The History of Pearls

With the launch of our new Family Gold Pearl Collection, we wanted to share the long history of pearls. 

Shop the look: Solid Gold Simple Pearl Chain BraceletSolid Gold Single Pearl Chain Bracelet in Pink and White, Solid Gold Delicate Pearl Chain Necklace, and Solid Gold Classic Pearl Necklace 

Pearls have been used in jewelry as early as 420 BC where fragments of pearl jewelry was discovered in a Persian princesses sarcophagus. Romans were also known for wearing pearls but only if the person was decreed of high birth. Pearl jewelry was a major status symbol in Ancient Rome, so much so that Julius Caesar passed a law prohibiting non-royals from wearing pearls.

Shop the look: Solid Gold Elegant Pearl Charm Huggies in Pink and White

During the 1st century B.C., famed Egyptian Queen Cleopatra hosted a dinner for Marc Antony. In her attempt to impress Antony, she crushed a large pearl from one of her earrings and dissolved it in a goblet of wine before drinking it. At the time, pearls were considered the pinnacle of luxury and wealth, and Antony was stunned by Cleopatra’s bold gesture (We recommend wearing our pearls and as they are not for consumption). 

Shop the look: Solid Gold Classic Pearl Necklace and Solid Gold Delicate Pearl Chain Necklace

The British Empire also thought pearls were exclusively reserved for royalty. The royals and other members of elite society - including Elizabeth I and Marie de’Medici - were practically drenched in pearls. Eventually, the demand for pearl jewelry became so overwhelming that oysters became over harvested. As a result of this increased demand and the reckless acquisition of natural pearls, pearl jewelry became difficult to manufacture.

Shop the look: Solid Gold Simple Pearl Chain Bracelet in Pink and White and Solid Gold Simple Pearl Chain Bracelet

In response to the pearl shortage, Kokichi Mikimoto created the world's first cultured pearl in 1893 by manually introducing an irritant into an oyster to stimulate it to form a pearl. The introduction of cultured pearls in the early 1900s turned the whole pearl industry on its head allowing pearls to be more easily accessible. 

Shop the look: Solid Gold Pearl and White Sapphire Drop Earrings

In the 1920s, pearl necklaces in the form of simple strands reflected the fashion for streamlined, unfussy designs."A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls," declared Coco Chanel, who was rarely seen without a pile of pearls casually worn around her neck. 

Shop the look: Solid Gold Delicate Pearl Chain Necklace

Pearls suddenly enjoyed a boom in the 1950's. This was due to celebrities such as Grace Kelley and Audrey Hepburn wear them regularly. These subtle gems were seen as perfectly chic for the daytime.  

Shop the look: Solid Gold Pearl Strand Hoops

This brings us to modern day where this gleaming stone has turned into a jewelry classic. Whether its a black pearl bracelet or a stunning pearl necklace, these stones are never going out of style! 

Check out our new Family Gold collection of pearl pieces here at Local Eclectic. 

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