10 Things You Might Not Know About Pearls

1. The Romans believed pearls were the tears of the gods before freezing, while the Greeks believed they were caused by lightning hitting the sea.

2. One of the most famous pearls in history is the 11.2 gram ‘La Pelegrina’, which has a perfect pear-shape. It was discovered in the Gulf of Panama at some time in the sixteenth century. Owners throughout history include Queen Mary and the older brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. It was later bought by Richard Burton as a gift for Elizabeth Taylor, selling for more than $11 million at auction after her death.

3. Those of a superstitious nature are divided about pearls. Some believe it is bad luck to wear pearls on your wedding day because it will lead to a marriage full of tears. Others with a more optimistic view of fate believe wearing pearls when getting married is good luck because the pearl takes the place of your future teardrops.

4. Vitellius, a senior Roman general, once financed a campaign by selling one of his mother's pearl earrings, though accounts vary as to whether the campaign was military or political.

5. Christopher Columbus' financial backers requested that he hunt for particular items if and when he discovered land across the Atlantic. Their number one request was for pearls.

6. Pearl is sometimes said to have meant "unique" in Latin. The more traditional translation is margarita, which has been cited as the origin of the cocktail's name.

7. Princess Grace of Monaco is said to have worn a pearl-embroidered bikini.

8. Queen Elizabeth supposedly owned more than 3,000 different gowns with pearls upon them.

9. Numerous countries have had laws throughout history restricting who could wear pearls. In 16th century Venice, women could not wear pearls until they had been married for at least 15 years.

10. Chinese mythology has it that pearls were the result of battles between dragons, with the newly-created pearls dropping from the sky as they fought.