The Romans and Egyptians of 5th century BC referred to pearls as ‘Queen of Gems’. The gem could be worn by the wealthy and powerful. The main reason is that natural formation of pearls within the mollusk took years to form. In addition, divers had to dive deep in the sea beyond 9 feet without any scuba gear as well as avoid risks of sea creatures and decompression sickness.
The most challenging probability is that one out of 10,000 mollusks hold a pearl. Therefore to form a single necklace they had to check more than 500,000 oysters. Therefore, Romans valued pearls a lot and viewed as a status symbol of prosperity and affluence.
Significance of pearls in the Bible
Look at this parable that defines that symbolizes God’s kingdom gates to be made from pearls and not diamonds or gold or such other precious materials. It is because God made pearls in a unique way. They are the only gemstones that get formed from living organism.
Rubies and diamonds are mined and cut to shape and size as per preference. Pearls don’t need to be shaped or sized; they are used in their natural and individual form.
When you watch pearls closely, you will be surprised to see the multiple layers of time, effort and patience. All this has been rewarded by God with uniqueness, beauty, and value.
Today, cultured pearls also belong to natural gemstone category because there is a little human intervention. A tiny irritant gets inserted manually inside the oysters at pearl farms and nurtured for a couple of years prior harvesting. The pearls are allowed to form naturally.
Only half of nucleated oysters produce pearls out of which only 25% are marketable. There is lot of effort involved in pearl culturing business with very low payoff but still efforts are made to perfect the process.
Cultured pearls are available from freshwater and saltwater oysters or mollusks or clams. However, these are more affordable than the significantly pricey real pearls.
How to identify natural pearls?
When you touch real pearls they are cold at first and will then warm against your skin. Real pearls when watched under microscope reveal tiny ridges and irregularities on its surface. No two pearls are completely identical in color, shape, size and surface characteristics.
Lights reflected from high quality pearl surface is also lustrous and glowy. Real pearls are heavy and you will see that the drill holes are very small. All these can help to identify the real pearls authenticity.