Brief History of Pearls
Pearls have been revered for centuries, and their first use as jewelry isn’t documented. Many jewelry historians believe that pearls were found by ancient fish-eating tribes along India’s coasts when they were opening oysters for food. Ancient cultures in India, Egypt and China all valued pearls for their beauty. Pearl’s popularity moved throughout the region and soon the world, with many historic societies valuing these gems. For centuries, pearls were reserved for royalty.
The more recent invention of cultured pearls has made these beautiful gems more accessible to everyone. Cultured pearls allow for the large-scale creation of glistening gems and increased affordability.
Famous Pearl Jewelry
Pearls have remained a cultural phenomenon, with people from all walks of life wearing these gems. Audrey Hepburn famously wore strings of pearls in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, making the pearl and little black dress combo iconic. Rene Russo wore a pearl station necklace in 1996’s Tin Cup, linking the jewelry style to the namesake film. More recently, pearls have been worn by Kamala Harris and even baseball player Joc Pederson.
Natural vs Cultured Pearls
Natural and cultured pearls are both made in mollusks when an irritant finds it way inside. The mollusk secretes a protective fluid that, over time, forms layers that create a shining pearl. For natural pearls, this happens without human intervention. In cultured pearls, this happens when someone puts the irritant, aka the nucleus, directly into the mollusk. The formation of the pearl is still up to the mollusk and cannot be controlled. This makes even cultured pearls unique and beautiful in their individuality.