Pearls are not just classic and timeless jewelry but they also appear in many legends and folk stories around the world.
But what do pearls symbolize? A pearl often stands for wisdom, calm and peace. It is also associated with healing properties.
In this article, we explore what pearls are and their symbolism, meaning and myths.
What Are Pearls?
Pearls are made by shelled mollusks, such as freshwater mussels and marine oysters. The mollusk creates a pearl when a grain of sand or a parasite enters its shell.
The animal secrets layers of a mother-of-pearl material which helps to prevent any damage to the shell (see also ‘What Is Abalone And Why Is It So Special?‘).
This allows a pearl to grow inside the mollusk until it is removed.
What Do Pearls Symbolize?
Pearls and mother-of-pearl material has a wide variety of meanings.
Pearls are often associated with wisdom that is gained through experience. This is also said to lead to calmness, purity and integrity.
Through their meaning related to wisdom, pearls also stand for the healing process. Ancient metaphysics believed that the pearl had healing properties.
They are said to promote protection against negative energies, inner confidence and enlightenment.
As part of traditional pearl symbolism, this gem also helps to center you and balance your aura.
Many people also think that pearls have physical effects, such as the promotion of fertility and improvements of the digestive system.
Pearls are considered one of the twelve gemstones associated with birthdays. A pearl is the birthstone for June (see also, ‘What is May’s Birthstone?‘).
Pearl Wedding Anniversary
In the past, women who were married for 30 years would be presented with a beautiful set of pearls.
While this tradition is mostly gone today, couples who are married for 30 years celebrate their 30th pearl wedding anniversary.
Are Pearls Lucky?
Pearls symbolize wisdom as well as love and affection. This means that they are often give as good luck tokens.
Many myths and folklore tales also associate a pearl with wealth and good fortune.
Legends Of Pearl
There are a wide variety of myths and folktales that talk about precious pearls that come from the sea.
While these myths aren’t often true, they symbolize the importance of these beautiful games to ancient civilizations and people.
Ancient Persian Legend
According to legend from ancient Persia, pearls are the result of a storm. Each time a rainbow touches the earth after a heavy storm, a pearl is created.
Persians also believed that the imperfections of a pearl are the result of thunder and lightning hitting the ground.
Ancient Japanese Legend
The people of Japan believed that pearls were created from the tears of different mythical creatures.
These fascinating creatures were mermaids, angels (see also, ‘What is My Angel Number?‘) and even nymphs.
Ancient Egyptian Legend
Pearls have a long history in Ancient Egypt. Pharaohs would be buried with pearls and valuable gold, so they had a way to keep their living standards in the afterlife.
But pearls aren’t just an important part of Egyptian traditions. They are also associated with many legends.
For example, one legend says that the famous queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, once took the pearl of an earring, dissolved it and drank it.
This is said to symbolize that the wealth of the nation could disappear in an instant by just swallowing it.
Both Hinduism and Buddhism make the pearl an important gem in some folk tales. Hindu myths say that pearls (see also, ‘What Does the Bible Say About Pearls?‘) are the dew drops that come from the sky during the night.
They fall silently into the ocean when everyone is sleeping.
There are also pearl stories related to the many different Hindu gods. One story talks about Krishna who is said to have taken the very first pearl from the sea.
He gave it to his love Pandaia on their wedding day. This makes pearls a famous wedding gift which symbolizes love, union and purity.
Ancient Chinese Legend
In Ancient China, people perceived black pearls as a symbol of wisdom. The Chinese thought that these gems were created inside a dragon’s head.
Once the pearls were grown to the right size, the dragon would carry them between its teeth. In order to catch a pearl, you would have to slay the dragon.
Legends from Polynesia often speak of the rare Tahitian black pearl. The myth says that the fertility and peace god known as Oro used to travel a rainbow to get to earth.
Each time he descended to earth to visit the Polynesians, he would bring a magical oyster with him.
The black pearl was made in this beautiful oyster known as the Ufi.
Some parts of the legend also talk about how Oro gave one of these black pearls to a Polynesian queen as a symbol of his loyal love.
The Meaning Of Different Colored Pearls
Pearls come in a variety of sizes and colors. The different colors of pearls also have inspired many legends and their own symbolism (see also, ‘Sapphire: Symbolism & Legends‘).
Most commonly found pearls are white with a subtle shimmer. White pearls symbolize purity, innocence, loyalty and wisdom.
Besides the famous ship from the Pirates of the Caribbean (the Black Pearl), black pearls have a long history in many civilizations across the world.
The legends are usually found where you can also find black pearls, such as in China, Polynesia and other tropical islands.
Black pearls symbolize protection but also undying love. Their black color also sometimes stands for deeper meaning and a connection between soulmates.
Golden pearls are especially elegant due to their gold shimmer. They are often associated with luck, wealth and prosperity.
You can often find gold pearls in Chinese mythology where a dragon carries these pearls between its teeth.
Yellow pearls are said to reflect the sunlight. They symbolize creativity and optimism and they are said to improve the mood of their wearer.
With their sweet pink shimmer, pink pearls stand for love, loyalty and desire.
Pearls are a symbol of wisdom that has been gained through experience. They also represent good fortune, protection and purity.