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Pearls: From ancient times to modern luxury

akoya pearl earrings featuring a starfish stud earrings

Have you ever wondered how pearls became so popular in jewelry? It’s time for a little history lesson as we dive into the mystical world of pearls and how they became one of the most sought-after gemstones in the world.

freshwater pearl pendant featuring a seahorse design

Did you know that pearls are the result of a fascinating natural process? Mesmerizing, yet simple, you’d be amazed at how delicately these little lustrous gems are created. Pearls are formed inside mollusks, such as oysters and mussels, as a defense mechanism against irritants. When a foreign substance, like a grain of sand, enters the shell, it gets coated with layers of a substance called nacre. Over time, these layers build up, eventually forming a pearl!

pearl coral pendant in sterling silver

Natural pearls are quite rare, so cultured pearls are more commonly used for jewelry. This doesn’t mean they are of any less quality than natural pearls though! Cultured pearls are formed by putting a small bead into the mollusk’s shell to initiate the nacre-coating process. Pearls can take anywhere from six months to four years to develop, but the long wait is worth the result!

pearl coral pendant in sterling silver

It’s unclear when pearls were first used in jewelry. Many believe that we’ve been using them since before recorded history. Ancient persian princesses were mumified wearing their pearls and ancient greeks were known to carry the beauty of these iridescent pearls as well. Pearls have been adorning the necks of queens and goddesses since ancient times, but did you know they hold a special place in the heart of Hawaii?

sterling silver pendant featuring a freshwater pearl inside the infinity dolphin or three dolphin forming a circle

In Hawaiian culture, pearls symbolize the beautiful connection between land and sea, making them the ultimate island treasure. So go ahead and channel your inner ocean goddess and let these precious gems whisper sweet ocean secrets into your ear.

sea turtle pendant in sterling silver with a pearl hanging on the turtle

Did you know that pearls were once the most coveted gemstone for engagement rings? In Japan, pearls were immensely popular. The culturing process was invented in Japan so it’s no wonder that they became the go-to gemstone for many brides-to-be. Pearls are said to symbolize enlightenment, innocence, serenity, protection, and longevity. It’s safe to say that pearls are associated with all around good-luck.

sterling silver teardrop shaped pendant with pearl

Jewelers continue to incorporate these unique ocean gems into their designs today. Now that they come in many more colors and shapes, stores like Island by Koa Nani are able to create impactful pieces, each with their own unique meaning. So next time you admire a beautiful pearl necklace or earrings, remember the incredible journey these gems went through to become stunning pieces of jewelry we adore!

1 comment

Paula S.

All of your pearl jewelry is stunning!

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