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BEST PRICE GUARANTEE: If you order any item today then see it at a lower price on our website (up to 20/12/2023), tell us and we'll happily refund the difference (Terms)

A History Of Pearls

Pearls through history

Real pearls have been prized for thousands of years, and their natural beauty and classic look has never faded. Today they are more popular and affordable than ever

There is some debate as to the earliest known pearl, with both the Jomon pearl in Japan, which is at least 5,000 years old and a pearl found at a Neolithic site in the Emirate of Umm al Quwain in the UAE, dated at between 5547 and 5235 BC, both claiming the prize.

Pearls are referenced in many ancient texts, and have been used in Chinese medicine for millennia. Incredibly rare and stunningly beautiful, they have been treasured by everyone from Cleopatra to Caligula, Elizabeth I to Elizabeth Taylor. They are mentioned in Hindu writings, in the Koran, and even in the Sermon on the Mount. The modern word, pearl, comes from the Latin pirum, which means pear, reflecting the shape of many pearls.

Famous pearls

Natural pearls were so valuable in ancient times that it is said that the Roman general Vitellius paid for a whole military campaign by selling just one pair of his mother’s pearl earrings. The infamous Emperor Caligula gave his favourite horse a pearl necklace, as well as the job of consul! Perhaps most famously of all, Cleopatra is also said to have proved the wealth and power of Egypt to Marc Anthony, by drinking a pearl dissolved in wine. This meal was estimated to be worth $10 million in today’s money, yet it was priceless in establishing Egypt’s status and avoiding a Roman invasion.

This is not the only time pearls have changed the course of history. It has been suggested that one of the reasons Julius Caesar invaded Britain was to find new pearl beds, and the pearls found in the New World by Columbus and Vasco de Balboa certainly encouraged the royal courts of Europe to continue to finance their voyages of discovery.

Modern pearls

Fortunately, thanks to the creation of cultured pearls, you don’t have to be a Roman emperor or a high-ranking royal to enjoy wearing pearls from Absolute Pearls today.

The idea of culturing pearls – by introducing the irritant artificially into the oyster or mussel – was developed by three Japanese men, Kokichi Mikimoto, Tokichi Nishikawa and Tatsuhei Mise, all working independently in the early 1900s. Mikimoto eventually combined these techniques to create the cultured pearl processes that are still used to this day. Just as beautiful as natural pearls, cultured pearls now make up the vast majority of the world pearl market.

Terms & Conditions

Terms for 'SANTA20' Discount Code:

  • Expires 11:59pm on Monday 11th December 2023.
  • Can be used on any jewellery item EXCEPT any item that is already discounted (shown by a red coloured price with the original price crossed out).
  • Only valid for online purchases.
  • Discount is only applied to the product cost and not to gift wrapping or upgraded delivery charges.
  • Each code cannot be used in conjunction with any other Absolute Pearls discount code. (Only one discount code can be used for any one purchase)
  • The Discount Code must be entered into the 'Discount Code' field and the 'Apply Code' button clicked to apply it. It is the customer's responsibility to ensure the code has been applied prior to proceeding and paying for the order.
  • Any discount code cannot be applied retrospectively.
  • This offer may be withdrawn at any time without notice and is subject to availability.

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Terms for Best Price Guarantee:

  • If you buy any product from Absolute Pearls between 4th November 2023 to 20th December 2023 inclusive and subsequentially find that same product offered at a lower price on the Absolute Pearls website on or before 20th December 2023, we will happily refund you the difference.
  • Product discounts and available discount codes will be used to determine the lowest price available of any item on any given day and do not include postage or gift wrapping charges.
  • This best price guarantee does NOT apply if you fail to use/successfully apply the code in the checkout (for whatever reason) the best available discount code available on the day and which are available on the website banners and the New Subscribers mailing list sign up box. If in doubt, please email us on or call 01516257688 for guidance & information on discount codes.
  • To claim, you simply need to email us ( on the same day when you see the lower price, and include the following details: your name, your order number, the product code number and the date and lower price you saw on the Absolute Pearls website. Please also send us a screenshot or photo of said product and lower price.
  • If the same product (same SKU number) is offered at a price lower than you paid, we will refund the difference to you by the end of December.
  • The 'Best Price Guarantee' only applies to the Absolute Pearls website (

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