A Brief History of Pearls.
Long known as the ‘Queens of Gems’ real pearls were once the exclusive property of the rich and powerful. No one can say who ‘discovered’ pearls – probably they were first found by ancient peoples searching the shores for food.
The Romans and Egyptians prized pearls and used tem as decorative items as far back as the 5th Century BC. Chinese records mention them earlier still.
As Europe expanded into The New World pearl beds were discovered in the waters of Central & South America, pearls became increasingly popular at the royal courts of Europe. Some countries passed laws forbidding all but mobility to wear them. Thankfully today this is not so and we can all have the pleasure of wearing these illustrious elegant gems.
The principal oyster beds lay in the Persian Gulf, along the coasts of India and in the Red Sea. Chinese pearls came mostly from rivers and lakes whilst Japanese pearls were found in alternative waters. As the popularity of pearls came a price, by the 1800’s overfishing had depleted most of the American oyster population, Until the end of the 19th century, pearls were available only to the rich.
In the early 1900’s, a revolution in pearl production occurred. Kokichi Mikimoto son of a Japanese noodle maker, harnessed techniques for introducing an irritant into the oyster to stimulate the secretion of nacre which forms the pearl.
Kokichi Mikimoto, had a dream and a hard-working wife, Ume. Together they set about to do what no one else had done—entice oysters to produce round pearls on demand. Mikimoto did not know that government biologist Tokichi Nishikawa and carpenter Tatsuhei Mise had each independently discovered the secret of pearl culturing—inserting a piece of oyster epithelial membrane (the lip of mantle tissue) with a nucleus of shell or metal into an oyster’s body or mantle causes the tissue to form a pearl sack. That sack then secretes nacre to coat the nucleus, thus creating a pearl.
Today at Occasions Jewellers of Lincolnshire we pride ourselves that we offer a bespoke service we can make your pearl jewellery to your exacting desire, colour and specification, with either Fresh Water, Akoya, South Sea and Tahitian pearls, fittings and fastenings can be optional very simple in silver or gold, or elaborate in 9ct or 18ct gold set with or without diamonds the choice would be yours.
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Tel: 01775 713068
We offer an engraving service for that personal touch.
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