Pinctada margaritifera is historically important as a primary source of mother-of-pearl for carving and inlay. The earliest cases from the Red Sea and Persian Gulf are from sites dating from ancient Sumeria (2300 B.C.) in Iraq and from the Greco-Roman era in Cyprus and Jerusalem. At present P. margaritifera is the source of black Tahitian pearls, both natural and cultured. The latter have been produced commercially and most extensively in French Polynesia and the Cook Islands since the 1960s. ♦
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