History of Pearls
The Molluscs as a Food Source
The seafood and shellfish have not always been the ornaments of large tables and shelves. They were the common food of the people of the islands and coasts around the world. The shells or clusters of homes containing burned shells are proof, in the Caribbean and Peru, along the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts and islands of Asia and Oceania. Oysters, mussels, scallops, sea snails, clams, and much more: were part of the daily menu.
The Historic Neglect of the “Pearls”
What is most surprising is how so many cultures that lived in the sea prodigality have not shown any interest in the wonders that contained all these shells: Curious little gems, hard and often spherical: the pearls!
Contrary to what is often written, the pearl has not attracted immediate universal admiration. For example, for all the pre-Columbian civilizations, there are fewer jewels mounted with pearls known that fingers in one hand. However, the coasts of Mexico were rich in pearl oysters, among other particularly productive.
Were really the conquistadores to have discovered these benches oyster. In more ancient times, pearls were being ignored by the Egyptians, although the creators of amazing jewelry and constantly in search of rare and valuable materials (such as mother of pearl shells). Even all the peoples of the Pacific islands, whose waters were full of pearl oysters, neglected the fruits that these mollusks could offer them. The peoples of New Guinea, Indonesia, the Philippines, have initially shown the same disregard for the pearls.
The Role of Mother of Pearl in Past Cultures
On the other hand, what it was common to all these cultures that have shown a total disregard for the pearl, was their passion for all the products that the sea was able to offer them, in particular the mother of pearl. Indeed, the ornaments made from natural shells or work were innumerable and still are in our age.
Pearls of History in Egypt
We know that in ancient civilizations, long before recorded history, people adorned themselves with shells and beads made of shells. So it is not surprising that the first use of mother of pearl in jewelry has occurred in Egypt, about 5200 years ago. The pearl has long been used to make scrolls and beads. There are rare examples of pearls in paintings and statues of these eras of ancient Egypt, but, as previously said the same beads look like they were not common in these ancient dynasties.
History of Pearls in China
From China it appears that the first mention of the pearls in the historical texts, dates back to about 4,000 years ago. Specifically mentioned were pearls freshwater from the river HWAI and the province of Hau King; These have been described as “not quite round”, which turns out to be a rather common description of freshwater pearls ! Chinese history mentions freshwater pearls in connection with many other ponds and rivers in China. There are also mentions of sea pearls from cochin, China and Japan.
History of pearls in India
India has a long and glorious history of appreciation of the pearls. About 3,000 years ago, pearls were mentioned in the Rigveda, the oldest of the Vedas. About 2,500 years ago, the Athrved cites an amulet made of pearls and used as a talisman. The ancient epic, the ramayana, describes a necklace with 27 beads. Imagine the classic pearl necklace made with a diameter of 9 / 11mm quite spectacular! The god krishna himself, is also associated with pearls in important and famous stories.
Pearls History in Persia
Pearls in the Persian Gulf have been known for at least 2700 years, not through the ancient writings, but through sculptures and coins. The Gulf pearls were probably the oldest and the largest ever known. There was no other place in the world where the pearl oysters could grow better to generate pearls, this was due to the relatively warm, shallow waters of the Persian Gulf. Probably the oldest still existing real pearl necklaces come from Persia, from a tomb of a 2,400-year old Queen. Known as the susa necklace, with 3 of 72 pearls each file, held by spacer bars. This design is one of the oldest pearl necklace styles. The Susa necklace was exposed in the Persian Gallery of the Louvre, for over 100 years. In “Book Of The Pearl”, you can find a photo in black and white in this series.
Pearls History in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon, enters the record soon enough historical pearls, about 2550 years ago. Testimonials tell that one of the King of Ceylon sent to his father in India pearls as gifts. We must know that Ceylon was an important trading center for all of Asia.
History of Pearls in the Philippines
The Filipinos are described in Chinese records for selling pearls Philippine island of palowan, about 1400 years ago. Palowan still is the most important island in the pearl-area in the Philippines, and is the home of the famous divers of the badjao tribe.
History of pearls in Greece
The ancient Greeks and Persians were intimately involved in the theme of pearls from about 2500 years. The Persia represents a major source of pearls for Greece. Homer describes earrings Juno pearls:”Earrings three drops celebrated work, whence octopus Rai infinite grace”. A beautiful Greek pearl and gold necklace dating to about 2,300 years ago, was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of New York about 100 years ago. It is one of the oldest pieces known in the world and is still owned by the museum. Although it has lost much of its luster, it is still a beautiful piece.
History of Pearls in Rome
The Romans, probably acquired their taste for pearls by the Greeks. In Rome, their importance was such that laws were passed regarding the fact that only the noble classes could wear them, this yields a symbol of wealth and prestige. Statues of goddesses, especially Venus, wore only the best, the biggest and perfectly assorted beads. The pairs perfectly matched pearls were very popular and valuable individual.
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