It’s the reason deep sea divers go into the business. Years back, salvagers found thousands of pearls buried in a small lead box in the 17th century Spanish galleon Santa Margarita, along with eight gold chains and countless other artifacts. The find is unusual in that the pearls were in excellent condition. Normally, pearls do not hold up well in ocean water, once they’ve been detached from their mother oyster shell. In this case, however, the pearls were preserved, ironically, by ocean-bottom silt that had shifted into the sealed box over time. The pearls are rare because of their age and their amazingly good condition. To best care for your own pearls, wipe with a soft, damp cloth after use, and store in a cloth or suede pouch, away from other jewelry.
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