Admittedly, when a young and in-love couple enters a jewellery shop (especially a jewellery shop selling antique diamonds, glittering sapphires, and other sparkly pebbles), they don’t usually rush over to the pearl selection, but the women of today are finding new ways to fall in love with the lustrous beauty of pearls, a less common, more “vintage” gem that is seeing a resurgence in popularity.
In the world of birthstones, pearl is joined by moonstone and alexandrite as the traditional stone of June, and it is associated with the star signs Gemini and Cancer. It is also alleged to have mystical medicinal uses, including as a treatment for insanity!
Technically speaking, pearls are not stones at all, but rather an organic build-up of minerals which occur in the shells of certain species of molluscs. They have adorned the world’s wealthiest and most beautiful necks for centuries, and were once even considered to be as precious as diamonds. Because of their organic, free-form nature, no two pearls are exactly alike in size, shape or colour.
The finest natural pearls come from islands in the Pacific, the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Mexico and Sri Lanka, while Japan is known for its cultured (farm-grown) pearls. The colour of the pearl depends on the species of mollusc by which it was produced as well as the environment in which it lived.
Legend & Myth
In ancient Greece, pearls were thought to be the tears of joy of the goddess Aphrodite. Similarly, even until modern times, pearls have a reputation as the “Queen of gems, and the gem of Queens” – even Cleopatra herself is rumoured to have dissolved a huge pearl in a glass of vinegar and consumed it as a sign of her wealth.
Shopping for Pearls
If you find a jeweller that specialises in selling antique jewellery, they are likely to have a good selection of pearls. Many people love the charm of roughly shaped pearls, but the really valuable specimens are perfectly round and evenly coloured, so these are the characteristics you should look for in precious heirloom pieces.
If you’ve got some exquisite pearls that you’re looking to sell, bring them into Liquid Fin. We buy all kinds of gems and jewels, so if you’re thinking of selling antique diamonds or any of your old jewellery, give us a call!
Main image: kieljamespatrick