This month, we’re paying tribute to pearls! The oldest known gem, pearls have been a favorite of brides past and present, and it’s not hard to see why pearl wedding jewelry is so lastingly fashionable. How lastingly? The oldest known pearl jewelry belonged to a Persian princess who died in 520 BC – a fragment was found in her sarcophagus – and the popularity of pearls peaked in Roman times when every classy lady just had to have them.
Pearls may be more accessible nowadays thanks to pearl farming, but they’re no less beautiful! Here are 5 cool facts about pearls for the bride who’s considering wearing this gem on the big day:
1. All mollusks can make pearls, but with varying degrees of skill. Oysters and mussels make the majority of saltwater and freshwater pearls, respectively. Conch can make pink pearls that look almost like quartz, and even clams can make pearls – though these are usually only half formed and misshapen when they occur naturally.
2. Pearls come in almost every color you can think of, though white and black are the two most common hues. Look hard enough (or have the money to spend), and you can find gold pearls, pearls in varying shades of green and blue, and silver pearls, too.
3. Unless you’re looking at vintage pearls, almost every pearl you encounter will be cultured because finding natural pearls is a time-consuming and sometimes dangerous endeavor. That means the pearls in your pearl wedding jewelry were created after a person seeded an oyster or mussel with a small piece of grit.
4. Pearl farming is known as periculture. The secret of seeding pearls was discovered independently by Kokichi Mikimoto, Tokichi Nishikawa, and Tatsuhei Mise. Prior to the introduction of culturing, pearls were quite rare and very expensive.
5. Two of the most famous and pearls in the world are known as La Peregrina and La Pelegrina. They aren’t the largest pearls in the world, but the former’s history spans a whopping 500 years, and the latter is more than 350 years old. Both have been owned and worn by royalty and the modern elite.
So when you wear pearl wedding jewelry (like our sweet freshwater pearl hair pins), you can bet you’re in good company!