The Pearl is known as the oldest gem in the world. Since there are no written records, we do not know the man who was behind the discovery of pearls. However, it is believed, that when a group of guys were searching for food beside the shore, they came across this jewelry. We can find the mention of pears in the history of many ancient civilizations:
1. China: The first mention of pearls in Chinese history dates back to 2300 BC. In ancient China, pearls were considered as a very luxurious gift. They were usually gifted to the kings and other members of the ruling party. They were found in the shores of the river Hwai.
2. India: We also find the mention of pearls in Indian history. According to the Hindu Mythology, their main God Krishna discovered the first pearl. It is also mentioned in their famous religious book named Ramayana. In Ramayana, there is a mention of a necklace which was made with 27 precious and rare pearls.
3. Roman Empire: According to the Roman people, pearl symbolized the status of a person and they believed that only the ruling class deserved to wear them They even prohibited the common people from wearing pearls.
4. Egypt: Egyptians had a different view about pearls. They believed that the outer shell was more valuable than the pearl. They used those for decorating their homes and also for making different kinds of jewelries. They finally realized the true value of the pearl in the beginning of the 5th century.
5. Greece and Persia; Thanks to the Persian Gulf, there was an abundance of pearls in these region. Throughout the Persian History, you will find lots of references of pearls. According to them, pearl doesn’t represent status, but they were a symbol of love. They were mainly used in the weddings.
Finding Pearls before 20th Century: Generally most gems and stones can be directly mined from the surface of the Earth. But pearls are an exception. They are produced only by a living organism. When a parasite accidentally gets stuck inside the body of an oyster, a crystal like substance is formed which is known as pearl. Before the 20th century, collecting pearls was very difficult. Divers had to go deep down inside the water in order to spot the pearls. But the probability of finding a pearl was very less. Out of hundreds of oysters, only one or two of them had a pearl inside.
Pearl Market after 20th Century: The first artificial pearl was created by Kokichi Mikimoto. He manually inserted a parasite inside the inner body of an oyster, so that a pearl develops. After this, the value of pearls gradually started to decline in the beginning of the 20th century. Many people complained that Kokichi’s pearls were fake. But after scientific tests, it was found that they had the exact same chemical properties as the ones found in the surface of the sea. By the year 1940, Japan started producing millions of pearls. Even today, you will find many museums having some of the best pearls made by Kokichi. Currently, pearls are not as rare as they used to be and many people can afford it.
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