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History of Cultured Pearls


Nature, art, science and good fortune are all necessary to create cultured pearls. Some cultured pearls are even rarer than a flawless diamond.


• The pearl is the birthstone for the month of June.

• In Roman mythology, Venus — goddess of love and beauty — enters the world from a seashell, just like a pearl.

• The pearl is traditionally considered the gift of Love. It is also a symbol of health and longevity, often associated with purity, wisdom and countless other virtues.

• Pearls have inspired poets and artists, among many others, for thousands of years.

• A 'pearl' is often used to describe anything precious, highly desired or most valued.


• Mythology and artifacts depict the importance of pearls to different cultures and religions throughout the world. Ancient Greeks considered pearls to be the rarest, most precious resource in the world.

• Roman General Vitellius sold one of his mother's pearl earrings in order to fund a military campaign. By first century B.C.E., Rome's elite were covering themselves, and sometimes their furniture, in pearls. The Emperor Caligula even gave his horse a pearl necklace.

• It is said that Cleopatra once bet Marc Anthony that she could afford to consume the wealth of most nations at a single supper. She removed one of her large pearl earrings, most likely worth a fortune, dropped the pearl earring in her goblet of wine, more likely vinegar, and drank the glass once the pearl dissolved.

• From Antiquity through the Middle Ages, the passion for pearls spread throughout Europe. Knights frequently wore them into battle for protection.

• Men have worn pearls for centuries. In the mid-1500s, pearl bracelets, pearl bandoleers, pearl necklaces and pearl embroidered clothing were the major fashion. Swashbuckling Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake often wore single pear-shape pearl earrings.

• Throughout the centuries, portraits of monarchs and dignitaries frequently show them resplendent in pearl jewelry and pearl-ornamented garments.

• In New York in 1916, jeweler Cartier traded a large, double-strand natural pearl necklace in exchange for Cartier's current New York City Headquarters.

Today, some of the most famous jewels in the world are pearls. They are now state treasures or owned by royalty, fortunate heirs or celebrities.