Pearls have always been enchanting and captivating everyone with its beauty and undying charm since ages. As they are rare and the only known gemstone developed by living organism, so are they famous among all ages and flaunted by very well known personalities through the passing time and antiquity. The timeless beauty ‘Audrey Hepburn’ made them the raging fashion of that era, and who doesn’t remember that mesmerizing look of hers in Breakfast At Tiffany’s? The famous designer CoCo Chanel never parted from it, and lately we been seeing beauties, celebrities and women of high position from all over the world dripped and clad in them, be it Barbara Bush, Rihanna, Michelle Obama, Sonam Kapoor or Madhuri Dixit. They have just rocked it. A symbol of elegance, preciousness and purity, pearls are found mentioned in ancient Chinese texts as ‘jewellery’ about 4,000 years ago. Interestingly Chinese believed that the growth of pearls was controlled by the moon. In Chinese ancient history pearls were not just used for the purpose of jewellery and adornment, but also used in many of high end works which were related to higher society and nobility.
The Development of Pretty Pearls
It is very fascinating to know that how these pretty pearls developed. Pearls are not mined but are made by creatures called ‘mollusks’ and also not every mollusks produces pearls, like only one in forty actually produce a pearl, isn’t that spellbinding! Pearls are formed due to a secretion of shelly substance around foreign particle, when ‘mollusks’ react to different irritants, thus then it produces different types of pearls, and if there are numerous spots within the mollusks that are irritated, numerous pearls will be formed, though the size of the pearls will not be the same as the single formed pearl, it will be quite smaller. The real and authentic pearls are little rough and tough whereas imitation pearls are smooth. And another interesting fact is that no two pearls are the same.
Cultured and Natural Pearls
Cultured pearls are the pearls which are obtained by introducing irritant like sand, food, parasite, or other different impurities into the shell of a mollusk by men, the result of which is termed ‘imitation pearls’. And natural Pearls are the pearls which are found in the Gulf of Mannar, Persian Gulf, the Gulf of California, the Gulf of Mexico, the South Pacific, Pacific coast of Mexico, Japan, Australia and Europe. The pearls from South Sea are famous for their distinct gold color like how Tahitian pearls are famous for their color black.
The Fun Facts –
The name Pearl is derived from the Latin word ‘Pirum’ which means ‘pear’ denoting the shape of the gem.
Pearl is the birthstone of June. Pearls are also the birthstone for the Zodiac signs of Gemini and Cancer
The famous Queen ‘Elizabeth I’ was an ardent fan of pearls. She was always seen beautifully adorning herself with pearls. Not just that, even her crowns exhibited pearls of different sizes and shapes. The more usage and love for pearls denoted her purity and her chasteness during her reign.
The oldest known pearl jewelry to human kind was discovered in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess who died in 520 BC. The said pearl is currently on display at the Louvre in Paris.
It is believed, kings of ‘Malabar’ wore necklace of 108 precious pearls and equal amount of rubies, which was passed down from long generation of kings to the next.
Also associated with subtle sexiness, it was believed that the beautiful Queen ‘Cleopatra’ dissolved a string of pearls in wine and drank to prove her love and unlimited wealth to Mark Anthony.
In India, they believed that pearls were drops of dew which fell into oysters, and also it is believed to be a symbol of the moon.
In European cultures during the 13th and 14th centuries, the noble class considered pearl as a symbol of wealth, status and power so as a result it was not available for the other class of the society, just to maintain its value.
The last Russian Dynasty did not lag behind in flaunting their wealth, class, lavishness with adornment and excessive use of pearls in many of the occasions.
Pearls have always been associated with power, love, morality, protection, luck, wealth, status, wisdom, purity, beauty, gentility and wealth.
The mighty Greeks thought that the pearls were the tears of gods.
Pearls are found in different colors and shades like – white, lilac, cream, grey, Pink, light Gold and Black. Oysters of different types determine the color of this gem in addition to the geographical location of the oyster and absorption of certain wavelength of light by the pearl.
Pearls from ages are also been associated with marriages and anniversaries. Pearls are considered an apt gemstone for the 1st, 12th and 30th year of marriage. Isn’t that pure and beautiful!
So talking about size of the pearl – a single pearl can differ from the size of a pinhead to the size of a pigeon’s egg.
Pearl like any other normal gemstone is rated or graded by cut, clarity, color and carat.
Classic pearls, Keshi pearl, Mother of pearl, coin pearl, baroque pearl, potato pearl, teardrop pearl, twin pearl, rice pearl, egg pearl, leaf pearl, cross pearl , rock pearl and heart pearls – few of the different kinds of pearls.