The pearl's iridescent luminosity has bewitched men and women alike for thousands of years. Whether offered in romance or taken in victory, worn as a symbol of chastity or a mystical aphrodisiac, pearls have been and continue to be among the most coveted gems in the world.
The ancient Greeks wore pearls at their wedding ceremonies, believing they would ensure marital bliss and prevent new brides from crying. This time-honored custom lives on today, with brides of many
cultures wearing pearls to enhance their beauty and symbolize the purity of their love.
So greatly were pearls valued, they have even changed history. After accepting Cleopatra's wager that she could consume the wealth of an entire nation in one meal, Marc Antony watched as she removed a pearl earring, crushed it and drank the powder mixed with wine. Awed by her extravagant gesture, he became enamored, neglecting his duties to the Roman Empire.
During the Renaissance, nobility entwined pearls in their hair and embroidered them on garments. Elizabeth I owned more than 3000 gowns adorned with the gem, and even had court jewelers create a pearl and ruby collar for her pet ermine.
In the Gilded Age, American industrialists used pearls as expressions of power and wealth. Portraits of Astors, Vanderbilts and Fricks reveal ropes of pearls dripping over extravagant gowns.
Today's royals, celebrities and fashion icons continue the passion for pearls. From extravagant statement pieces to elegant single strands and luminous studs, Mikimoto brings the thrilling cultured pearl experience within reach of today's modern woman -- and man.