Palau – 2006 – 5 Dollars – Shell Coin Black Pearl (PROOF)
25 gram .925 silver, diameter 38.61 mm, mintage 2500 including a real black pearl.
As a dewdrop falling to earth from Mount Olympus under a full moon is how Greek legend sees the creation of the first
pearl. The Greek name of Margarites no doubt originates from the Persian language where it means ?Child of the light?.
The Latin speakers assumed the name of Margarita for pearl, extended to include the meaning of ?beloved?, thus
displaying the high esteem in which the pearl was held throughout the whole of Antiquity. In addition to their enchanting
beauty, this also has to do with the extreme rarity of natural pearls ? they are after all a pure freak of nature.
From a chemical point of view a pearl consists solely of two different forms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and a few
percent of water. Thus, its components are identical to those of mother-of-pearl. Thanks to the somewhat different
composition and creation process, however, pearls are perceptively harder and much more resilient. Unfortunately, the
precious objects can tolerate neither heat nor acid, as Cleopatra clearly proved in the legendary bet with Mark Anthony:
In order to prove her love, she bet that she would prepare the Roman general the most expensive meal of all time.
He accepted and was forced to watch nonplussed as the queen dissolved the large drop shaped pearl of her earring in
the wine and drank it. When she offered him the pearl from the second piece of jewellery, he had to admit defeat. The
pearl can be just as varied in colour as it is in form, depending on the type of mussel, its habitat and the water
temperature. It ranges from white via yellow and pink to quite dark tones.
Particularly coveted are the famous black pearls of the Cook Islands. A very special coinage of this island state in the
South Pacific now beds such a black pearl in the shell of the pearl oyster (lat. pinctada margaritifera). Thanks to its
fascinating beauty and the strictly limited edition of 2,500 pieces, the coin will no doubt soon become a rare treasure, just
like a real pearl in fact!