A brief history of pearls25.01.2020
Pearls are the most widely used gemstone in the world. They’re unique in themselves in the fact that they do not come not, but from deep inside the oceans. Formed from a grain of sand inside a shell, pearls are used not only in jewellery, but in cosmetics, chemicals, polishes, medicine, ornaments, and clothes. But the naturally round gemstones are largely used in jewellery, set in brooches, necklaces, earrings, tiaras, rings and numerous other accessories.
Since jewellery is often exchanged as a gift, pearls have often been used as gifts. History of pearls being gifted can be found as early as the 13th century. A Mongolian emperor by the name of Kublai Khan was gifted an Arco Valley Pearl by the traveller Marco Polo. This pearl was sold off in an auction at Abu Dhabi in 2007, and the whereabouts are currently unknown. In the 16th century, the La Peregrina pearl was gifted to the bride of Prince Phillip II of Spain. Even in recent times, Marilyn Monroe who famously crooned that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, kept a string of pearls by Joe DiMaggio as her most treasured possession. Fashion icon Grace Kelly always kept a string of pearls on her person before and after becoming the Princess of Monaco. Her frequented ornaments included a diamond and pearl necklace that her husband gifted her.
Pearls are created by the plantation of a nucleus inside an oyster, which allows a pearl to form around the nucleus itself.
The use of pearls in jewellery dates back to the era of the Ancient Greeks. These gemstones were one of the most valuable gems in many cultures around the world, right up until the beginning of the 20th century. Their value was such, that in the Byzantine Empire, all but the emperor were forbidden from wearing pearls, and such was the situation in many other cultures and societies. While they were associated with purity and modesty in some societies, the ancient Chinese civilization believed them to be protectors, as they were believed to keep dragons and fire from harming the wearing. Seed pearls in Victorian-era England symbolized tears in mourning.
However, these gemstones became more easily accessible in the 19th century, once the masses of Asia learned how to cultivate pearls themselves. Which is how they came to be as commonly used as they are today. Pearls are the most common gemstone found today. Both real and fake pearls adorn the dresses are persons of billions.
However, despite its trustworthiness, this gemstone does demand special care. The perspiration that gathers on pearls from use tends to wear away the pearl’s luster. It is important to take a damp cloth and wipe it over the pearls to clear away the build-up. In addition to this, they must be kept away from heat.