While the quintessential color of pearls is milky white, this organic gemstone comes in a range of colors including gold, pink, violet, red, green, yellow, blue and black, to name just a few. A colored pearl is unique, with each shade corresponding to a distinct symbolic meaning and significance.
Let’s take a closer look at this prized gem and its various symbolic meanings based on colors.
Pearl Color Meaning
The bridal favorite – white pearls. See this here.
White pearl is the most traditional and popular of all pearls and is predominantly preferred by brides.
White pearls are a symbol of faith, purity, innocence, honesty, peace, and simplicity. It also marks new beginnings and can be gifted to those who are celebrating a milestone in their lives, such as graduations or beginning a new career. This gem creates a tranquil and positive energy and has a calming beauty.
Golden baroque pearl bracelet. See this here.
Golden South Sea pearls are the quintessential golden variety, found in Australia and the Philippines.
These pearls are a symbol of wealth, affluence and prosperity. It marks the high social status and position of the wearer. These pearls are unique, rare and can be very expensive. The golden pearl can help the wearer in making righteous and morally sound decisions.
Pink pearl ring by LQC Jewellery. See it here.
Pink pearls are a symbol of love, passion, romance, fame, and positive energy. These pearls have a very subtle shade, giving them a look of elegance and femininity. They’re very rare in nature.
Pink pearls are a perfect gift for close friends and lovers. They can also be gifted to a graduating student, as a mark of a bright and positive future.
Akoya pearls with a hint of rose tint are defined as pink pearls. These pearls are predominantly found in the ponds of China and Japan.
Purple pearl earrings by Lily Pearl Design. See it here.
Purple pearls are one of the most enchanting and captivating of all pearl types. These pearls tend to represent prestige, royalty and nobility. They’re also very sophisticated in their appearance and have a look of femininity.
The color also symbolizes artistic talent, creativity, wisdom, and passion. The purple pearl can be gifted to those who have creative professions, such as teachers, musicians, philosophers, artists, and writers.
Blue pearl studs by February Ten. See them here.
Blue pearls are among the rarest of all pearl types and is formed as a result of a metabolic defect in the oyster or mollusk. While natural blue pearls are rare, there are many dyed varieties on the market.
Blue pearls are a symbol of tranquillity, honestly, truth and trust. Blue pearls are best gifted to those in need of greater peace and strength.
Freshwater, Akoya, Silver-Blue White South Sea, Sea of Cortez and Tahitian pearls are available in shades of blue and are found mainly in Japan and Vietnam.
Tahitian pearls with green tones. See them here.
Green pearls appear beautiful, fresh and rejuvenating. These pearls are a symbol of birth, creation, renewal, growth, nature, and hope. Green pearls are the ideal gift for those who are starting afresh, and can be given as an emblem of good luck and prosperity.
Natural green pearls are extremely rare and are rarely truly green. Akoya, Tahitian and South Sea pearls can sometimes be found in green colors, and can be found in China, Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Myanmar.
Yellow pearl ring by LQC Jewellery. See it here.
Yellow pearls aren’t as popular as other colors, but they have a unique look and personality. They are a symbol of happiness, joy, creativity, optimism and clarity. Yellow pearls can be gifted to those who are looking for more positive energy and cheerfulness.
South Sea pearls and Akoya pearls can produce white pearls with shades of yellow. They are found in the Philippines, China and Japan.
Chocolate pearl pendant by Rolay Design. See it here.
Chocolate colored pearls have become popular in recent times. They have a rich hue and texture, showcasing various hues of brown. These pearls are a symbol of healing, rejuvenation, comfort, harmony and protection. They make for perfect gifts for close friends, relatives, and family.
Tahitian pearls in chocolate shades can be found in French Polynesia.
Black pearl studs with diamond halo by Blue Nile. See them here.
Black pearls look elegant, attractive, and alluring. This variety of pearl is the second most popular, after the traditional white pearl. Black pearls are a symbol of strength, assertiveness, wisdom, mysteriousness and independence. They are gifted to people as an emblem of healing, positive energy and protection.
The best-known type of black pearl is Tahitian, which isn’t genuinely black but has dark shades. Akoya pearls produce dark shades, and they are found in French Polynesia, Mexico, Japan, and China.
The Symbolic Meaning of Pearls in Different Cultures
Since time immemorial, pearls have been valued and cherished by cultures across the globe. These regions have their own myths and stories regarding the origins of the gem. Let’s take a look at the meaning of pearls in some of the world’s most ancient civilizations.
The Japanese valued their pearls immensely and offered them as gifts to their gods. They were also used by Japanese fishermen as protective amulets against the unpredictable dangers of the sea. In Ancient Japanese society, people believed that pearls were the crystalized tears of magical creatures such as angels, nymphs, and mermaids. Today Japan remains one of the leading producers of high-quality pearls.
The Persians used pearls as a symbol of peace and harmony, in their religious rituals, prayers, and meditation. In some Persian beliefs, the creator deity himself was said to be housed in a pearl, within an oyster under the sea.
According to one Persian myth, pearls were believed to have originated from a raging thunderstorm. After the storm passed over, a rainbow from the sky connected with the earth to form a pearl. The pearl was incongruous due to the harmful effects of thunder and lightning.
The ancient Egyptians were particularly fond of pearls as a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Many Egyptian kings and queens were buried along with their pearl ornaments and jewelry. In Egyptian society, pearls were a rare and expensive commodity that could only be afforded by the royal family.
According to one Egyptian myth, Queen Cleopatra dissolved an extremely valuable pearl to display her affluence and wealth. She took off her pearl earring and dropped it into goblet of wine or vinegar. Much to the astonishment of Marc Anthony, the pearl dissolved in the liquid and Cleopatra drank it.
For the Chinese, the pearl was an emblem of great wisdom and intelligence. It was also used as a magical amulet to protect the wearer from negative energy and the malicious fire of the dragons.
In one Chinese myth, black pearls were said to originate in the head of a dragon. As the dragons grew, the pearl slowly made its way to the animal’s teeth. Brave and valiant warriors slew the dragon to harvest and collect the black pearls.
In Ancient Indian society, pearls were appreciated and venerated as a symbol of purity. These gems were believed to be as precious as diamonds, and were described in ancient myths, such as the Ramayana.
In Hindu folklore, pearls were described as dew drops that dropped from the night sky into a moonlit ocean. These pearls were then discovered by Lord Krishna, who gifted them to his daughter on her wedding day, as a symbol of purity, love, and companionship.
Pearls have an ancient history and profound cultural value. In contemporary society, they continue to be desired for their symbolic meaning and everlasting charm. Each type of pearl color has its own meanings associated with it, although the white and black varieties remain the most popular.