Pearls come from living creatures.
Your pearl necklace is not like other jewellery. Pearls are formed within oysters, rather than being found in the ground. A pearl is the natural endpoint of an oyster’s immune system. When a piece of grit, or other foreign body, gets stuck in an oyster, the process begins. The oyster begins to produce a milky fluid in an attempt to dislodge the grit. If this doesn’t work, then the liquid hardens around the foreign object. This protects the oyster from irritation.
Pearls are the rarest gem.
When people think of pearls, they often think of them as objects found in the wild. Most pearls are farmed, however – with the pearls deliberately induced. Wild pearls do exist, but they are extremely rare. This is, of course, reflected in their price tag!
There are four types of pearls.
Most people think there are two types of pearl – freshwater, and saltwater. This is true, but there are more distinctions than that.
Freshwater pearls mainly come from China, where they are grown in large bodies of water. These are the most common type of pearl.
Akoya pearls are saltwater pearls and are grown in Japan and China. They are known for their shape and lustre.
Tahitian pearls are grown in various areas around French Polynesia. These are generally black (and they are also known as black pearls), but they can come in a variety of beautiful dark shades.
South Sea Pearls come from around Australia and the Philippines. They are known for their cream or white appearance.
The Romans decreed that only an aristocrat could wear pearls.
Julius Caesar himself passed a law restricting pearl jewellery to the elite. Pearls were extremely rare and precious to the Romans. Wearing them was a sign of status. When only the elite could wear them, it became even more of a status symbol than it had been before.
Cleopatra won a bet with a pearl.
Most people have heard some version of this story. When Mark Antony and Cleopatra first became aware of each other, there was a race to see which of them could put on the most expensive banquet.
At the time, Cleopatra owned the two most expensive pearls in existence. When she threw her banquet, she was wearing them as earrings for all to see. Once the food had been served, Cleopatra called for some strong vinegar.
When she had the vinegar in a cup, Cleopatra took one of her earrings off and dissolved it in the vinegar. She then drank it all in front of her guests.
Cleopatra won the bet.
We found the oldest pearl in the world in the United Arab Emirates.
We have found a pearl that is more than seven thousand five hundred years old. This was found in the United Arab Emirates and is named after the area it was found, Umm Al Quwain. The previous title holder was less than five thousand years old, so it is a significant time jump.
Finally, pearls are one of the three birthstones for people born in June.
The colour and rarity of pearls mean that they stand for loyalty, purity, and clarity. They could be the perfect birthstone for one of your friends.