled easily and gives a glamorous look. So, wait no more and adorn yourself in pure pearls.


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