Rare and valuable minerals

What color is the most expensive pearl?

Pearls are one of the oldest gemstones known to mankind. It is mentioned in the Old Testament and the ancient Indian epic Rigveda, written in the second millennium BC. In Rus’ there was a tradition of decorating clothes and hats with pearls, and in Europe – inlaid images of the Virgin Mary with mother-of-pearl stones. Today this mineraloid is highly valued and is actively used in jewelry. We tell you what types and forms of pearls there are, which of them are considered the rarest and most valuable.

Types of pearls

  • natural (“wild”) and cultivated;
  • marine and freshwater.

Let’s talk about these varieties in more detail.

Natural and Cultivated

In nature, a mineraloid begins to grow when a foreign object, such as a grain of sand, gets into the shell of a bivalve mollusk. Plates of calcium carbonate begin to layer on it, and a pearl gradually forms. It takes at least 12 years for it to reach the size of a pea. In the past, pearls were actively mined in the habitats of bivalves, but today they are found extremely rarely. Natural samples are practically not used in jewelry – they have an extremely high cost and are most often sold at auctions.

At the end of the 19th century, they learned to cultivate pearls. At the same time, the cultivated mineraloid is no different from the natural one. The only difference is how exactly the foreign object gets into the shell of the mollusk. In nature this happens by chance, but during cultivation it is initiated by humans. Almost all pearl jewelry found in jewelry stores uses cultured specimens.

Marine and freshwater

Bivalves live in seas and rivers, and the composition of the water affects the properties and appearance of pearls. A specialist can easily determine the origin of a mineraloid based on various characteristics:

  • Saltwater pearls tend to have a more uniform color, while freshwater specimens tend to have more gradations and spots.
  • The shape of sea pearls is close to spherical, sometimes drop-shaped. River ones are often more elongated, the edges may be uneven.
  • Freshwater specimens usually have a matte sheen, while marine specimens are bright and pearlescent.

Mineraloids of different origins are used in jewelry. Smooth sea beads are more often used where symmetry is needed, while river beads can be found in bracelets, necklaces, and pendant earrings.

Shape and color

The most common colors are white, cream and other similar shades. But there are unusual colors – yellow, red, blue, pink, green, golden, chocolate and black. It all depends on the type of mollusk, the color of its mantle and the composition of the water. The seas have a more varied range of colors than rivers.

The shape may be round or irregular. It depends on the place in which the mineraloid is fixed inside the shell of the mollusk. Round pieces are highly prized in jewelry, but some fancy shapes can be even more valuable.

The most expensive types of pearls

Let’s talk about the most unusual and rare types of mineraloids that can be found today.

Jade

This variety is found in only one place – off the coast of the island of Meloer in the Pacific Ocean. The specimens have a unique green hue and are large in size. They are not used in jewelry because they are extremely expensive and can only be found in private collections.

Abalon

In the past, Abalone mollusks, living off the coast of South Africa, were commercially available, and their meat was a valuable delicacy. As a result of fishing, their population was practically destroyed, but it was saved by the fact that mollusks began to be bred on farms.

Abalon grows pearls of unusual shape and large size. Its distinctive feature is a bright, almost mirror-like pearlescent sheen. Such samples can be found in private collections and in unique jewelry that are incredibly expensive.

conch

Queen Conch is a large sea snail that lives in the Caribbean Sea. Irregular pearls called concs grow in her shell. They are small in size – from 3 to 8 mm – and have a very beautiful color. The pink ones are considered the most valuable, but yellow and white ones are also found.

The peculiarity of conk is that it does not have a mother-of-pearl shine, but it is harder and more durable than other types of mother-of-pearl stones.

Melo

This type of mineraloid is found in Melo Melo snails in the coastal waters of Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Melo is also called flaming pearl because it is orange in color. The palette ranges from bright orange to almost white. There are examples of yellow and orange-yellow colors.

They tried to cultivate Melo, but all attempts were unsuccessful. All existing samples were obtained naturally, and therefore their price can reach $500.

Pearls of Cortez

Black mother-of-pearl pearls grow in shellfish that live in the Gulf of California. During the time of Columbus, there were legends about the rich Sea of ​​Pearl, at the bottom of which countless treasures were stored. Conquistador Hernan Cortes organized an expedition to these waters and brought several amazing specimens to the Spanish king. They immediately began to pay more for black pearls than for gold.

Today this variety is cultivated and found in jewelry, but is still expensive. The mineraloid attracts with its regular spherical shape, unusual metallic luster and especially large size – from 8 to 14 mm in diameter.

South Sea Pearl

This is one of the most valuable varieties of cultured pearls, grown in the shell of the Pinctada maxima mollusk. Pearl farms are located on the shores of the Pacific and Indian oceans – in Australia, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines.

With a long cultivation period, large samples are obtained. They have pastel shades – mostly gold, pink and champagne – and a matte sheen. The thick mother-of-pearl layer reaches 6 mm, which allows you to create extremely durable jewelry.

Types of pearl jewelry

Pearls are used for different types of jewelry – rings, pendants, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and others. Mother-of-pearl stone is usually featured prominently in a jewelry composition. Moreover, it is often combined with other precious stones – diamonds, cubic zirconia, topazes, amethysts, sapphires and others. The frame is made of white and yellow gold and 925 sterling silver.

Pearl earrings are a classic that always remains relevant. For earrings, symmetrical pearls are chosen – spherical, oval, drop. The most popular colors are white, gold and black. Typically, pearl earrings are medium in size, but drop earrings and miniature studs are also found.

In addition to earrings, you can choose a neat pearl pendant or an elegant necklace. Usually only one pearl is placed in a pendant, but there are products with several stones. The frame is often additionally decorated with a scattering of other gems – for example, cubic zirconia, diamonds.

A classic pearl necklace consists of beads made of pearls of the same color and size. There are also models in which pearls are combined with other precious stones.

At MIUZ Diamonds you can buy pearl jewelry or a whole set. Place your order online and pick it up at your nearest store.

Which pearls are considered the rarest and most valuable?

Which pearls are considered the most rare and valuable Pearls are one of the most ancient precious stones known to mankind. It is mentioned in the Old Testament and the ancient Indian epic Rigveda, written in the second millennium BC. There was a tradition in Rus’.

Pearls are a mineral-like solid substance that is extracted from the shells of certain mollusks. In ancient times, as now, pearls were highly valued and used to make jewelry. In China, jewelry made from this material emphasized human power, and in Ancient Rome, pearls were considered the main treasure and their extraction brought a lot of money to the treasury. But it wasn’t just the Romans who mined this jewel; they were especially active in the Persian Gulf. Recently, archaeologists from the United Arab Emirates found the ruins of the most ancient “pearl city” there. Such settlements are often mentioned in ancient documents, but this is the first time scientists have found physical evidence of their existence in the Persian Gulf. We think this is an excellent opportunity to talk about how pearls are mined and which pearls are considered the most expensive in the world.

Pearls are a very expensive jewel, the extraction of which requires a lot of effort.

Interesting fact: pearl is mineraloid – a solid substance that forms like a mineral, but is not one.

How pearls are formed

Precious pearls are formed inside shellfish such as various oysters when a foreign object, such as a grain of sand, gets into their shells. As a rule, foreign bodies get inside during water filtration – during this process, the mollusks extract nutrients for themselves. Once a grain of sand or other tiny object is between the shell valve and the mantle, or directly inside the mantle, the mollusk begins to envelop it with nacre, which makes up the inside of the shell.

The mollusk applies many layers to a grain of sand, resulting in the formation of round pearls. It takes several months to form a layer of mother-of-pearl 2 millimeters thick. A full-fledged pearl that can be used in jewelry takes about 3 years to grow.

Pearl inside a shellfish

Sometimes pearls are formed without foreign bodies getting inside the shell. Precious material can also be formed if, as a result of damage, the epithelial cells of the mollusk move into the mantle.

Typically, pearls form in three places:

  • in the upper part of the mantle;
  • in the muscle that closes the shell valves;
  • in the thickened edge of the mantle.

Pearls form inside both freshwater and marine mollusks. They are usually found inside bivalves, especially members of the genus Pinctada. Especially highly prized are the pearls formed inside the giant tridacna (tridacna gigas) – their shells lack a mother-of-pearl layer, but nevertheless milky white and pink pearls are found in them. Inside the noble pinna (Pinna nobilis) pearls of reddish, dark brown and black-violet colors are sometimes found. The most expensive pearls are considered to be black or those with other unusual shades.

How much do pearls cost?

The cost of a pearl depends on its size, shade and method of extraction – if a pearl is recovered from underwater by an experienced diver, it will be more expensive than a specimen grown on a special farm.

According to Pearl-lang.com, Tahitian pearls, which are the only pearls in the world that have a natural black color, are very expensive. This type of pearl is produced by exotic oysters of the species Pinctada Margaritifera, which live in the southern seas near Tahiti and French Polynesia. Black pearls range in price from $250 to $36.

Tahitian pearl jewelry

Akoya pearls are ordinary pearls, the appearance of which is familiar to everyone. They are usually produced in Japan and China by sea oysters of the species Pinctada fucata. Akoya pearls range in price from $100 to $6.

Freshwater pearls are one of the cheapest, so they are especially often used in jewelry. Typically, pearls of this type are grown inside a mall. Hyriopsis cumingii in rivers, lakes and ponds in China. Freshwater pearls range in price from $20 to $5.

South Sea pearls are the most expensive of those cultivated on farms. It is grown inside large oysters pinctada maxima in Australia, Burma, Indonesia and the Philippines. South Sea pearls range in price from $200 to $135.

South Sea Pearl

The most expensive pearls in the world

It is difficult to determine which pearl is the most expensive in the world – all sources provide different information.

If you type “the most expensive pearl in the world” into Google, the search brings up an article about Lao Tzu’s pearl. She was found by a pearl diver on May 7, 1934, in the waters off the Philippine island of Palawan. It was formed by a giant tridacna and weighs 6,37 kilograms with a diameter of 23,8 centimeters. its cost is estimated at 40 million dollars.

Photo of Lao Tzu’s Pearl

According to Forbes in 2016, the most expensive pearl in the world is a sample found in the 66s in the waters of the same Philippine island of Palawan. It was discovered by a Filipino fisherman and kept in his house until it burned down and revealed the hidden treasure. The cost of the pearl, 34 centimeters long and weighing 100 kilograms, is estimated at $XNUMX million.

The mostexpensive.org publication also has its own version. It says that the most expensive pearl in the world is the Giga Pearl, which weighs 27 kilograms. The history of its origin is unknown because it is a family heirloom that is passed down between generations. Externally, the Giga Pearl resembles a giant tooth. According to experts, it should have taken thousands of years to form a pearl of this size, but there is a discrepancy – the lifespan of giant mollusks is only about 100 years. Whatever the origin of the Giga Pearl, its value is estimated at $200 million.

How pearls are mined

Pearls are mined in the same way in the wild and on farms – specially trained people dive into the water and remove the mollusks to the surface. This method was used both in ancient times and in modern times. This is a very difficult job that requires people to be able to hold their breath for a long time. It is also important to understand that not every shell contains pearls, so some dives do not yield any results.

Modern pearl diver

In most countries of the world, pearl fishing is carried out by men, but in Japan this work has long been entrusted to women – representatives of this profession are called “ama”. It is believed that the fair sex can hold their breath longer and also feel less cold. Residents of coastal villages became amami from a very early age. If a girl could hold her breath for two minutes and during that time reach a depth of 15 meters, she was considered an excellent diver.

Ama pearl divers

Japanese female divers wore only a thigh band and a hair band while working. They took with them a wicker basket for storing shellfish, a split bamboo stick as a nose clip, and gloves to protect their hands.

To sink to the bottom faster, divers tied a weight to themselves and jumped from the boat, tied to it with a rope. Having reached great depths, they dropped their load, quickly collected oysters and rose to the surface. After resting a little, they dived again – sometimes the number of dives was 60 times.

Pearl divers received and continue to receive a lot of money for their work

Japanese pearl divers always looked older than their years. However, at the same time they had excellent health, which allowed them to go about their business even in old age. They received more money than men, so they were considered the best brides and could feed their family even alone.

Modern pearl divers

In other countries, men are also successful in pearl fishing.

The most ancient “pearl city”

Historical documents often mention “pearl cities” – settlements whose inhabitants were exclusively engaged in the mining of precious pearls. Recently, archaeologists from the UAE found the oldest city of this type near the Persian Gulf.

According to the Associated Press, the ruins of the ancient city were discovered on the island of Siniya, which is located in the emirate of Umm al-Quwain. All artifacts found in this place date back to the end of the 6th century. According to assistant professor of archeology Timothy Power, the found city is the spiritual ancestor of such large cities as present-day Dubai.

Ruins of the ancient “pearl city”

According to scientists, the ancient city arose before the advent of Islam on the Arabian Peninsula. Therefore, the local residents were most likely Christians. Judging by the fact that scattered pearls and sinkers for diving under water were found in the ruins of buildings, scientists concluded that only jewelry miners lived in the city. As a rule, people in other “pearl cities” appeared only periodically, but the found settlement clearly remained inhabited all year round.

Scientists believe that the inhabitants of the “pearl city” stayed there all year round

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Finally, here is another high-profile archaeological discovery – an ancient Roman city with pigeon farms was recently found in Egypt. I highly recommend reading it!

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