From what they're made of to ancient mythical stories, discover the top 10 things you didn't know about pearls in our blog.
1. The earliest historical recording of pearls is in 2206 BC by a Chinese historian. This makes the pearl one of the oldest known varieties of gemstone.
2. Pearls are known for their lustre. This is created by a substance known as nacre.
3. The official birthstone for June, pearls are also a traditional gift to celebrate the third and thirtieth wedding anniversary.
4. Best known for their classic white colour, pearls also come in a host of other more unusual colours including pink, pistachio, and black.
5. Pearls are made of the mineral calcium carbonate, making them one of the softest gemstones. They rate between 2.5 - 3 on Moh's scale of hardness.
6. Perhaps most interestingly pearls are formed inside a living organism, the oyster. Naturally in the sea, if an irritant such as a grain of sand enters a mollusc a build up of nacre occurs as a defence against the foreign body. The nacre eventually turns into a pearl.
7. You can buy both freshwater and saltwater pearls. Popular sources for natural saltwater pearls include Japan, South East Asia, Australia, and French Polynesia. Many freshwater pearls come from China and USA.
8. A fake pearl is also known as a 'simulated pearl'. These are a popular choice for fashion jewellery as they are crafted from more affordable and abundant materials, such as glass and ceramic, while still offering a similar appearance to the classic white pearl.
9. William Saville-Kent is recognised as producing the world's first cultured pearl.
10. The most valuable variety of pearl is the South Sea Pearl.
11. The ancient Chinese believed pearls could protect people from fire, while across the other side of the globe in Europe pearls symbolised modesty and purity.
Which interesting fact about pearls caught your interest? Browse our selection of freshwater pearl jewellery for a beautiful ring, pendant, or pair of earrings.
Next month, we're discovering interesting facts about rubies, the official birthstone for July...