The oldest natural pearl in the world has been discovered on an island near Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The 8,000-year-old pearl, which is smaller than a centimeter, was found at an archaeological site on Marawah Island, which also revealed the earliest architecture of the country.

The pearl was discovered in one of the rooms of the structure. Archaeologists used radiocarbon dating to determine the age of the pearl.

"The layers from which the pearl came have been carbon dated to 5800-5600 BC, during the Neolithic period," Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism said.

The Marawah site was made of many collapsed Neolithic stone structures. Excavators have also found ceramics, beads made from shell and stone, and flint arrowheads.

"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," Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, the chairman of DCT, said.

The pearl, which has been named as the "Abu Dhabi Pearl", will be displayed at the upcoming Louvre Abu Dhabi exhibition, "10,000 Years of Luxury" on Oct. 30.

According to Emirati experts, pearls were traded with Mesopotamia, or ancient Iraq, in exchange for ceramics and other goods. Pearls were also likely worn as jewelry.

Representative image of a pearl Pixabay