History of the pearl

The Persians called them ‘children of light’ and believed they were the tears of the gods. The Chinese thought the moon gave them their power to glow. Throughout the ages, pearls have been shrouded in mystery and coveted by emperors, tsars, maharajas and queens.

In ancient times, the Greeks adorned statues and temples with them and wealthy Roman women wore their pearls at night, so they would be in their dreams. But perhaps history’s greatest pearl lover was England’s Queen Elizabeth I: the Virgin Queen. Pearls symbolised purity and she routinely wore seven ropes of them, some reaching to her knees. She had over 3000 pearl-encrusted dresses, 80 wigs set with pearls, multistrand bracelets and jeweltrimmed fans.

Legendary gems
Meeting the world’s desire for pearls has often been difficult. In Roman times, pearl beds were almost fished to extinction and laws were introduced to curb demand. Between the 14th and 16th centuries, similar laws were passed in England, France, Germany and other countries to avert crippling trade imbalance due to so much gold going out of the country to buy pearls.

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