Prized by various cultures around the world for thousands of years, pearls are the only gem created by animals. The glistening spheres continue to be used in jewellery and as embellishments and objects of beauty, but there is more to them than shimmer and shine.
Discover pearl symbolism, meaning, benefits, care, myths, and more below.
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What Are Pearls?
The question, “Where do pearls come from?” puzzled and fascinated people for millennia. Pearls are the only gems made by living creatures, specifically shelled molluscs such as marine oysters and freshwater mussels. The process begins when an irritant such as a grain of sand or a parasite enters the shell and threatens to damage the mollusc’s soft body.
The oyster or mussel secrete layers of nacre or mother-of-pearl to encase the irritant and prevent it from causing damage. Nacre consists of aragonite and conchiolin, which are the same materials that create the animal’s shell. Irritants can enter the mollusc’s shell naturally or they can be inserted manually, as in the case of cultured pearls.
Now that we’ve taken a brief look at the science behind the iridescent gems, let’s dive deeper into pearl symbolism and meaning.
What Is the Meaning Of Pearl?
Pearl meanings range from the sublime to the worldly, depending on where in the world you look. Given the gem’s otherworldly beauty, this is hardly surprising.
In the Hindu and Buddhist traditions of the Asian subcontinent and Far East, the flaming pearl is a symbol of the inner wisdom that enhances our connection to the divine. If we look to the west, we find pearls were a status symbol and sign of wealth in ancient Rome, where they also were thought to offer longevity to their owners. During the crusades, some knights kept the gems as protective amulets.
In modern gem lore, pearl meaning is that of the introspection we need to discover our true selves and our life’s purpose.
What Do Pearls Symbolise?
Pearl symbolism is all about wisdom, especially wisdom gained through experience. The gems also symbolises calmness, integrity, loyalty, purity, and serenity.
The most common colour of pearls is white, but various types of pearls are found in a variety of colours, depending on the mollusc and geographic location in which they were formed. A pearl’s colour adds another layer of symbolism. For example, white symbolises innocence, pink symbolises love and romance, yellow symbolises optimism and creativity, and black symbolises protection.
The old saying, “Pearls bring tears” doesn’t seem to be in keeping with wisdom and serenity pearl symbolism. This is probably because the saying may have been based on an old legend that claimed pearls were the solidified tears of mermaids! Pearl is the birthstone for the month of June.
Benefits And Healing Properties Of Pearl
According to ancient and modern metaphysics, pearls have a variety of benefits and healing properties. Some of those benefits and properties tie in with pearl symbolism. The gems promote serenity, protection, security, enlightenment, and inner confidence.
Pearls also help to balance your aura and to ground and centre you, even when everything around you is in chaos. As for their healing properties, pearls are said to support the healing of digestive system and muscular system conditions, promote fertility and easy childbirth, benefit people suffering from lung diseases, and restore your body’s natural rhythms.
How To Use Pearl
The easiest way to use the gems and enjoy the benefits of pearl meaning and symbolism is to wear them. Pearls are used to make exquisite earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets, and brooches. If you have a pearl that has not been set into jewellery, place it in a small silk or velvet bag and keep it in your pocket (preferably a breast pocket) or in your purse or handbag.
You can combine pearls with other gems to enhance their properties. If you want to use them for healing, use them with stones such as amethyst, blue lace agate, citrine, fairy quartz, green calcite, jade, obsidian, sunstone, or tiger iron. For protection, combine pearls with agate, jade, or malachite.
How To Take Care Of And Clean Pearl
Your pearls will last a lifetime if you take care of them and clean them properly. Follow these guidelines to care for your gems:
- Pearls can be scratched easily. Store your pearls in a silk or velvet bag, or keep them separate from your other jewellery, in your jewellery box.
- Don’t expose your pearls to too much sunlight or to extreme dryness, humidity, acids, or drastic temperature fluctuations.
- Wipe your pearls with a soft cloth to clean them after taking them off and before putting them away.
Myths About Pearls
Pearl symbolism and meaning have their origins in various myths and legends. The ancient Hindus believed the god Krishna found the first pearl, which he gave to his daughter as a wedding gift. The ancient Japanese believed pearls were the tears of mermaids, nymphs, and angels.
According to the ancient Persians, pearls were created by the meeting of the rainbow and the earth after a storm. The gem’s imperfections were created by lightning and thunder. The ancient Chinese believed pearls were formed in the head of a dragon. When fully formed, the dragon carried the pearl between its teeth.
Are Pearls Good For Love?
Pearls have been given as tokens of love, affection, and romance for thousands of years. Considering the pearl was Krishna’s wedding gift to his daughter, and the ancient Greeks believed that wearing pearls on her wedding day would prevent a woman from crying, we think pearls certainly are good for love (and a whole lot more).
Are Pearls Good Luck?
Forget the old saying, “Pearls bring tears.” Myth, legend, and religion, as well as ancient and modern metaphysics have spoken of the gems in glowing terms. Given pearl symbolism of wisdom, enlightenment, innocence, serenity, protection, and longevity, it’s safe to say that pearls are associated with good luck.
You can wear yours with confidence!