Helpful Stuff

A bit about the Pearls

Unlike gemstones produced deep inside the Earth, pearls are created by living creatures called mollusks. Virtually all pearls today are cultured or cultivated. Harvesting pearls from mollusks does not kill the creatures, as they can be re-implanted and used to make more pearls. In 1912, the American National Association of Jewelers adopted pearl as the birthstone of June.

The most valuable pearls occur spontaneously in the wild, but they are extremely rare. These wild pearls are referred to as natural pearls. Cultured or farmed pearls from pearl oysters and freshwater mussels make up the majority of those that are currently sold. Imitation pearls are also widely sold in inexpensive jewelry, but the quality of their iridescence is usually very poor, and often, artificial pearls are easily distinguished from genuine pearls. Pearls have been harvested and cultivated primarily for use in jewelry, but in the past they were also stitched onto lavish clothing. Pearls have also been crushed and used in cosmetics, medicines, and in paint formulations.

PEARL symbolizes purity, innocence, sweetness, loyalty and faithfulness

single pearl in a shell

Before the creation of cultured pearls in the early 1900s, natural pearls were so rare and expensive that they were reserved almost exclusively for the noble and very rich. A jewelry item that today’s working women might take for granted, a 16-inch strand of perhaps 50 pearls, often costs between $500 and $5,000. At the height of the Roman Empire, when pearl fever reached its peak, the historian Suetonius wrote that the Roman general Vitellius financed an entire military campaign by selling just one of his mother’s pearl earrings. Pearls found favor with Julius Caesar, and it is said Cleopatra dissolved a pearl in wine and drank it to prove her love to Marc Antony.

The origin of the name Pearl is derived from the Latin word “pirum” which means “pear” reflecting the shape of the gem. It symbolizes purity, innocence, sweetness, loyalty and faithfulness. The names such as Margarita, Margaret, Peggy, Marjorie, Margot, Maggie, Gretchen, Gretal and Rita also mean ‘pearl’.


The longest single-strand pearl necklace measured 222 m (728 ft 4 in) and was created by Shimashi Kanko Kyokai (Japan) at the 60th Pearl Festa in Kashikojima, Shima, Mie, Japan, on 22 October 2010. 27,750 pearls were used. It took more than three months to complete the necklace.

Pearl is ranked 2.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, which means it’s very soft and easily scratched or abraded. But with reasonable care, pearl jewelry can be a lasting treasure.


Pearls should never be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.

It’s safe to use warm, soapy water for occasional, thorough cleaning.
If the pearls are strung, be sure the string is completely dry before wearing.

For routine care, it’s best to wipe cultured pearls with a very soft, clean cloth after each wearing.