Since ancient times, the pearl has been a symbol of flawless perfection purity, and natural beauty. It is the oldest known gem and for centuries was considered the most valuable. The Latin word for pearl literally means “unique”, since no two pearls are identical.
Pearls have been treasured for centuries by cultures, ancient and modern, around the world and have become important symbols of wealth, status and religious belief. Greek mythology proclaimed pearls to be tears of joy shed by the goddess Aphrodite. Ancient Egyptians associated pearls with Isis, the goddess of healing and life. The Romans and Egyptians prized pearls and used them as decorative items as far back as the 5th Century BC. Chinese records mention them earlier still. Cleopatra is said to have crushed a pearl into a glass of wine to prove to Mark Antony that she could give the most expensive dinner in history. According to some historians one of the reasons Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55 B.C. was to obtain freshwater pearls. Almost all other gemstones are formed by mineral deposits that must be mined, cut, and polished to reveal their sparkling beauty. Pearls are the only gemstone which is grown inside of a living organism.
A natural pearl begins its life as a foreign object that accidentally lodges itself in an oyster’s soft inner body where it cannot be removed. The oyster’s body takes preventive measures to “attack” the irritant and begins to secrete a smooth, hard crystalline substance around it in order to protect itself. This substance is called “nacre.” As long as the irritant remains within its body the oyster will continue to accumulate nacre around it – layer upon layer, resulting in a lustrous gem called a pearl. Natural pearls are extremely rare and valuable. Most pearls today are cultured. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japanese researchers discovered a method of producing pearls artificially.
Cultured pearls are formed in the same way in a process called nucleation requiring human intervention and care. This surgical procedure is performed by highly skilled technicians who carefully open live pearl oysters. An incision is made in the oyster’s body and a tiny piece of “mantle tissue”, referred to as the nucleus, from another oyster is placed within the original oyster, into safe location. The cells from the mantle tissue develop around the nucleus forming a sack, which closes and starts to secrete nacre. The nucleated oysters are returned to the sea or special pearl ‘farms’ where, they feed and grow, depositing layer after layer of lustrous nacre around the nuclei implanted within them until they are harvested.
A Guide To
Types Of Pearls
Pearls have long been linked with true love, purity, the moon, angels and perfection. Historically worn only by royalty and the nobility, pearls today can be found in a kaleidoscope of colors, shapes and sizes to suit the fancy of every woman.
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South Sea pearls are among the largest commercially harvested cultured pearls in the world.
If the pearl develops in a misshapen way – it is referred to as a baroque pearl. This means it is not perfectly round.
Tahitian cultured pearls are cultivated from the huge black- pinctada maxima oyster and produce very large pearls.
The Akoya is the most classic looking pearl, commonly seen in pearl strands and in earrings.
Keshi means tiny in Japanese. They are smaller in size and come in a wide variety of shapes and colors and tend to have high luster.
Fresh water pearls are harvested in mussels that live in lakes and rivers and are usually much smaller than South Sea pearls.
Are especially lightweight and hollow, formed when a piece of sun-dried mud is inserted into an oyster and later removed.
Each and every Yvel pearl is examined and assessed by our experts.
Only the highest quality and most beautiful pearls are selected to become part of an Yvel creation.