The luster of pearls has inspired and intrigued people since the dawn of civilization. Ancient myths tell fantastic stories of their origin. The fact that salt water pearls originated in oysters was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Russian river pearls were used in abundance on clothing and in ecclesiastical art. In China, where pearls have been cultivated since the 13th century, they are symbols of good luck. Pearls are also associated with purity, innocence and peace.