Collecting saltwater pearls has historically been a tricky task, with the desired mollusks living ten feet, or more often forty feet and deeper below sea level. Between the cold, limited air and other factors, a lot could go wrong for the divers. Regardless, the beauty of this gem sent countless people beneath the waves in regions as diverse as South America, Australia, India, the Persian Gulf and the Philippines.

Pearl diving still occurs today. In some places, like parts of Australia, the oysters used for culturing jewels are retrieved from the wild. In Japan, divers will demonstrate their skills to tourists, while other parts of the Pacific offers visitors the chance to swim for their own cultured pearls. Farmers also collect their gems in this fashion. Oxygen tanks and other dive equipment help reduce safety risks while making this underwater task simpler.