The simplicity of the pearl symbolises elegance and sophistication, yet it is perhaps one of the most understated gemstones. It is the indeterminate nature of the pearl that sets it apart from its contemporaries, making it one of the leading gemstones throughout the ages.
Our love of pearls goes back to before 2000 BC, and their rarity has always been associated with wealth and royalty. Cleopatra is said to have dissolved a pearl in a glass of wine in order to win a wager. Once swallowed, it was considered proof that she could consume the wealth of a nation in a single meal!
A pearl is created within a mollusc such as the Pinctada fucata oyster or the Hyriopsis cumingi mussel. A decent sized pearl, about 10mm in diameter, will take several years to form.
The lustre of the finest pearls acts like a mirror to the viewer, similar to that of a ball of mercury. It is the build-up of exceptionally thin layers of nacre over years of formation that makes this possible.