The Most Famous Pearls In The World

Greetings, fellow jewelry lovers.  I hope you are having a superb week.

Most recently, we have entered into the realm of the more earthy gems and precious stones.  Specifically, we have touched upon the topic of those jewels that find their origins in a living being.  I know I said I was through with the subject of those wondrous little spheres called pearls.  You would think that 3 articles would have been enough, but with all the wonderful necklace, earring, ring, bracelet, etc. creations out there that use pearls, I could not help myself.  I had to write more .  We all know our lives would never be complete without having first learned about the most famous pearls in the universe. (For our purposes, the universe will be limited to earth.  My extraterrestrial friends have not yet gotten back to me about their pearl jewelry ;).)

The Pearl of Lao-Tzu (The Pearl of Allah)

Mentioned briefly in a previous entry about pearls, namely referring to the fact that I wasn’t able to buy it, this pearl is the largest pearl in the world.  (Rumors have it that there may be a larger one in existence, but no one wants to kill the 500ish year old clam that hosts it.)  This pearl weighs about 14 lbs, measures 24 centimeters in diameter, and looks somewhat like the digestive system of an animal . Little to say, while it is incredible, amazing, astounding….it is not beautiful. Furthermore, it is not from a pearl that produces nacre so iridescence and orient are out of the picture.

Now for a short history lesson.  The Pearl of Lao-Tzu was discovered off the coast of the Philippines, where American Wilburn Cobb acquired it.  According to Wilburn, this Pearl was owned by a muslim tribal leader in the Philippines who would not sell the pearl to the American because he considered it sacred. To him it resembled the turbaned head of the Prophet Mohamed.  When Wilburn, saved the leader’s son from Malaria, he gave him the pearl in appreciation of his life-saving efforts. This is how the pearl came to be known as the Pearl of Allah.

Later, Cobb changed his story.  Apparently, the pearl had less to do with prophets’ turbans and tribal chieftains than Chinese wise-men.  In fact, Cobb claimed that this pearl was a key element in a Chinese legend.  2,500 years ago, Lao-Tzu (Laozi) was said to have inserted a jade disc into a clam.  The pearl that was formed was then transferred to other larger clams where it grew to enormous proportions and, then, moved to the Philippines to protect it.

The Pearl of Lao-Tzu is valued at somewhere between 42  and 93 million dollars, depending on the appraiser.

This article is to be continued with more information on the most amazing pearls in the world.

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