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Pearls A Brief History


Throughout history pearls have always been owned and adored by historical figures,including Queen Elizabeth the first, Mary Tudor, Mary Queen Of Scots and even King Charles the first.

But also in later times we had iconic Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn both the epitome of glamour and exuded a style of their own who were also known for their love of pearl jewellery, along with Elizabeth Taylor Jacqui Kennedy and of course Diana the Princess of Wales.

Pearl necklaces,bracelets and earrings have always been the choice for a bride on her all important wedding day but pearls have a long history spanning the centuries.

Queen Elizabeth the First possessed pearl jewellery which came from Mary Tudor and from other various Crown Jewels.The Hanoverian necklace of pearls which she owned were very long and consisted of six full rows plus a few loose pearls.Some of which were said to be as large as nutmegs!. The wondertul La Peregina pearl once owned by Mary Tudor was part of the Spanish crown jewels and after many subsequent owners was purchased by Richard Burton for his then wife Elizabeth Taylor and was the size of a pigeons egg.This pearl was set into a necklace made by Cartier for her in 1969.

At certain periods in history men also favoured pearls and King Charles the first wore  a very large teardrop shaped pearl earring (“ear picke”) constantly throughout his life and even to his own demise at the executioners block.

The Louvre museum in Paris exhibits what is said to be the oldest pearl necklace from Syria said to be over two thousand years old.Different types of pearls have been used in jewellery design over the years to incorporate their shape.Baroque pearls known for their irregularity featured in many Art Nouveau pieces of jewellery ,sometimes as a drop at the end of a necklace or a brooch and the torso of the  Canning jewel, one of the most famous items of Renaissance jewellery used a large baroque pearl for its subject Titon Of The Sea.

Mussel pearls were a  popular choice for necklaces but are now very rare due to a number of factors mainly pollution and are now found in only a few of the Scottish rivers.Seed pearls were a particular favourite of the Georgians,threaded onto silk, with a backing of horsehair and intrictae openwork designs.But these pieces deteriorate badly over time and are nearly impossible to repair.Freshwater pearls in all shapes colours andsizes are easily available now at pretty  good prices coming mainly from China.

The brand name Mikimoto is synonymous with pearls of quality. The company managed to corner the market with their success in cultured pearls and wiped out many other pearl jewellery companies around at that time.These pearls are very expensive and it is very difficult to tell them apart from the genuine article. Marilyn Monroe received a necklace of these pearls from her husband Joe Di Maggio showing the popularity of these pearls with the rich and famous.

The largest pearl ever found on record. was recovered in 1934 off the coast of the Phillipines weighing approximately FOURTEEN POUNDS.It has been valued in excess of forty million dolars.The diver who found this marvel anmed it The Pearl Of Allah due to its shape and image of a turbanned face.

Finally faux pearls which are used in many pieces of jewellery must receive a mention.If your budget is small you can still find a super fake pearl necklace,bracelet or earrings at a more than reasonable price. Is it easy to tell real pearls from fake? Not always-but real pearls have a grainy feel on the teeth whereas faux are smooth.The sheen and lustre of real pearls can be copied but under an eyeglass you can tell the difference and real pearls are usually heavier in weight.


1.Do not spray deoderant, hairspray or perfume whilst wearing your pearls.

2.Never clean pearls with a detergent or an ultrasonic cleaner

3.If pearls If they are grubby use a damp cotton bud and wipe with a soft cloth afterwards.Check the silkthread on a regular basis especially the knots for stretching and wear.Have them restrung peridically

6.Keep them in a jewellery box seperated from other items and preferably in a soft bag.

LASTLY wear them to keep them looking ghood as the oils from your body keep the lustre a good colour