Pearls are a girl’s best friend, or so the saying goes. Whether or not that’s true, I think it shows that for most women, jewelry isn’t just about how it looks but also about the emotions, event, or person associated with each piece. Jewelry, whether it’s black pearls or a specific birthstone or rose gold, has special meanings. Maybe when you wear it, you remember the person who gave it to you, or the occasion for which it was given, or another special significance attached to it.
I received this necklace in exchange for this review; all opinions expressed are my own.
I don’t have a lot of jewelry, and very little of it is very expensive. Like any girl, though, I love looking at pretty, sparkly necklaces, rings and bracelets. Browsing the Pearl Source recently was a lot of fun, but what I noticed most was the emotions invoked in me as I looked at each piece. For example, my best friend gave me a pair of simple pearl stud earrings when I was her bridesmaid at her wedding. They are simple, classy earrings that bring back the excitement and happiness of that day. The pearl string necklaces made me think of various novels or TV shows where pearls played a particular role—like Emily Gilmore wanting to giving her granddaughter Rory a string of pearls for her birthday, because it’s a classy, traditional gift.
The pearl that caught my eye was the Tahitian South Sea Pearl Adrian Pendant. A black pearl hangs delicately below a silver knot from a simple silver chain. The swooping curves of the knot compliment the roundness of the black pearl. The necklace is just long enough that the pearl sits below my collar bone, making it perfect to wear with a variety of necklines.
The rareness of the black pearl also drew me to this piece of pearl jewelry. When we think of pearls, most of us think of white pearls—they are classy and traditional. Black pearls are less common but just as beautiful. Tahitian pearls are the only natural black pearls; they are grown in the black lip oysters found around Tahiti. Once upon a time, these pearls were so rare that they were worn only by royalty.
The Meaning of Black Pearls
In China, black pearls are a symbol of wisdom. Legends says that they were formed within the head of a dragon. Once the pearls were mature, they were carried between the dragon’s teeth and one had to cut the dragon’s head to find the pearls. Along with wisdom, black pearls also represent wealth and prosperity, protection, independence, allure, strength and mystery. Any of those is a beautiful reason to wear black pearls!
In the Old Testament, pearls are also compared to wisdom, when Job asks,
But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
Gold and glass cannot equal it,
nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
the price of wisdom is above pearls.
In the New Testament, Jesus used a pearl to show the value of faith:
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. (Matthew 13:44-46 RSVCE)
Pearl jewelry thus gives me a subtle reminder to seek faith and wisdom more than just beauty and trinkets. In this day when it’s not always okay to show our faith by wearing a crucifix or cross, pearl jewelry can be a beautiful way to remind yourself of the things you treasure. Sometimes it seems that wisdom and faith are becoming as rare as black pearls once were.
Why I Wear My Pearl Jewelry
For me, pearls represent strength in adversity as well as wisdom and faith. We all know that pearls are formed when a piece of dirt gets into an oyster’s shell. In order to protect its soft skin from the irritation of the dirt, the oyster begins to cover the dirt with a special coating. Over a couple of years, that process develops the pearl—a soft round ball that no longer irritates the oyster.
Many of us have been through difficult times, especially in the past several years. Maybe you’ve dealt with a painful “grain of sand” in your life—chronic pain, infertility, broken relationships, unemployment, cancer, loss of loved ones, etc. Perhaps, like me and St. Paul, you’ve prayed over and over again for God to take that “grain of “sand” or “thorn in the flesh” away from you, to release you from its pain. For whatever reason, God doesn’t always answer that prayer. With faith and wisdom, we can turn those “grains of sand” into pearls in our lives.
When Paul prayed for God to take away his struggles, God answered him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I dislike weakness. I grew up in a family of DIYers, where strength was good and emotions were bad. Too often, I push myself to handle things on my own, rather than admitting my weakness and asking for help, whether from friends or from God. My pearl jewelry can be a reminder of God’s grace, wrapping around the difficulties in my life, so that with St. Paul, I can say, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Earlier this year, I reread Joni Eareckson’s autobiography. After breaking her neck in a diving accident at age 17, she’s lived as a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. For the first several years after her accident, she struggled with depression and hopelessness at her complete dependence on others. Slowly, God brought people into her life who helped her grow in faith and see that this “grain of sand” was to become a pearl for His glory. As a result of her accident, Joni has had the opportunity to share God’s love with millions of others.
Reading Jony’s story during a difficult time in my own life really helped me reflect on my own struggles. Just as a pearl takes a couple years (or more) to develop in an oyster, we may not always see the purposes of our sufferings when we are in the midst of them. It’s only from the perspective of a few years (and a lot of faith) that we can look back on that “grain of sand” and see how God has used it in our lives. At least, that is my prayer… that I may make of this suffering a beautiful pearl for Him, and not just leave it as a painful lump of dirt in my life.
Shop the Pearl Source
Maybe, like me, you’ve been through a lot in the past few years. Maybe you’ve faced struggles that have left you feeling more like the dirt inside the oyster than the pearl. Maybe you’ve also asked (screamed for?) God to remove these struggles from you. Please know that you are in my prayers, and that God is walking through these struggles with you, wrapping you in His arms even as the oyster wraps that dirt in pearlescent coating.
If a small, precious pearl can remind you to face your struggles with strength and wisdom and faith, and help you feel protected and independent and alluring, consider shopping the Pearl Source. Maybe you could drop a few hints for friends or family members who are wondering what to get you for Christmas this year. May God bless you with prosperity—emotionally, spiritually and physically—in the coming year.
What do your jewelry represent to you? What is your favourite piece of jewelry? Do you have any pearls?