Pearl Origins: A Gem, but Not a Stone

Pearls are known to be one of the birthstones for the month of June. The irony is that while a pearl is a gem, it is not actually a stone. Most gemstones are minerals that formed beneath the Earth’s surface. It is actually a calcium carbonate that is created from a living mollusk.

The making of a pearl is a long process and it begins by the entrance of any irritant, foreign organism, or parasite into the shell and brings disruption to the mollusk’s natural state. For survival purposes, the mollusk secretes a special fluid (in certain varieties of mollusks, this is called nacre). Over time, layers of the fluid are added to the coating. Natural pearls take several years to fully develop. The longer time given to develop, the more layers are added which contributes to a bigger and unique pearl. 

Pearl Lore and Mythology: The Stuff of Legends

The Pearl is steeped in legend and mythos. No one precisely knows when the first pearl came into human hands, but the first recorded use of them was by a Chinese Historian in 2,206 BCE. For thousands of years, it has been used in adornments, culture, stories and folklore, and remedies.

There are few legends surrounding tears that have magically transformed into pearls, most likely due to their shape and watery origins. In Japanese mythology, pearls were formed when mythical creatures, such as nymphs or mermaids, cried. The Judeo-Christian mythos it is said that when God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden, they wept. Eve’s tears turned into white pearls and Adam’s tears turned into black pearls and in Ancient Greece, they were said to be tears of the Gods. 

In ancient Vedic texts, The Pearl was born of the waters of Earth and Heaven’s Power, fertilized by a flash of lightning. Therefore the Pearl is considered to be the Daughter of the Moon. In Tahitian mythos, the God of Peace and Fertility, Oro, is said to have visited earth a rainbow to bring a magical oyster. He offered the pearl to Princess Bora Bora as a symbol of his love. In Persian legends, Pearls were created when a rainbow met the earth after a storm.  

Pearls are also associated with the planet Venus. In Roman mythology, Venus, the Goddess of Love and Beauty was born of the ocean, fully grown, emerging from the shell of an oyster (in some tellings). Pearls have often been associated with femininity, Goddess energy, and beauty. 

Pearl Meaning: Transformative Self Care & Creation

Transformation is one of the key words that can be associated with Pearl. As described earlier, when an foreign body or irritant gets inside its shell, the mollusk secretes a fluid that surrounds the irritant and eventually hardens. Over time, more layers are added and the pearl transforms in size and shape. Pretty much anywhere, the Pearl is something that is considered to be beautiful, unique, and precious.

The mollusk takes something negative, unwanted, or irritating to itself and turns it into something new. This responsive act of survival is energy that we can connect with. It helps us to take the “bad” and transform it into something good. It helps to channel our difficult emotions, thoughts, and sometimes behaviors into something creative, such as art, dance, music, poetry, gardening, baking, building, etc. These are some of the things that make life beautiful, the expression of the soul and make life worth living. Pearl can help us to remember that during difficult times. 

Pearl is also a call and commitment to self care. In today’s hustle culture, self care can be seen as a form of escapism. Watching tv or avoiding social functions, but the author Brianna Wiest makes a point worth noting, “True self care is not salt baths and chocolate cake. It is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.” The relationship between mollusk and pearl is connected to this idea. When confronted with the irritant, the mollusk builds something out of it and keeps adding layers consistently over time. Pearls, especially the big ones, are made up of thousands of layers. That is commitment. The mollusk isn’t escaping from the fear or uncomfortable thing, it is bravely doing the right thing for itself. 

Pearl can help us approach our challenges and traumas in life in a similar way. We can take that scary thing, that hurtful thing, and say, “I can do something with this” consistently and valiantly.

Pearl can also assist with shielding. A pearl is essentially a protective barrier or shield. As we go through our day to day lives, carrying even a single pearl with us, can help us create our own gentle shield. It helps create our own protective layer and with practice and consistency, we will be able to add more layers to our shields.

Pearl Insights: An Experience All Your Own & the Wisdom that Comes with It

No two pearls are the same. Even those made from the same mollusk. Pearl helps you to remember that your journey is your own. Over time, pearls develop in their own unique shape and can become more rich in color. So too will you. Pearl will help you to intuitively know when to make your mark on the world and when to shine. 

A pearl is not formed overnight. It takes years to develop. The more years it takes, the bigger the pearl, the more layers it has. As we age, we gain experience and wisdom. Eventually all these layers of experience can contribute to wisdom from lessons learned.

This connection, along with the idea of a pearl being special, is where we get the phrase, “Pearls of Wisdom”.

Pearl Healing: Calming & Soothing the Emotions

There is a saying that if one does not take a dive into the deep waters, one will never find a pearl. Given that mollusks are creatures of the water, this makes sense. Because of its watery origins and the fact that many pearls look like the moon, the pearl is associated with calming and soothing energy as well as emotional healing. For this same reason, it is also associated with fertility.

Pearls have been worn by women who experience discomfort during their pregnancy and by women who are in active labor. It is said that the soothing energy of the pearl helps to ease the discomfort.  It has also been used as a remedy for angry tempers and knee-jerk reactions. 

Working with Pearl: Carry Self-Care On-the-Go

One of the most enjoyable ways to work with Pearl is to wear it. Self-decoration is a time honored practice that includes intention and love. It is available in necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings. When you wear this stone, you carry wisdom, luck, and self care with you. Simply touch the piece that you are wearing if you need a moment to pause and “tap in”.

An efficient way to work with Pearl is simply to carry it in your pocket. Be aware that many pearls can scratch easily. They are rather delicate. Avoid having them mixed with harder stones (especially Diamonds or Topaz) The point is to have it accessible. Just having it near you is enough to feel and call on its energy. You can also keep it by your bedside. 

Caring for Your Pearls

Many jewelers suggest wiping them with a soft, damp (not wet) cloth and to avoid jewelry cleaners because many contain ammonia. You can also use warm and mild soapy water, if need be. Be sure to rinse the pearls well, lay them on a clean towel and allow them to dry completely. If you have pearls that are strung on a silk string, it is advised to have them restrung once a year to avoid the breaking of the string.


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June 24, 2022