A Brief History of Pearls used in Jewellery - KORYANGS

A Brief History of Pearls used in Jewellery

Yeona Gold Clasp Pearl Necklace

Necklace: Yeona Pearl Necklace


Myeong ok pearl necklace- KORYANGS  Myeong Ok pearl necklace KORYANGS
Myeong-Ok Pearl Necklace by KORYANGS


Pearls... Known as the Queen of Gemstones, they have a rich history dating back thousands of years. Pearls have captivated civilizations throughout centuries and continue to be highly sought in the jewellery industry due to their unique beauty.

Ancient Origins:

The allure of pearls dates back to ancient times and are one of the world's oldest gemstones. The earliest evidence of pearl jewellery dates back more than 5,000 years to ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq).

Symbolism and Rarity:

Pearls have long been associated with wealth, power, and prestige. In many ancient cultures, they were regarded as symbols of purity, wisdom, and divinity. The Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians prized pearls and considered them symbols of wealth and royalty. The rarity of pearls, combined with their lustrous beauty, made them highly coveted and valuable.

pearl necklace on satin sheet background

Natural vs. Cultured Pearls:

Historically, pearls were exclusively obtained from oysters and other mollusks found in rivers, seas, and oceans. Natural pearls were formed when an irritant, such as a grain of sand, entered the shell of a mollusc. In response, the mollusc secretes layers of aragonite and conchiolin to coat the irritant and form a pearl. However, natural pearls were incredibly rare and difficult to find. This scarcity led to the development of cultured pearls in the early 20th century. Kokichi Mikimoto, a Japanese entrepreneur, successfully created the first cultured pearls by introducing irritants into oysters and carefully controlling the pearl-growing process.

Pearl in mollusc shell background 

Types of Pearls:

Pearls come in various types, shapes, sizes, and colours, which contributes to their popularity in jewellery. The most common types include:

  • Akoya Pearls: These pearls are typically white or cream-colored and are known for their high lustre. They are traditionally sourced from Japan.
  • Freshwater Pearls: Cultivated in freshwater mussels, these pearls come in a wide range of colours and shapes. They are more abundant and affordable compared to other types.
  • South Sea Pearls: These are among the largest and most valuable pearls. They are produced by Pinctada maxima oysters in the waters of Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. They come in shades of white, silver, and gold.
  • Tahitian Pearls: Cultivated in the black-lipped oysters of French Polynesia, these pearls are renowned for their unique dark colours, including black, gray, blue, and green.


pink pearls among sand and shells background

Pearls require special care because they are sensitive to chemicals and harsh environmental conditions. Simply wipe them with a soft cloth to clean them. Do not use ultrasonic cleaners, liquid soap or other chemical products unless it is specifically designed for that purpose. Similar to your skin, cultured pearls contain water and may dehydrate and crack if exposed to continuously dry conditions. Avoid storing pearls in airtight places, they will benefit from the moisture in the air.

In a nutshell, to care for your cultured pearls, wear them often and keep them away from perfumes, hairspray, abrasives, solvents, and nail polish removers.

Timeless, elegant, and versatile, pearls are often associated with sophistication, femininity, and luxury. They have remained essential in jewellery designs, ranging from classic to innovative and contemporary styles.

Why not check out our range of pearls? To find out more, click here.


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