And it is true that no two pearls are identical, in which I believe lays much of their beauty. At home I have an old 35mm film canister (blast from the past) that contains some gorgeous pearls harvested from the sea by my brother during his time spent at a pearl farm near Broome in Australia. They are all irregular and unpolished and very beautiful.

Pearl jewellery is a hugely popular category for Miss Milly, and with the advent of dying and colour, and the evolution of design, there are many contemporary and unusual styles to be found. Our Rainbow Pearl Necklace is consistently one of our best-sellers, and the cobalt blue Milly Pearl jewellery has been hugely popular this year.

Since ancient times, pearls have symbolised unblemished perfection, and have been the ideal wedding gift to represent purity. In the Hindu religion, the presentation of an undrilled pearl and its piercing has formed part of the marriage ceremony. Today in the UK, pearls are still a very popular choice for bridal jewellery.

Pearls are the oldest known gem and were the most valuable for a long time. The ancient Egyptians were buried with them and in classical Rome only people above a certain rank were allowed to wear pearl jewellery. Now, with the advent of pearl cultivation, they are more affordable and available to the mass market.

The most revered pearls are from the South Sea, off the waters of Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand. Their legacy reaches back to the times of early Aboriginal people who believed the gem had supernatural powers and used them in dream interpretation.

Pearls are graded in terms of lustre, surface, shape, colour and size with the roundest, shiniest, largest and smoothest being the most prized, whilst colour is down to individual preference. For us, and we are obviously biased, we prefer the look and individuality of the baroque freshwater pearls that make up our jewellery as they make the pieces more interesting.

If you're also a fan of pearls and pearl jewellery, a trip to the Victoria & Albert Museum this Winter might be in order to see the Pearls exhibition running daily until 19 January 2014.

Pearl information harvested from: