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Explore Famous Pearls Throughout History

 Pearls have a very long and rich history that dates back to Ancient Egypt. Throughout history, people from every part of the world have started wearing them and continue to do so. 

What makes them so special is the fact that they are the only jewelry pieces that originate from living creatures. They are formed when an irritant enters a marine oyster or freshwater mussel. Then, they create a crystalline substance called nacre, which builds up in layers surrounding the irritant until the pearl is formed. 

However, these pearls are very rare because only 1% of wild oysters produce pearls that have the right size, shape, and color to meet the standards of the jewelry industry. This makes pearls unique and popular, so having the option to choose between different pearl types is great.

Nowadays, many historic pearl pieces are still famous, and choosing a favorite one is difficult. So, regardless of whether you choose to purchase Tahitian black pearls, Freshwater pearls, or Akoya pearls and come across the never-ending Hanadama pearls vs. Mikimoto pearls comparisons, it is clear that there are a lot of options with incredible history behind them. 

This is what makes pearls timeless pieces of jewelry. So, if pearls are your favorite jewelry pieces, here are several historical facts about four very popular types of pearls. 

La Peregrina Pearl

La Peregrina, or the Incomparable, is one of the most famous pearls to have ever existed. It has a long and rich history, filled with mystery. La Peregrina has the shape of a pear, the size of a small egg, and a weight of 56 carats. It was found in Panama around the 1500s, and later on, it belonged to Queen Mary after her husband, King Phillip II of Spain, gifted it to her. 

One of the things that makes this pearl so special is that after Queen Mary died, the pearl was in the possession of several other queens in France and Austria. Most recently, it was owned by Elizabeth Taylor, who wore it devotedly. After her death, it was sold to a British auction house for nearly $11 million and is now in private ownership.

Image source: USA Today

The Pearl of Allah

The Pearl of Allah, also known as the Pearl of Lao Tzu, is claimed to be the largest natural pearl in existence. It was found in the Philippines, and its name was given due to its odd shape, which resembles a turbaned and bearded man. In fact, the people who found it were Muslims, so they believed it to be a representation of the Holy Prophet Muhammad himself. 

It has a pure, lustrous white color, weighs more than 14 pounds, and has a length of 10 inches, which makes it one of the biggest sea creations ever. The pearl is extremely uncommon and is very often claimed to be the world’s ugliest. It has been said to be 600 years old, but it has never been proven definitively. 

The Abernethy Pearl

The Abernethy Pearl, known as the perfect freshwater pearl, was found in Scotland’s River Tay in 1967. It got its name after the diver who found it, Bill Abernethy. What makes this pearl special is that it needs clear water to form; however, after the Industrial Revolution, the River Tay became very polluted, and still, this pearl was created. 

The pearl originates from a mussel that belongs to the species Margaritifera, and it has a round shape with a white color and a light pink overtone. It was displayed in a jewelry store in Cairncross for almost 30 years, up until 1992, when it was sold. 

Image source: The Denver Post

The Hope Pearl

This is known as the largest saltwater baroque pearl to have ever existed. The Hope pearl is a unique specimen with an irregular pear shape, a length of 2 inches, and a weight of 450 carats. Its colors range from greenish gold at the bottom to pure white at the top. 

It was discovered by Henry Phillip Hope, who was a gem and jewelry collector, and during one of his quests, he found this baroque pearl that got its name after its founder. Currently, the pearl is part of the collection of the British Museum of Natural History.

Final thoughts

Pearls are the perfect result of the power of Mother Nature and the enigmatic beauty of the natural world. Since their discovery in ancient times, people have been wearing pearls to showcase their power and class. This was possible due to the pearls’ captivating glow and unique luster. Many famous pearls have stood the test of time, and they can be seen today and recognized as timeless accessories in the form of necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings.

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