For thousands of years, people have been wearing pearls. It was during the Roman times that its popularity reached its peak. It was during these times that privileged women were adorned richly with pearls, which have long been known as the “Queen of Gems.” These real pearls once were the exclusive property of the powerful and the rich. It is not for certain who discovered pearls, but these were initially found by people from ancient times who were searching for food by the shores.
It was in the 1700s when diamonds were discovered at the same time the demand for pearls went down. Because diamonds were considerably more affordable than pearls, the demand for these, sky rocketed. When pearls tried to get back on the market, it lost some of its appeal because of poor quality and imitations. This led to the global decline of pearl consumption. However, pearls regained ground during the late 1700s when new sources for pearls were found.
It was only in the 1900s when three Japanese - Tatsuhei Mise, Kokichi Mikimoto, and Tokichi Nishikawa - individually discovered the mystery to pearl culturing. Mikimoto eventually bought the rights of the other two men and created his own business of cultured pearls, which we know now today as the premier brand name for Japanese Saltwater cultured Akoya pearls.
Before cultured pearls came into being, natural pearls were expensive and rare. These were only made available to the well-connected, the rich and Royalty. But with the availability of cultured pearls in the early 1900s, pearl prices went down considerably, with the inception of several types of pearls offering more inexpensive pearl jewellery like a natural pearl necklace.
Several women names pertain to pearls like Margarita or Margaret. Names like Rita, Peggy, Gretal, Marjorie, Gretchen, Margot, or Maggie could also pearl and imply sweetness, purity, humility and innocence.
The world’s most famous pearls are the La Peregrina (to mean the incomparable) was discovered in the Americas. These pearls were said to have been owned by Napoleon III, Philip II of Spain and Mary Tudor of England. Last known owner of the La Peregrina was said to be Elizabeth Taylor.