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Did you know that pearls are the oldest gem in the world, popular before humans even had written language!? It's no wonder a gem this old has gained quite the list of myths, superstitions, and mystical meanings. Read on to discover the history of the pearl and its many legends.
What is the History of Pearls?
Since pearls are the oldest of all gems, no one knows exactly when they were discovered, but they’re first mentioned in Chinese texts dating back to 2300 BC. Throughout history, pearls have been a prized gem favored by royalty and the elite. In ancient Rome, Julius Caesar went as far as to create a law stating that pearls may only be worn by the aristocracy. In ancient Egypt, to win a bet against Roman general Marc Antony and show the extent of Egypt’s wealth, Cleopatra crushed the pearl from an earring and dissolved it in liquid, drinking the pearl and proving that she could host the most expensive dinner party of all time. Antony watched on in awe, claiming her the winner of the bet. In 2019, archeologists in Abu Dhabi discovered an 8,000 year old pearl among the ruins of a Stone Age settlement, making it the oldest pearl ever found on earth.
What are Myths About Pearls?
Almost every culture has myths about pearls, most of them relating to love, beauty, and water. An ancient Chinese myth links pearls to dragons, stating that pearls fall from the sky when dragons fight. In ancient Roma, pearls were associated with Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, because Venus was born from the sea, just like a pearl. In Greece, pearls were believed to be created by the tears of Aphrodite, the Grecian equivalent of Venus, and that wearing pearls on the wedding day would stop a bride from shedding tears. In Japan, it was believed that pearls were created from the tears of mythical water creatures like mermaids.
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What is the Meaning Behind Pearls?
Their early links to royalty lend to pearls’ symbolism of wealth and status. Even in modern times, pearls are considered a “classy” gem, often associated with elegant figures like Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn. Their link to Venus, Aphrodite, and the moon give pearls a feminine energy, representing the divine feminine. Ever heard the phrase “A pearl of wisdom?” This idiom comes from the ancient association of pearls with wisdom learned over time and with experience, originating from the fact that pearls take years to develop within an oyster, clam, or mussel shell. Pearls are also believed to have metaphysical properties that calm emotions and balance hormone levels.
Wear Pearls When:
- You want to feel connected to feminine energy
- You want to give off an elegant vibe
- You want to harness your wisdom
- You want to balance emotions and feel more calm