Pearls have been used in jewelry as far back as ancient Greece, and up until the 20th century pearls were considered one of the most valued gems. In the sixteenth century, England was known as the Pearl Age, reflecting the elevated status associated with pearls at that time, being linked to royalty and wealth.
Many brides also choose pearls for themselves and/or their bridesmaids. Brides wearing pearls can be traced all the way back to the ancient Greeks who associated the pearl with love and marriage, and unrivaled beauty. The Greeks also believed the pearl would promote marital harmony and prevent newlywed brides from crying.
In many ancient societies the pearl symbolized the moon and believed to be infused with magical properties. Ancient Chinese civilizations believed that wearing pearls protected a person from fire and dragons, and other cultures have associated pearls with chastity and modesty. In Victorian England small pearls were often used in mourning jewelry to symbolize tears.
Marilyn Monroe, famously know for singing “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” said in an interview, that her most treasured pieces of jewelry was a simple sixteen-inch string of pearls given to her by Joe DiMaggio during their honeymoon in Japan. Grace Kelly also favored pearls, both during her Hollywood screen star days and when she became Princess Grace of Monaco as her husband, Prince Rainier, presented her with a luxurious pearl and diamond jewelry set that she wore frequently.
Along with being the birthstone for the month of June, pearls symbolize wisdom acquired through experience. They are believed to attract wealth and luck as well as offer protection. The pearl is also said to symbolize the purity, generosity, integrity, and loyalty of its wearer.