At Stephanos, we are BIG fans of pearls. Pearl jewelry has been adorned and adored since as early as 2300 BC, and for us, it’s easy to see why. These rare, timeless gems are used in most of our handcrafted jewelry - in fact, we’d go so far as to call them our main muse, and we find pearls intriguing for reasons that extend far beyond their eye-catching beauty. In celebration of the precious pearl, we have rounded up five fascinating facts about them.
1. Pearls are the ONLY gems that originate from a living creature. They form when an irritant enters a clam, mussel or oyster. A fluid (known as nacre) then coats the irritant in many layers, until a pearl is eventually formed. We think it’s pretty special that pearls come from a living creature and are created naturally! Can you imagine cracking open an oyster you’ve found on the beach and discovering a perfect, shining pearl? The magic of pearls is absolutely indisputable, and we are always thrilled to harness that magic in our jewelry.
2. Noteworthy women have worn pearl jewelry for ages. Due to their rarity, and their classic elegance, countless iconic women have shown their love of pearls and pearl jewelry through the ages. The famous Lover’s Knot Tiara is festooned with pearls, and has been worn by the likes of Queen Mary, Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth and the Duchess of Cambridge herself (Kate Middleton). And speaking of royalty, all the aforementioned women in the royal family have routinely worn pearl necklaces. Celebrities who have professed their love for pearls by donning them include Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jackie O, Angelina Jolie, Michelle Obama, Rihanna and so many more! With so many trendsetting women choosing pearls in modern times, it's easy to see that pearl jewelry is no passing phase. Pearls will never go out of style!
3. Unlike most gems, pearls need no polishing, cutting or modifications before they are ready to use in jewelry. They’re just naturally perfect! That sheen? Natural. The gorgeous shape? Natural. The breathtaking beauty? You guessed it - natural! Nature gives pearls everything they need to shine on a jewelry piece, so they needn’t be altered before becoming a staple in your wardrobe.This doesn’t mean they can’t be altered or that they never are - there are certain pearl treatments that can enhance their beauty and protect them, but it’s amazing to know how beautiful and glorious they are all on their own, in their most natural state.
4. Jaques Cartier was one of the world’s most renowned jewellers, but did you know that he purchased the land for his iconic 5th avenue store in New York through a trade? Yes, it’s true, and can you guess what his part of the trade was? Cartier purchased the land for his very first store with a double stranded pearl necklace. If that doesn’t give you a taste of how precious and rare pearls really are, we don’t know what will!
5. At Stephanos, we only use authentic pearls, but imitation ones do exist. Fortunately, there is a surefire way to tell if you’ve got synthetic pearls on your hands. This is known as the tooth test and it involves rubbing the tooth (the front part, not the edge, as rubbing the edge of your tooth can scratch the pearl). An authentic pearl should feel gritty against your tooth, whereas a synthetic pearl will feel smooth.
We hope you find this little roundup about pearls as interesting as we do! We invite you to discover our beautiful range of pearl jewelry to experience the magic of pearls for yourself.
Some of our favorites include:
by Stephanos staff writer Stephanie Deline