THE HISTORY OF PEARLS
The pearl is officially the world’s oldest gem. They have been revered long before written history began. There are many tales attributed to the origin of pearls, but it is believed that they were first discovered by people searching for food along the seashore.
The oldest discovered pearl fragment was found in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess that dated back to 420BC. This same pearl fragment is on display at the Louvre in Paris.
In ancient Rome, pearls were the ultimate status symbol. They were so precious and revered, that Julius Caesar passed a law limiting the wearing of pearls only to the ruling class.
NATURE'S GIFT: THE NATURAL FORMATION OF PEARLS
Pearls are unlike gemstones excavated from the Earth. They are formed from a living organism. Pearls are formed inside the shell of certain mollusks as a defense mechanism against a potentially threatening irritant. The mollusk creates a pearl sac to seal off the irritation. The iridescence of the pearl is caused by the overlapping of successive layers, which breaks up light falling on the surface of the mollusk. These pearls they form are delicate and are almost primarily made of calcium carbonate, which makes it especially important to properly care for them.
One of the most important things to consider when learning about pearl grading, is that it is difficult to compare grades and grading systems from various companies.
Unlike diamond grading, there is no standardized grading system for pearls. Every company grades and sells their pearls in their own system that they have devised themselves, which makes each system subjective and unique. This lack of standardization is unfortunate, and makes the shopping experience for consumers that much more difficult. At Pearl & Coral, we retail AA-AAAA grade pearls, but also have lower graded pearls that are often used in fashion jewelry or donated towards local educational programs.
MORE THAN CORALS & PEARLS
We're Hawaii's choice for pearls and coral, however, we're also the top choice for other materials and feature more than 12,000 designs.