On October 20, officials in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said the world’s oldest pearl would be on display in that emirate.
The 8,000-year-old natural pearl was discovered when archaeologists excavated under the floor of a room on Marawah Island. The pearl is located in a carbonaceous layer dating between 5,800 and 5,600 BC, during the Neolithic period.
The pearl of Abu Dhabi will be presented for the first time at the exhibition entitled “10,000 years of luxury” (approximate translation: 10,000 years of luxury) which will open from October 30 at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a branch of the famous museum of the Louvre in Paris (France).
The archaeological site of Marawah Island includes the remains of many stone structures from the Neolithic period. During the excavations, archaeologists also found numerous pottery, beads made from the hard shells of animals and stones, and numerous flint arrows.
Mohamed Al-Muabarak, director of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, said the discovery of the world’s oldest pearl in Abu Dhabi was proof that today’s business and cultural practices have deep roots, far from ancient times.
Experts believe the beads were used to trade with Mesopotamia – ancient Iraq – in exchange for pottery and other goods. Pearls have also been used as jewelry.
The pearl trade was once a mainstay of the UAE economy. The industry is slowly dying out as Japanese pearls dominate the market and conflict hurts the global economy. Instead, the UAE turned to the oil industry, making it the mainstay of its economy to this day.