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The World’s Oldest Pearl Is Headed to the Louvre Abu Dhabi

COURTESY ABU DHABI DEPARTMENT OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

“The Abu Dhabi Pearl.”

COURTESY ABU DHABI DEPARTMENT OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

This fall, visitors to the Louvre Abu Dhabi can catch a glimpse of the world’s oldest known pearl at “10,000 Years of Luxury,” an exhibition opening October 30.

Archaeologists discovered the “Abu Dhabi Pearl,” as it’s been dubbed, during excavations at Marawah Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi. The pale pink bead, measuring less than a third of a centimeter in diameter, has been radiocarbon dated between 5800 and 5600 B.C., making it approximately 8,000 years old.

The Department of Culture and Tourism announced the discovery and its Louvre appears via a video posted to its official Twitter account Sunday. According to Emerati experts, the pearl proves that pearls had been traded in the region since Neolithic times. “The discovery of the oldest pearl in the world in Abu Dhabi makes it clear that so much of our recent economic and cultural history has deep roots that stretch back to the dawn of prehistory,” said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, the chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism.

Jointly organized by Louvre Abu Dhabi, Musée des Arts Décoratifs and Agence France-Muséums,“10,000 Years of Luxury” will feature around 350 objects drawn from each institute’s collections; the “Abu Dhabi Pearl” joins vintage and contemporary couture fashions, furniture, and, of course, jewelry.

“In this exhibition, we are exploring humanity’s connection to luxury across time and cultures, taking a long lens on the subject from ancient treasures to present day haute couture, Manuel Rabaté, director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, told Khaleej Times. “This approach is consistent with Louvre Abu Dhabi’s universal narrative.”

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