Pure, Precious and Peerless – an Inside Look at Pearls
Aside from being ideal gifts for certain anniversaries, pearls are also keenly identified with weddings. Said to be the tears of mermaids, pearls are believed to take the place of real tears in a bride’s married life. Hence, the practice of wearing them when she begins the journey. Ancient Greek beliefs also pegged pearls as cherished symbols of love, chastity and purity – coveted virtues in a bride that predict success in a marriage.
Some cultures take pearls to symbolize grief and misfortune, though. And, perhaps, this association between pearls and evasive happiness stems from the gem’s ingrained elusiveness. Natural pearls are difficult to chance upon and are very dear finds. This makes a string of naturally-occurring pearls very valuable – perchance, symbolic of the high value placed on genuine love and recurring happiness within a marriage.
Pearls are also the only gem produced by a living organism (others are mineral deposits found in rocks). Their desirability and sheen have rightfully earned them the title, Queen of Gems. The fact that pearls are formed when unwanted particles enter an oyster or mussel – particles which could potentially harm or irritate the animal – may be part of the reason that the gem has been associated with tears and hardship. In truth, though, pearls are a result of a mollusk’s healthy defense mechanism and should be identified more with the ability to overcome adversity, rather than with the existence of pain.
(Top Image: found here)