Queen of Gems: Celebrate the lustre of pearls

string of pearls

Indian Bloggers

Pearls are indeed the queen of all gemstones as they are the purest, the simplest yet the most gorgeous of them all. Being a Cancerian, pearl is my birth stone but my love for it, is more than that! Every time my jewellery shopping spree ends up in buying those lovely dew-drops. They  quench my thirst for aesthetics and I love showing them off in almost every quality, color, shape and size.

Today, The Style Symphony presents all about pearls— a little of history, some knowledge, a bit of care & TLC and my proud personal collection.


History of Pearls !

No one will ever know who the earliest people to collect and wear pearls as jewellery were. Some gemologists believe that an ancient fish eating tribe, based along the coasts of India, initially discovered and appreciated the shape and pale lustre of the salt-water pearls which they found quite by chance by opening oyster for food.

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Genuine/Natural pearls (salt water) studded with diamonds in 18 K gold! (More than 50 years old pendant set)
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The exclusive and rare black Tahiti pearl attached with a platinum pendant!

Before the creation of cultured pearls in the early 1900s by Kokichi Mikimoto, natural pearls were so rare and expensive that only Maharajas and the very rich could afford them.

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Japanese pearls studded in 925 sterling silver bracelet !
AAA quality Japanese pearls yet to be designed!
AAA quality Japanese pearls yet to be designed!

Pearls & Cleopatra!

There are many ancient stories surrounding these gems. One of the most famous and well remembered is the wager between Cleopatra and Mark Antony. The Egyptian queen wanted to prove to the Roman that she could host the most expensive dinner in all history. She crushed one large pearl from a pair of earrings that she was wearing and dissolved it in a goblet of wine (or vinegar, it is not really known) and drank from it. Mark Antony, amazed by the ‘dinner menu’ declined to drink off the matching pearl, and conceded that the queen of Egypt had won the bet.

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My self designed set made with Japanese cultured and Hyderabadi fresh water variants!

The making of Pearls!

A genuine pearl is formed by nature and by chance, when a foreign object like a grain of sand gets trapped in an oyster or mussel. It soon gets coated with a smooth layer of a substance from within the oyster shell called nacre, an overtime, these layers of nacre produce a substantial opaque gem that is now called a pearl.

Best international designs are conceptualized with Japanese pearls!
Best international designs are being conceptualized with Japanese ones!

Almost all the pearls sold today are ‘cultured’, formed by deliberately inserting an irritant such as a sand particle, bits of shell or even tiny glass beads into the oyster tissue. The quality of these pearls varies widely.

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Pink is the color of bliss!

Set for beauty!

Cultured pearls are passed through brass sieves, graded from small to large and then classified by size. They are then sorted by color before they are finally valued. While valuing a pearl, its size, relative roundness, iridescence, color and freedom from blemish are all important criteria that are considered.

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AAA quality Japanese cultured ones!

Natural pearls that possess these qualities are extremely rare and valuable.

Natural pearls are best worn for their astrological value!
Natural pearls are best worn for their astrological value!
A rare Basra pearl studded with diamonds!
A rare Basra pearl studded with diamonds!

Today, cultured pearls— except premium brands like Mikimoto— are used as relatively inexpensive accessories to accompany more expensive gemstones in a setting. They are seen extensively in Indian jewellery.

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They bring out the beauty of Rubies and other gemstones!
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Ethnic designs accentuated with fresh water ones!
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They enhance the beauty of red garnets!

The Precious Precautions

  • Your strands of pearls should be kept in a soft chamois or flannel pouch rather than being stored  in plastic or polythene bags. The chemicals emitted by plastics are harmful to them.
  • Keep your pearls away from extreme temperatures, especially from sunlight. Sudden temperature changes might crack them.
  • Avoid cleaning them in soap or detergent. You can find special cleaners meant for them only or rather simply rinse them in clean cold water.
  • Pearls are born and derived from water. So, keeping them in constant contact with water makes them last longer. Dip them periodically in clean water for 2-3 hours and let them dry naturally.
  • Never string them in nylon thread. It could harm them in long run. Cotton thread is the best option.
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Chinese variants !
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Hyderabadi cultured bangles !
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They are always a designer’s delight!
Hyderabadi cultured pearls
Hyderabadi cultured ones !
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They are best for your office wear or daily wear jewellery.

Sangeeta Mishra

  • Great pearl collections!

  • Thank you so much Rupam. Glad that you liked it. 🙂

  • Thank you so much Indrani. Glad that you liked them. 🙂

  • Thank you so much Vinay. Glad that you liked the post. Some say it’s Persia, some claim them originated from ancient Greece, but I have read somewhere that they were discovered around the coasts of India. 🙂

  • My granny used to wear pearls. They reflect purity. I love to wear them too. Cleopatra’s anecdote is Interesting.

    • Thank you so much Sunaina. Even the natural pearl pendant set showed above belongs to my granny, and now part of my collection. Glad that you liked the post.. 🙂

  • Priyanka

    You have an amazing collection!

  • Nice to know so much more about those pretty cream beads. Thank you. 🙂
    Such pretty stuff in the pictures!

    • Thank you so much D. Glad that you liked the post and the collection. 🙂

  • I love pearls. I’ve pearl sets and I totally adore them. The most effective part is, pearls never make you look over-done. It always gives a classy, elegant look.
    Thanks for the added information on pearls.. 🙂

    • Thank you so much Maniparna. Truly said. Pearls are classy and understated, so give you a subtle look, and I’m sure you must be looking very beautiful in pearls. Glad that you liked the post. 🙂

  • Jyothi D’mello

    Loved the pearls studded bracelet. And thanks for the tips on how to take care of our precious pearls 🙂

    • Thank you so much Jyothi. Glad that you liked the post and the bracelet 🙂 <3

  • I totally adore pearls. Infact I have this lovely collection of pearl earings and I am wearing one as I write this. I wasn’t aware of the history though.

    • Thank you so much dear. Glad that you liked the post. 🙂

  • bushra

    Wow! Lovely collection, especially the 7th pic! <3 Lovely post dear.

    • Thank you so much Bushra. Glad that you liked the collection and the post. 🙂

  • A very good informative post on pearls and their history and great insights Sangeeta ji :)) TSS became the pearl Symphony today. There are many things to learn about pearls from this post. Thank you for sharing Sangeeta ji :))

    • Thank you so much Prasanna. Glad that you liked the post. 🙂 Means a lot. 🙂

  • for some reason I’ve never been fond of pearls… and yet I have numerous sets in various colours, with diamonds, rubies and emeralds… :-p

    • Lucky you ! I just drool over them, but it’s personal choice. 🙂

  • Lovely collection of pearl sets. I find these very elegant and classy.