Every gemstone has several interesting facts associated with it, but one of the most fascinating gems of all times has been the pearl. Natural pearls occur randomly and are quite rare, but with the technique of cultivating cultured pearls in place, these lustrous orbs are made available for jewelry. Here are a few interesting facts about this gem of the sea:
- The earliest record of pearls is found in the Mesopotamian artifacts dated around 2300 B.C when the Harappans traded in pearls and other gemstones with the ancient Mesopotamians for leather, wool and olive oil.
- Another ancient pearl was recently found In the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It is a 2000-year old pearl that was discovered from the Aboriginal archaeological excavation.
- The La Peregrina pearl (meaning ‘the incomparable’ in Spanish) is pear-shaped and resembles the size of a pigeon’s egg. It is a 500-year old pearl that was owned by King Philip II of Spain, French Emperor Napolean III and the legendary Elizabeth Taylor.
- Cleopatra, the last of the Egyptian queens, was known to possess the largest pair of pearl earrings of those times. She had dropped one of her pearl earrings into a glass of strong wine vinegar and gulped down the dissolved concoction to impress the Roman general Marc Antony.
- Unlike other gemstones, pearls are not mined, polished or cut. They are produced by freshwater mussels and saltwater oysters when an irritant or a foreign object like a small bead is systematically infused between the mantle and the shell of the organism.
- Perfect round pearls are traditionally the most coveted ones and are timeless. However, there are drop-shaped, ringed and button pearls used in fancy jewelry designs. If you have a fascination for abstract pieces and appreciate aesthetic flaws, baroque pearls are just right for you. They are asymmetrical, extremely unique and dramatically appealing.
- Wonder from where pearls obtain their luscious golden, creamy white and dark hues? Well, the nacre secreted from the mantle of golden-lipped, white-lipped, black-lipped and silver-lipped oysters give the pearls their attractive colors. Then there are pink and lavender Freshwater pearls apart from their white counterparts that are equally alluring.
- Akoya, South Sea and Tahitian are the major types of saltwater cultured pearls used in jewelry while the Freshwater cultured pearls are less nacreous, slightly off-round but affordable. The Akoya pearls are farmed in Japanese ocean waters while the South Sea and Tahitian pearls are cultivated in the South Pacific waters of Australia, Philippines and Indonesia.
- World’s first cultured pearl was cultivated in 1893 by a Japanese vegetable seller, Kokichi Mikimoto. Since then, his name and brand image became synonymous with pearls and Japanese culture.
- The lengths of pearl strands are defined by their unique names – collar, choker, princess, matinee, opera and rope. A collar pearl necklace hugs the neck while a choker sits at the base of the neck. The princess length reaches just below the collarbone and the matinee necklace falls on the top of a woman’s cleavage. An opera pearl necklace reaches the breastbone and a rope length is longer than an opera. Both the opera and the rope lengths can be doubled into a two strand necklace.
Pearls can be paired with almost any attire and can be styled in numerous ways. A symbol of wisdom, love, purity and youthfulness – pearls are truly a woman’s best friend. Have you got a strand of pearls, a pair of earrings or a ring studded with pearls in your collection? Check out our assortment at Angara and shop from our stunning designs.