Taking Pearl for a Whirl With an iridescent luster unlike any other gemstone, the enigmatic pearl has been a coveted adornment since ancient times. Known as "the Queen of Gems" as well as the world's oldest gemstone, this natural wonder was long considered the ultimate status symbol, reserved for wear exclusively by royalty for centuries. To add to the pearl's mystique, various cultures believed it to confer attributes ranging from purity to protection in battle. Natural, cultivated, real, faux, round, irregular-shaped, and virtually any shade, pearls are unrivaled for their versatility as a fashion accessory. Coco Chanel famously stated that, "A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls!", boosting their popularity in the early 20th century - a trend that continues to this day. This week, members of the Vintage Fashion Guild open their jewelry boxes and closets to show off pearl jewelry and all manner of pearlized or pearl embellished garments and accessories.