Cleopatra Drank a Pearl

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Last night I taught a jewelry class to a giggling group of 10 year old Girl Scouts, for their “Jewelry Badge”. I pulled samples of my work, brought tools and gemstones to show them, and let them try their hand at punching metal discs and stamping them for a fun wrap bracelet. I was nervous and stressed about the whole thing, but once I got there it wasn’t bad, and I’m glad I did it. I put together an INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT JEWELRY sheet for them to read while they were getting settled, and I just knew you would love it. Amiright?

~100,000-year-old beads made from Nassarius shells are thought to be the oldest known jewelry, discovered in the Middle East in 2009.
~History says that about 40,000 years back, some of the first jewelry was worn by the Cro-Magnons, ancestors of Homo sapiens (that’s us). Their jewelry included crude necklaces and bracelets made of bone, teeth and stone stitched to animal sinew.
~Men were the first to wear jewelry as a status symbol and as good luck amulets to aid them in battle.
~Pearls are formed when a tiny bit of sand gets trapped inside an oyster. The oyster produces a “nacre” as a defense mechanism that coats the grain of sand, layer after layer. A pearl is formed naturally in 1 out of every 10,000 oysters. The longer the pearl stays in the oyster the larger the pearl.
~Legend has it Cleopatra once dissolved a pearl in soup and drank it, just to win a bet with Marc Antony. At the time it (the pearl, not the soup) was worth about $12,500.

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