In the Vedas, the oldest sacred book of the Brahmans there are several allusions to pearl decorations a millennium or more before the Christian era. In fact the word, Krisana and its derivatives are generally translated as meaning "pearl".
At the height of the Roman Empire, the Roman General Vitellius financed an entire war campaign by selling one of his mother's pearl earrings.
In the ancient civilization of China,pearls were greatly esteemed as we know from the frequent mention of them in history. As early as 2200 B.C., pearls were collected as taxes. Pearls were also used in veneration of the idols and as tribute from foreign princes to the emperor.
The popularity of the pearl dates from very early period in Persia as well. A necklace recently found in the sarcophagus of an Achaemenid princess exhumed at Susa dates not later than the fourth century B.C. It is now preserved in the Persian Gallery at the Lourve.
To convince Rome that Egypt possessed a heritage and wealth that put it above conquest, Cleopatra wagered Marc Antony she could give the most expensive dinner in history. The Roman reclined as the queen sat with an empty plate and a goblet of wine. She crushed a large pearl of a pair of earrings, dissolved it in the wine and drank it down. Antony declined his dinner, the matching pearl and admitted that she had won.
Pliny, the world's first gemologist, wrote that the two pearls were worth the equivalent of $9,375,000 dollars.
In Hebrew tradition, pearls were believed to have been created from the tears Eve wept at being evicted from Eden.
In the Bible there are numerous references to the value with which pearls were held.
"The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he has found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it" (Matt.xiii.45,46)
There is also the mention of "casting pearls before swine" in the great Sermon on the Mount (Matt.vii6)
In Rev. xxi. 21 St John speaks of the" twelve gates of pearls".