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“Queen of Jewels” or “Treasure of Oceans” or commonly called Pearls, are treasured since centuries. Passed as heirlooms or carried as fashion statements. Pearls have their understated elegance and timeless allure, which makes them must have.

Despite their longstanding popularity, they are surrounded by captivating stories and facts that depicts a lot more about them.

Eager to know, what makes pearl such unique and interesting gemstones?

Here are some fascinating facts that highlight how pearls stand out with their history, lore, symbolism, uses, and uniqueness.

Let's explore why pearls beat all other stones.
Here we go.

Fact No. 1: Pearls Come from a Living Creature

Pearls are categorized as gemstones, but this is not correct, as there are differences between pearls and other gemstones.

Pearls are the only gemstones that are derived from a living organism (various species of oysters and mussels) unlike other gemstones which are mined from the Earth’s Crust.

Fact No. 2: Pearls are only white or cream in color

Pearls are only white or cream in color, this is not true. They can be colored too, black, pink, blue, and even lavender pearls are also available. A number of factors influence the pearls’ color like the mollusk type, the water conditions and the other elements present during the formation process.

Fact No. 3: First Cultured (or cultivated) Pearl was created by Kokichi Mikimoto

Kokichi Mikimoto was the first person to invent method for creating pearls. With a aim to grow pearls in his oyster beds, he started working in 1878 .

His journey of experimentation was actually the testing of his patience. After facing multiple failures for almost twenty years, he finally succeeded in creating pearls. And these continuous efforts awarded him with the title: “Father of Cultured Pearl.”

His pearl cultivation discovery helped in meeting the rising demand of pearls in the modern world in a sustainable manner, it also had a severe impact on the market for natural pearls.
These cultured pearls were actually what most of the customers needed, i.e round and affordable, which led to rise in their demand in the pearl market and his dream of adorning the necks of women around the world with pearls, also came true.

Fact No. 4: All Pearls are Not Perfectly Round

All pearls are not perfectly round. Pearls grow in a variety of shapes from round to irregular shapes. The most common include round, off-round, drop-shaped, and baroque. Every different pearl shape has its own unique charm.While round shapes undoubtedly remain the most popular, others are also admired, considering varying budgets and tastes.

Fact No. 5: Pearls have a Long History

Pearls are ruling the jewelry market since ages, explaining us they're are never going out of fashion. The earliest piece of pearl jewelry ever discovered dates back to 520 BC and was found in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess. This stunning ancient jewel is beautifully treasured in the Louvre gallery in Paris, France.

Cleopatra won a bet with the help of pearls this is a quite popular incident, recorded in history. It was a well known fact that she wore two of the largest pearls that existed in the world at that time as her earrings. To prove Mark Antony that she is so rich that she can host the most expensive dinner in the history, she dissolved the pearl in the vinegar and drank it. She won the bet and the drink was dubbed as world’s most expensive cocktail.

In Victorian and Georgian times pearls symbolized tears and were associated with mourning. They were worn by widows and were used in memorial jewelry.

Nowadays there use is not only limited to jewelry, they are also used to adorn accessories and other fashion materials too.

Fact No. 6: Pearls are Oldest Gemstones

Most of us know that pearls had significant value in Roman empire, it’s not correct as they have a rich history even before that!!

According to a discovery made by French researchers in 2012, the oldest ever pearl was found 7500 years back in the gravesite in United Arab Emirates. The pearl was given the name of Umm al Quwain.

The name was given to the pearl to signify the region of the country it was discovered in. This discovery has helped in beating the previous record held by the oldest pearl by over 2500 years.

Fact No. 7: Largest pearl and the most famous pearl in the world

The largest non-nacreous pearl available today is the Giga Pearl. It weights around 60 pounds and it is estimated to be of $60 million to $200 million.

The world’s most famous and historical pearls, is Le Peregrina (which means “the incomparable” in Spanish). It is a pear-shaped pearl like a small egg and is very small in size.

Fact No. 8: Pearls Lost Popularity To Diamonds

There was a decline in pearls popularity in the early 1700s, when diamond was discovered. During that time pearls were more costly than diamonds, so diamonds started ruling the jewelry market. Imitation pearls tried to make their space, but their cheapened look failed the attempt.

Until the late 1700s there was decline in pearl buyers, later new discoveries in pearl industry helped them gain popularity again.

Fact No. 9 : Pearls Require Minimum Six Months to Grow

Each type of pearl requires a specific duration to form. Six months is the minimum amount of time required for the growth of a pearl, whereas development process in some pearls extends to 24 months.

Farming process starts with insertion of a tiny nucleus inside the mollusk.The time taken to recover from implantation has a serious influence on the growth of the pearls. Pearl growth starts, when the mollusk is recovered and the process is over. Mollusk starts covering the nucleus with layers of nacre.

Japanese Akoya Pearl can grow up to 0.3 MM every year while the Chinese freshwater pearls can grow up to 5 MM per year.

Fact No. 10 : Most of the pearls in the market today are cultured

Kokichi Mikimoto discovery of cultured pearls, bought a new trend in pearl industry. As natural pearl formation process completes in years, cultured pearls are easily available in months. Besides this most of the natural pearls have been harvested, so only cultured pearls are available in the market.

Fact No. 11 : Pearls below jewelry grade are used as Medicine

Pearls are used in medicines, since times for treating various human issues. Those pearls which are below jewelry grade are crushed into powder and applied on skin as cosmetics as well as for curing skin conditions. Their healing properties are helpful in treating digestive issues and even mental disorders. China, India and Europe are widely using it due to the following benefits:

  1. Evens out skin tone

  2. Prevents skin discoloration

  3. Reduces hormonal breakouts

  4. Has anti-aging potential

  5. Treats burns, sores and ulcers

  6. Lightens skin

  7. Regenerates collagen for healthier, younger looking skin

  8. Adds luminosity to skin

  9. Treats acne

Fact No. 12 : Largest Pearl Market

Significant hub for pearl trade is Hong Kong and the world’s largest pearl market for freshwater is in Zhuji, China. This city of China exports pearls to 50 countries of the world and is renowned as the largest distribution center of the world.

Fact No. 13 : Pearls are Favorite of Some of the Most Influential Women of the World

Cleopatra and Queen Mary were huge admirers of pearls, we all know this very well. But, besides them some other eminent personalities also showed their serious fascination for pearls. Let’s check out who were they.

Jackie Kennedy and Michelle Obama loved adorning themselves with lavish pearl jewelry when their husbands hold significant position. Princess Diana of England was supposed to be a huge fan of pearls too!

The famous Dutch designer, Coco Chanel, loved wearing pearl jewelry every day. She changed the fashion world by incorporating pearls in her accessories and clothing, used them to make stylish designs . She once said:
“A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls.”

We are greatly influenced by these iconic women, and the growing popularity of pearls clearly shows it.

Fact No. 14: Beliefs About Pearls

Pearls are often associated with various beliefs and meanings. They are said to offer the power of protection, luck, knowledge, wealth, safety, and love to the wearer. Pearls are believed to bring wisdom, strengthen bonds, and foster strong relationships.

In Greek mythology, pearls are thought to enhance marriage. Another myth from China tells of dragons fighting in the sky, causing pearls to fall to the earth.

Fact No. 15: Oyster and Fine Wine are Similar

Oysters and fine wine both improve with age, if provided right conditions. This is a fascinating similarity between them. Pearls are repeatedly produced by oysters and each one is finer than the last potentially, similarly with maturity fine wines develop more complex and desirable flavors.

Fact No. 16 : Pearls are Traditional Gifts as well as June Birthstones

Pearls are considered traditional gifts due to their deep-rooted history and symbolism. Representing purity, wisdom and wealth they are widely associated with various cultural meanings. Gifting pearls on occasions like weddings or anniversaries shows your affection, loyalty and love towards your beloved partner.

They are also a special gift for June-Borns, as pearls are the birthstone of June Month. That’s why pearls are the most meaningful and captivating gem, perfect for gifting to someone you adore, born in the month of June.

Wrapping Up

Pearls are truly classical with rich history. Their beauty not only adds to their popularity, but also surrounds them with fascinating facts and stories. Like they come from living creatures and are not mined like other gemstones. They come in various colors like black, pink, blue, etc, they are not always white. The first cultured pearl which revolutionized the pearl industry was created by Kokichi Mikimoto. Zhuji in China is known for its largest pearl market. Influential figures like Cleopatra and Princess Diana have been treasuring pearls, this adds to their popularity. Their deep symbolic meaning makes them good traditional gifts as well as June Birthstone.

Arisha Jewels
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