A simple shell, which contains in its womb a treasure, a wonder, a precious gem, is in fact something extraordinary in itself. The Eastern peoples of antiquity became aware of this natural curiosity long before the European West and even Egypt. The latter seems to have had no knowledge of it except when it began to be known also by the Greeks, that is, in the Hellenistic period.
One of the first archaeological finds related to beads is a piece of necklace found in a necropolis in Pasargade, a city in ancient Persia. The bead necklaces are almost intact, and it seems incredible that they have come to us after millennia.
History of pearls and bead necklaces in Egypt
We know that in ancient civilizations, long before the recorded history, the populations adorned themselves with shells and bead necklaces made of shells. So it is not surprising that the first use of mother of pearl in jewelry occurred in Egypt, about 5200 years ago. Mother-of-pearl has long been used to make scrolls and bead necklaces.
The role of mother-of-pearl in past cultures
On the other hand, what was common to all these cultures that showed a total disregard for the pearl, was their passion for all the products that the sea was able to offer them, especially the mother of pearl. In fact, the ornaments made from natural or worked shells were innumerable and are still in our time – bead necklaces.