Perhaps the most understated of all fine gemstones is the pearl, yet its simplicity embodies elegance and sophistication. Regarded as one of the prominent gemstones throughout the ages, the amorphous nature of pearls sets them apart from their contemporaries.
The formation of a pearl occurs within a mollusc such as the Pinctada fucata oyster or Hyriopsis cumingi mussel. It will take several years for these molluscs to create a pearl with a diameter of 10mm, considered a decent size.
The finest pearls can assimilate a ball of mercury, the lustre of which acts as if a mirror to the viewer. This is only possible by even build-up of extraordinarily thin layers of nacre over years of formation.
Mankind's love of pearls has been traced back to beyond 2000 BC, and throughout history the rarity of pearls has been assimilated with wealth and royalty. Cleopatra is said to have dissolved a single pearl in a glass of wine, simply to win a wager. Once consumed it was proof that she could consume the wealth of a nation in a single meal.