Since their discovery, thousands of years ago, pearls have captured our hearts and souls with their beauty. The rarity of naturally formed pearls stirred the imagination to find ways to culture pearls for our pleasure.
Early pearl culture was attempted in many countries with many different species of shellfish, without success.In 1890 however, Kokichi Mikimoto succeeded in cultivating round pearls in oysters and the cultured pearl industry was born. At the same time, French scientist Louis Boutan produced the first mabe (hemispherical) pearls in abalone, but because of difficulties in raising this particular species of shellfish, he abandoned his efforts and it was not continued as a commercial venture.
Ninety years later, in the crystal clean waters of the South Pacific, the discovery of a beautiful natural pearl in the New Zealand species of abalone, sparked one man’s desire to continue Louis Boutan’s earlier work.
New Zealand is a land of contrasts that remains remarkably unchanged and untouched by man. The indigenous flora and fauna grew and flourished in their island home of abundant vegetation, snow capped mountains, clear blue skies and cool blue water. New Zealand is home to many creatures who can trace their ancestry unchanged back through the annals of time. One such animal, the humble paua, New Zealand’s own abalone Haliotis iris, has given us the blue pearl.
Abalone are a gentle sea snail, with a large central muscular foot and amazingly colourful and lustrous shells. There are over one hundred different species of abalone throughout the worlds oceans and the native New Zealand species is called Paua. Paua or Haliotis iris are only found in the cool clear waters close to the New Zealand coastline and it is these creatures which possess the greatest range of colour and iridescence of any abalone shell. Blue pearls capture the essence of New Zealand, a vibrant, fresh, young country, a country with a feeling of adventure and organic beauty.
The pearl is a piece of jewellery with a tremendous symbolic significance. It has fascinated human beings in all cultures for millenniums. The pearl symbolises femininity, preciousness and purity. The ancient Greeks named the pearl Aphrodite, goddess of love.
The Romans used the same name for a mistress and a pearl - margarita. Up until today a pearl is believed to be a symbol for wealth and wisdom in China. In Japan it stands for fortune and in India for a large number of children.
In our latitude a pearl is a sign for 30 years of marriage; the pearl wedding anniversary. Just like pearls, the joint years have ranked themselves into a life’s chain. Each pearl is different. Only collectively they add up to a chain and are beautiful and precious as in a long marriage itself. A pearl necklace is definitely a wonderful gift for such a special occasion. Why wait until that time has come, this beautiful coin could be a start.