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History of Pearls and Pearl Jewellery

They are pure, white and popularly known as the Queen of Gems. Yes, we’re talking about the only precious stones that grow naturally, pearls.  Their beauty and rarity has quite a long history world over. Pearl Jewellery have always been a symbol of wealth and class amongst the rich, and even today as they are cultured, they have a discerning, mysterious aura about them.

Pearl & Diamond Stud Earrings

How is a pearl created?

Deep under the sea or ocean lie oyster shells, that are living beings just like the various corals and seaweeds around them. As they allow water to enter their shell, they also make it possible for irritants to enter as well.

To protect itself, the oyster releases a substance called nacre, containing calcium carbonate that slowly collects over time, creating its own form –this is what we call the pearl.

There are two main types of pearls found- freshwater Pearl Jewellery and seawater pearls. Each of them have slightly different attributes but are equally rich and glowing in their own way.

Who used them?

There is evidence that oysters were commonly found along the Persian Gulf, leading to the belief that civilisations nearby harvested pearls for their use. Remains of pearl jewellery were found in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess dating back to 420 BC.

Pearls have always been associated with the moon, mystique and wealth, thus were very revered.

The ancient Egyptian culture used them to embellish buildings, clothes, and, if popular myth is to be believed, Cleopatra even drank a pearl dissolved in her wine! Around Greek, Rome and China pearls have been associated with romance and purity and for the longest time were only worn by the ruling classes.

A history of pearl jewellery

Since in the olden days pearls were only harvested (which was also a very dangerous process) and worn, so that they would fetch big sums at auctions. As pearls were worn to showcase their class and wealth, they were popular as earrings, necklaces and brooches, for both men and women.

Some evidence of pearls being worn come from medieval Europe where one can see them in paintings of the noble classes. Chokers were worn by women while men wore long necklaces made of pearl, embellished with various other gemstones like diamonds, rubies and emeralds.

In India, pearls have been mentioned often in the Vedas as talismans and charms, and even in Hindu mythology as being discovered by Lord Krishna.

The real revolution in pearl jewellery came about with the Nizams of Hyderabad, who sourced the best pearls from around the world to create their own unique designs in necklaces, brooches, rings and even in the crown. Till today, Hyderabad is the most famous city in India to buy pearls from.

Pearl With Diamond & Emerald Flower Shaped Studs Earrings

Cultivation of pearls

The first pearl to be cultivated was by Kokichi Mikimoto, in 1893 when he introduced irritants into an oyster shell to create a pearl. While this led to the advent of a new era in pearl jewellery, its value only increased around the world.

Celebrate classic vintage pearls in a simple necklace or string them in layers for an avant grade look. Whatever catches your fancy, we have it all here at Krishna Jewellers Pearls and Gems, situated in the heart of the City of Pearls.