Pearls throughout Time

Pearls throughout Time

Pearls have been the world’s most treasured gem since 2300BC. According to legends, it was first discovered in Ancient Egypt by the Hindu god Krishna and mother-of-pearl was first used as decoration in 4000BC, despite pearls being used regularly from the fifth century BC.

Pearls were highly regarded by the Ancient Greeks, particularly for weddings as they were thought to signify love. Pearls represented being wealthy by the Ancient Romans. Cleopatra wore pearls and a story was told of how she won a bet from Marc Antony for giving the most lavish banquet, despite only having a jug of vinegar before her. She then proceeded by dropping one of her pearl earrings into the vinegar. The pearl earrings, which in today’s times, are equivalent to being worth thousands of pounds, melted into the vinegar. Cleopatra then swallowed the drink, and therefore won the game.

Freshwater pearls were also found in the American rivers and gathered by the Native Americans. Legend has it that presents of animal cloth and freshwater pearls were given from a Native American princess to Hernando de Soto, a Spanish explorer. From then pearls were one of the major items for exporting to Europe. Saltwater pearls were also exported from the Caribbean to the Americas. Pearl resources started to diminish, following a high volume of pearls being extracted from the rivers and pollution.

In the past, pearls were considered to be only accessible to the affluent. However, since the 20th century pearl farmers nurture pearls so that pearl lovers have the opportunity to wear them.  Natural pearls, however still involve pearl divers searching for naturally formed pearls, which are still rare.

Pearls have been a fashion statement in itself and have been worn by many famous stars including, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Madonna and the British Royal family.

Pearls give the classic Look that never goes out of fashion.

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