The world's oldest known pearl is set to be exhibited at the Louvre Abu Dhabi this month, the first time it will be displayed to the public since its discovery, CNN reports.
The 8,000-year-old pearl was uncovered at an archaeological site on Marawah Island, off the coast of Abu Dhabi, according to the emirate's Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT).
Archaeologists made the discovery in the room of a structure they were excavating, the DCT said via a video posted to its official Twitter account Sunday, October 20. They then used radiocarbon dating to determine that it formed between 5800 B.C and 5600 B.C., making it the oldest pearl ever to be discovered.
The pearl, which was discovered in 2017, is less than a third of a centimeter in diameter and in photos, appears to be pale pink in color. It's set to feature in an upcoming exhibition at the Louvre Abu Dhabi titled "10,000 Years of Luxury," which opens on Oct. 30.
"The presence of pearls at archaeological sites is evidence that the pearl trade existed from at least as far back as the Neolithic period," said director of the DCT's Archaeological Survey Unit, Abdulla Khalfan Al-Kaabi, in the video.
Other historical sources and texts suggest that Abu Dhabi was widely known for its pearls, and was a major trading hub for them by the 16th century. According to a DCT press release, the Venetian jewel merchant Gasparo Balbi traveled through the region in the 16th century, and mentioned the islands off the Abu Dhabi coast as a source of pearls.