Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein
Pearls are formed when something (like a grain of sand) irritates an oyster’s soft inner body, prompting it to secrete a substance called nacre. When layer upon layer of nacre builds up around the irritant, a pearl comes to be.
Pearls differ from many gemstones in that they’re formed organically — kind of a fluke, really — whereas stones like diamonds and emeralds are mined from the earth. Pearls need no special cutting or polishing to enhance their lustrous beauty.
Pearls are found around the world. Once, the Persian Gulf with its natural oyster beds was the center of the pearl trade. However, in 1894, a man named Mikimoto created the first cultured pearl by manually entering an irritant to force an oyster to form a pearl, forever changing the industry. Akoya Pearls are to this day valued for their luster and colors.
Still classified as a gemstone, Pearl has been prized for millennia. Used in jewelry at least as far back as ancient Greece, Pearl symbolizes purity, innocence, and faith.
Thirteenth Century explorer Marco Polo reportedly gave Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan a 575 carat pearl. Prince Phillip II of Spain in the 16th Century gifted his bride the pearl called La Peregrina, which Richard Burton gave his wife Elizabeth Taylor in the 1960s.
Pearls were the favorite stones of Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, and Jackie Kennedy. And lest you think Pearl is only a gem for old ladies, consider how today’s style icons such as Kate Middleton, Angelina Jolie, and Sarah Jessica Parker are rocking pearl jewelry!
Pearls are about two percent water and have a hardness of about 3 on the 1-10 Mohs Scale. That means you should store them separately from other stones, keep them away from chemicals, and avoid extreme heat (so they won’t dry out and develop hairline cracks).
The traditional birthstone for the month of June, Pearls are popular gifts for brides. Oddly, they’re not typically worn by men, though that’s not always been the case. In fact, ancient kings wore ropes of pearls as a symbol of their wealth, and knights in the Dark Ages wore pearls on the battlefield for safety.
Pearls come in shades of white, cream, brown, black, pink, gold, and blue. They’re touted as digestive aids, skin beautifiers, hormone regulators, and stress level reducers, among other claims. Pearl is believed to attract prosperity, abundance, luck, and wealth.
Pearls are said to balance all Chakras, but are most directly associated with the Third Eye, Sacral, and Crown.
Note: The claims here aren’t meant to take the place of medical advice. They’re based on folklore and other sources, and likely “work” best if one’s belief is strong enough!