one can say for sure when the first pearls were discovered.
In nature pearls occur in about one of every 10,000 oysters.
A tiny bead of sand, parasite, or some other foreign object
works its way into the oyster and, in most cases, is simply
expelled by the living organism.
in the rarest of cases, the oyster is unable to expel the
foreign particle. This has been related to a person getting
a granule lodged in his eye or deep under his tongue. The
irritation is unbearable. But the oyster secrets a nacreous
layer over the irritant, in effect protecting itself from
the foreign particle. In time these layers are spun over
and over until a pearl is made.
man ate oysters and used its shell to make tools, weapons,
and adornments (jewelry). Many stories from ancient history
bear reference to pearls as precious gems worn by kings
and queens. They have been sought after by women of fashion
and powerful men hoping to gain favor by giving their ladies
this rarest of exotic gifts. Even the bible makes reference
to pearls in the New Testament as being "so precious that
a man would give all his life possessions for just one pearl".
pearls are much more abundant because man developed a scientific
technique whereby oysters are artificially induced to make
pearls. Man introduces the irritant and the oyster does
the rest. However, this process is successful in only about
50% of the implanted oysters. Of the remaining oysters,
nearly half will produce pearls unfit for jewelry. Only
10 to 15% will be of gem quality. These pearls are called
early producers of cultured pearls were the Japanese, quickly
followed by other oriental countries such
as China. Both fresh and salt-water oysters of various species
are cultivated to make pearls in the orient today. More
recently credit goes to the Tahitians for applying this
pearl-producing technique in the South Pacific. Much of
Polynesia today produces pearls from over 70 species of
oysters. However, the Black-Lipped Oyster that produces
the true and authentic black pearl is more difficult to
raise than many species. The water must be perfectly clear
and devoid of pollution and remain almost constant around
75-degree farenheight. These conditions exist in the waters
of Tahiti and the Cook Islands. The Cook Islands are the
latest Polynesian country to commercially promote the authentic