Pearls have long been associated with timeless elegance, and it is easy to see why. Their shimmering tone instantly catches the eye and softly enhances the complexion of the wearer. As one of the birthstones of Junes, pearls are a beautiful choice for a thoughtful birthday gift.
History of Pearls
Because pearls come from the ocean or lakes, they embody the fluidity and power of water. In ancient times, many cultures associated pearls with the moon due to their spherical shape. They were also believed to offer protection from fire and to symbolize purity, chastity and modesty.
Highly prized by ancient civilizations, pearls were presented as gifts to Chinese royalty as early as 2300 BC. So precious were the lustrous spheres that Roman Emperor Julius Caesar decreed that only the ruling classes could wear them. In the Middle Ages, knights wore pearls on the battlefield for their protective powers.
Due to their status and rarity, pearls were often mentioned in religious texts. These lustrous gems are even the subject of several Bible verses. The oldest is Job 28:18: “And the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls.”
Almost all gemstones are minerals that form as crystals deep within the earth. However, pearls are one of the few organic gems formed by biological processes. In nature, pearls form inside certain mollusks, like oysters, clams and mussels. When a microscopic irritant gets inside the body of the mollusk, it secretes a liquid to soothe the irritation. Over time, that secretion hardens around the irritant, creating a pearl. The process is the same for cultured pearls. Although wild mollusks are sometimes used, cultured pearls usually come from mollusks raised specifically for growing pearls.
Experience the Rainbow
Although white and cream are the most common colors for pearls, they can occur in a wide range of colors, both naturally and in cultured environments. Black, gray and silver are relatively common, but pearls can be made in just about every color of the rainbow. In addition to the primary body color, pearls also have colored overtones, usually pink, but sometimes green, blue or purple. A stunning iridescent shimmer called luster is what makes each truly unique. This luster is an important quality in determining the value of a pearl, along with size, color and surface quality.
Glamor icon Marilyn Monroe’s pearl necklace is among the most famous pearls in the world. This 16-inch strand was a wedding gift from her husband, Joe DiMaggio, and is made up of 44 cultured pearls. The Pearl of Lao Tzu is the largest pearl ever discovered, weighing in at 6.4 kilograms. It was found in a giant clam in 1934 in the Philippines. The Miracle of the Sea was once owned by the Dowager Empress of China, Tzu-Hsi. At 300 carats, it is roughly the size of a small egg.
Stunning Pearl Jewelry
Here at Worthington Jewelers, we specialize in creating beautiful custom jewelry for any occasion. With our selection of pearls, you can design the perfect gift for that special someone. We can help bring your idea to life or help you find the perfect piece that we already have in our shop. Whatever style of jewelry you are looking for, stop by and see us today to find the perfect gift.