Pearls have enchanted humans for thousands of years, serving as symbols of wealth, status and belief.
The ancient Egyptian aristocracy revered them. Cleopatra wouldn’t leave the house without them. And European nobility always had a special affection for them. Until the early 1900s, however, only naturally occurring pearls were available. They were rare and extremely expensive – the exclusive property of the rich.
Then, the Japanese discovered how to cultivate pearls and significantly increase their production, and these timeless symbols of virtue, love, purity and wisdom became available to the rest of us. After a handful of designers, including Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, embraced pearls in the 1950s, the gems became omnipresent symbols of glamour. Today, the majority of pearls are freshwater or saltwater cultured pearls.