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20 Antique White Salt Water Pearl 14kt GF Earrings #44447

Cost: $ 69.99


Twenty White Salt-Water Pearls on 14kt Gold Fill French Hooks.

Each pearl averages about 1/2 carat, and between 4 and 5 millimeters in diameter.

DETAIL:
The ancient Hindus believed that pearls were dewdrops that fell at night into the sea and collected in oysters. The pearl (“mukta” in Sanskrit” was associated with many Hindu deities, the most famous being the Koustubha which Lord Vishnu wore on his chest. According to the accounts of Marco Polo, the kings of Malabar (near present-day Calicut, Kerala, India) wore a necklace of 108 rubies and 108 precious pearls which was given from one generation of kings to the next. Written accounts of pearl jewelry exist both in third millennium B.C. Indian and Chinese texts. As early as the Han Dynasty (200 B.C.) the ancient Chinese hunted extensively for seawater pearls in the South China Sea. Ancient Chinese written accounts tell that pearls fell from the skies when dragons above fight (the pearls droplets of dragon saliva).

Here's a pair of very cute earrings we produced using beautiful, iridescent, sumptuous, natural, solid white salt-water pearls. They are not cultured pearls, not imitation pearls, they are genuine saltwater white pearls. Twenty sumptuous genuine natural white salt water pearls set onto high quality 14kt <A href="http://www.csu-saaa.org/auxiliary/GoldFill.html">gold fill</A> French hooks. This is first-quality jewelry designed to last years and years, not cheap costume jewelry. Please do not confuse these pearls with cheap, plastic-center, thinly coated cultured freshwater pearl imitations. The vast majority of the pearls one sees on the market these days are just that - cultured pearls (oftentimes freshwater) with a few thin layers of pearl atop an artificial core. These gorgeous white pearls are solid, natural saltwater pearls, possessing a highly polished, reflective, lustrous, creamy white surface with iridescent mother-of-pearl highlights.

The pearls are natural, so are not perfectly round. Perfectly round pearls are not common in nature - they are generally induced by man, i.e., cultured pearls which consist of a few layers of pearl over a manmade center. Though the pearls are more or less round, they are not perfectly spherical. They are known in the industry as "button" pearls, which means that their diameter is greater than their thickness - like an onion or mandarin orange. They average between three and three and one-half millimeters in diameter; and between one and one and one-half millimeters in thickness. Each pearls weighs approximately one-quarter carat - the total gemstone weight of the two earrings being about five carats. Those caveats in mind, these are very nice, hard to find gemstones. If you prefer settings other than gold filled french hooks; we can remount them onto solid 14kt gold or sterling silver; or onto kidney wires, ball-stud dangles, leverbacks, or euro-clicks - or even clip-ons. Originally produced in the 1920's, then added to our collection in the 1930's, genuine solid salt water pearls like these can be very costly these days, difficult to obtain in a world of cultured and artificial pearls.

PEARL HISTORY: The pearl is likely the first gemstone known to prehistoric man. A fragment of the oldest known pearl jewelry, found in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess who died in 520 B.C., is displayed in the Louvre in Paris. Pearl necklaces have also been found by archaeologists within the sarcophagus of ancient Egyptian mummies. In the ancient world, natural salt-water pearls were principally harvested from the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Manaar (Indian Ocean), and the Red Sea. Man has adorned him(her)self with pearls for at least 6,000 years. In the ancient gemstone markets of Babylon, 5,000 years ago, pearls were prized possessions believed to restore youth. Written accounts of pearl jewelry exist both in third millennium B.C. Indian and Chinese texts. The ultimate origin of pearls in the ancient world was the source of many competing myths and legends. Ancient Chinese written accounts tell that pearls fell from the skies when dragons above fight (the pearls droplets of dragon saliva). Alternate ancient Chinese legends stated that pearls were found in the brains of dragons. As early as the Han Dynasty (200 B.C.) the ancient Chinese hunted extensively for seawater pearls in the South China Sea.

The ancient Hindus believed that pearls were dewdrops that fell at night into the sea and collected in oysters. The pearl (“mukta” in Sanskrit) was associated with many Hindu deities, the most famous being the Koustubha which Lord Vishnu wore on his chest. According to the accounts of Marco Polo, the kings of Malabar (near present-day Calicut, Kerala, India) wore a necklace of 108 rubies and 108 precious pearls which was given from one generation of kings to the next. The spherical shape of some pearls also led many ancient cultures to associate this gem with the moon. To the Ancient Persians, pearls symbolized the moon and its magical powers, the moon instilling pearls with its celestial glow and mystery. In some Muslim legends, the pearl is God's first act of creation. Many ancient Mediterranean cultures believed pearls were formed when an angel's tears fell into the open oyster shell, or alternatively were the tears of gods. However according to one ancient Greek legend, pearls were formed by lightning striking the ocean. Another ancient Greek legend posited that pearls were dew from the moon collected by oysters that opened their shells as they floated on the sea at night.

Even the Bible referred to the high value of pearls when Christ said, "the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant searching for beautiful pearls, who, finding one of great cost, sells all his possessions to buy it.” Also according to biblical accounts, the twelve gates of the (post-apocalyptic) New Jerusalem are each made of a single pearl (the “pearly gates” of heaven). "And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every gate was of one pearl, and the streets of the city were pure gold, as if transparent glass." Likewise in Islamic Scripture, the Koran specifies that the rewards of paradise include pearls. “God will admit those who believe and work righteous deeds, to gardens beneath which rivers flow. They shall be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and pearls; and their garments there will be of silk.” The Greeks thought that pearls held the essence of love and beauty. A pair of pearl earrings owned by Cleopatra were estimated by the ancient Roman Historian Pliny to have a value of about 60 million sesterces (equivalent to 10,000 pounds of gold, $40 million in today’s value). Who can forget the tale of Cleopatra dissolving one of these two pearls in the presence of Marc Antony, so she could “taste” the essence of pearl.

Throughout ancient Rome and into medieval Europe, pearls always decorated crowns and robes of kings and queens. In fact, all of Rome and the entire Roman Mediterranean were “pearl crazy”. According to the first century historian and naturalist “Pliny the Elder” (who wrote that pearls were created from the morning dew), the craze started when a portrait of Pompey the Great was rendered in pearls to mark the occasion of his third triumph (celebratory parade) over the defeat of Mithridates, King of Pontus (present day Turkey on the Black Sea). As well, amongst the spoils of the war displayed during the parade were numerous pearls set in crowns and other jewelry. In the following fashion frenzy, the women of Rome preferred to wear two or three pearls dangling from their ears, so they would rattle as they moved, attracting attention to the fact that they were wearing pearls. Roman matrons had pearls woven into their garments, and even used pearls to decorate their couches. The third wife of the Roman Emperor Caligula reportedly owned pearl jewelry with a value of 40 million sesterces ($25 million in today’s dollars). In fact it was rumored within Rome itself that the real purpose of Julius Caesar’s invasion of Britain was to gain control of the fresh water pearls that were found there, and that "in comparing their size he sometimes weighed them with his own hand". In 46 B.C., when Caesar returned from Egypt to Rome where he was joined by Cleopatra and their infant son, he dedicated a cuirass made completely of British pearls in the Temple of Venus Genetrix.

In the ancient world, shamans used pearls to help enhance their psychic and divination powers, and to connect with lunar gods and gods of the oceans and seas. During the Middle Ages it was believed that pearls possessed the power to protect the wearer in battle, and so it was not uncommon to find suits of armor for the nobility encrusted with pearls. In Renaissance Europe the appetite for pearls became so great that laws forbade anyone other than royalty or the very privileged classes from even wearing pearls. Pearls were the exclusive domain of the crown and select nobility! The appetite for pearls was enormous, and the natural salt water pearl beds of Central and South America were ravaged. The principal salt-water oyster beds remaining which still produce solid pearls today lay in Australia, the Persian Gulf, along the coasts of India, Sri Lanka, and in the Red Sea. The principle sources for cultured saltwater pearls today are Australia, Indonesia, Tahiti, the Philippines, and Burma. China, the USA, and Bavaria are the principle sources for freshwater pearls.

Unknown today to most, America exported to Victorian Europe large numbers of very high quality freshwater pearls from the Ohio, Mississippi, and Tennessee River basins. So many gems were exported to Europe that the New World quickly gained the appellation "Land of Pearls." Except for the freshwater production of small specimens, genuine solid pearls are by and large only obtainable as antiques. From the 1930’s to present day, cultured pearls from Japan have predominated the marketplace. Most people generally credit the “invention” of cultured pearls with Kokichi Mikimoto in Japan at the turn of the twentieth century. However eight hundred years ago in China, monks planted carvings of Buddhist deities into river mollusks in order to be coated with pearl-like layers, the first recorded cultured “pearls”. Since the 1990’s, with the decline of Japanese cultured pearl production due to pollution and disease, China has increasingly been the dominant supplier of cultured pearls, both freshwater and saltwater. However it is still generally believed that the finest cultured pearls ever produced, with the exception of limited quantities produced in Tahiti, were produced in Japan between 1930 and 1970.

Pearls are found in a wide variety of colors and shades, the most highly valued being white, black, rose, and cream. Black pearls are very rare and highly prized, and are typically found only in Tahiti and the Cook Islands. Also especially prized are rose-colored pearls found in India, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), and the South Pacific. Pearls are formed as lustrous concretion produced principally by certain bivalve mollusks (as well as scallops, abalone, conchs, and even snails). A pearl consists almost entirely of nacre (also known as “mother-of-pearl”), which is the substance forming the inner layers of the mollusk shells. Both marine and freshwater mollusks produce pearls. In nature a pearl starts when an irritant or parasite has managed to get inside the mollusk’s shell. The irritant or parasite serves as the nucleus of the pearl which results when nacre is deposited layer-upon-layer by the mollusk around the irritant or parasite as a defense mechanism.

A natural pearl is very rare in nature, and occurs only once in 15,000 mollusks. Cultured pearls are formed when man intercedes, depositing the nucleus of a new pearl inside the tissue of the mollusk, thus “artificially” inducing the mollusk to create pearl. Freshwater pearls are produced by mussels in various parts of the world, though China is the principal producer of freshwater pearls. However pearl production is a carefully fostered industry in central Europe, and the forest streams of Bavaria, in particular, are a source of choice freshwater pearls. Gem-quality freshwater pearls are also produced in the Mississippi River. If you’d like to learn more about the history of pearls, there’s a great article <A HREF="http://www.pamelaspearls.com/PearlHistory.htm">here</A>.

Throughout the history of the ancient world, gemstones were believed capable of curing illness, possessed of valuable metaphysical properties, and to provide protection. Found in Egypt dated 1500 B. C., the "Papyrus Ebers" offered one of most complete therapeutic manuscripts containing prescriptions using gemstones and minerals. Gemstones were not only valued for their medicinal and protective properties, but also for educational and spiritual enhancement. In the ancient world pearls were thought to signify charity, faith and innocence. They were believed to help to provide a focus to ones attention, and enhance personal integrity. The pearl was known as a stone of sincerity. Pearls were believed to inhibit rowdy behavior. The luster was thought to provide a reflection of the inner self, so that one could perceive oneself as others did. In the ancient cultures of Asia pearls were thought to quicken the laws of karma and to cement engagements and love relationships. They were also used as a talisman to keep children safe. Pearls were also powdered and used as a medicine to promote mental health, as well as an aid for stomach, stomach ulcer, spleen, and intestinal tract problems.

 

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