Pearls in History
There is no doubt that pearls have been a fashion staple throughout the centuries. The oldest pearl jewelry ever recorded is almost 3,000 years old. It dates back to the 7th century and was discovered in an ancient Persian city. An archeologist discovered the necklace in 1901and it immediately went down in the history books. The necklace is a beautiful piece with 3 strands of 72 pearls on each strand. They had been perfectly preserved in the sarcophagus of an ancient Queen.
Now, this is the oldest piece of pearl jewelry that is known, but pearls made their place throughout every culture over the centuries. In ancient Rome, pearls were a symbol of wealth and social status. They were looked upon so highly that a law was created that allowed only members of the Elite to wear pearls. The Greeks saw pearls as a symbol of love and marriage. There is a Greek pearl necklace on display at the Metropolitan museum in New York City that is 2,300 years old. This necklace has been on display at the museum for 100 years.
During the Renaissance, pearls were very popular. Nearly every person that belonged to the noble population wore pearls. Baroque pearls, or irregularly shaped pearls, were popular during this time. Elizabeth I of England was known to have a passion for this shiny gemstone. She is portrayed in a painting from the mid 16th century in a very long, pearl-studded dress. History books also say that her most valuable pearls were kept in her pet stoat’s collar. Talk about bling for your pet!
In the early 1900’s pearls were a very valuable and sought after gemstone. The famous Jacques Cartier bought his legendary store on Fifth Avenue by trading two pearl necklaces for the property. Back in Japan, Kokichi Mikimoto was knee deep in his pearl research during the early 20th century. Mikimoto pioneered the cultured Akoya pearl. Today, this is one of the most popular, beautiful and sought after pearls on the market. These pearls are usually small in size but nearly perfectly round, making them perfect for stringing together to make beautiful pieces of jewelry.
Pearls of all shapes, sizes and colors continue to be popular to this day. There are no longer any laws allowing only nobility to wear pearls. Quite the opposite is true today. In this poor economy, pearls have become the affordable luxury for people from every walk of life. You can find high quality pearls for a very reasonable price, and they are a classic gemstone that won’t ever go out of style. There are also pearls out there that you can splurge a bit more on as well! Beautiful black Tahitian pearls are a sassy choice and the chocolate pearls are just making a run on the market. No matter what pearl you choose, if you spend a lot or a little, you can’t go wrong when you add a few pieces to your jewelry collection.