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The Folklore of Pearls

Pearl folklore spans centuries. This June birthstone’s iridescent beauty has inspired many stories.

Chains of pearls

Ancient Japanese folktales told that pearls were created from the tears of mythical creatures like mermaids and nymphs. Early Chinese civilizations believed that dragons carried pearls between their teeth and the dragon had to be slain to claim the pearls, which symbolized wisdom. The phrase “pearls of wisdom” is still used today.

Other cultures associated pearls with the moon, calling them “teardrops of the moon.” Hindu folklore explained that dewdrops fell from the moon into the sea, and Krishna picked one for his daughter on her wedding day.

Some ancient legends described pearls as tears cried by gods. It was believed that Eve cried pearls when she was exiled from Eden.

Pearls have also been symbols of wealth, purity, and fertility. Pearl jewelry is often worn by brides during weddings in Asia and in Western cultures.

Some cultures believed that pearls were bad luck, since the gemstones were ripped from living creatures. To counteract this, pearl jewelry had to be given out of love, without jealousy and malice.

If you’re looking for pearl jewelry for yourself or for someone with a June birthday, find an American Gem Society jeweler near you.

NOTE: The above is intended to educate on the myth, legend and historical lore of pearls and is not meant to be interpreted as fact.