The Significance of Pearls: History & Symbolism

Pearls are the world’s oldest gem. They transcend cultures and centuries and are still as beloved now as they were thousands of years ago. Pearls are very unique gemstones, because they occur in the sea as opposed to the earth. They are naturally beautiful, and require no polishing to maximise their lustre.

A Brief History of Pearls

Pearls have a very rich history that dates back thousands of years. The first written record of a pearl dates back to a Chinese historian from 2,206 BCE. The oldest piece of pearl jewellery that has actually been discovered was found in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess that dates back to 420 BC (this fragment is now on display at the Louvre in Paris). Pearls can also be dated back to Ancient Egypt and Ancient Rome – in the 1st Century BCE, Julius Caesar created a law that limited the wearing of pearls to the ruling classes.

Since their discovery, pearls have been an important trade commodity. When they were discovered in Central and South America in the 15th and 16th century, demand quickly escalated throughout Western Europe (leading to what is referred to as the ‘pearl age’), where nobles and royals often wore elaborate pearl necklaces, earrings, pearl bracelets and brooches. By the 19th century, demand for pearl jewellery was so high that oyster supplies began to diminish worldwide. Even today, natural pearls are very rare. Cultured pearls on the other hand, which became popular in the 1900s, are a more affordable and available option.

The Significance of Pearls

Throughout the centuries, pearls have been associated with wealth, femininity, purity, wisdom, patience and peace. Due to their appearance, they have often been compared to the moon, and are said to have a calming, protective and strengthening effect on the wearer. These days, pearls are still regarded as a beautiful and feminine gemstone.

Pearl Jewellery

The Significance of Pearls History Symbolism-blog

Pearl jewellery is considered to be classic, elegant and timeless. At Argyle Jewellers, we have one of largest collections of South Sea, Akoya and Tahitian pearls Brisbane has to offer, as well as an extensive range of cultured freshwater pearls. If you are looking for jewellery that emanates a sense of timelessness and grace, pearl jewellery is the perfect choice.  Pearls are also the birthstone of June and the gemstone for the 3rd and 30th wedding anniversaries!

Come visit us at Garden City and see our beautiful pearls!


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