“I will be bright, and shine in pearl and gold.”
– Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus
Luminous, iridescent and reminiscent of the moon, the pearl is one of the most ancient and beloved of all gems. Representing serenity, virtuous purity and the hidden nature of the human soul, for centuries the pearl was considered to be of divine origin, or to be sacred to divinity. Highly sensitive to their environment, it was believed that a person’s pearls would reflect their health – shining brightly when a person was in good health and losing luster when a person became ill. Indeed, pearls are unusual in that they are the only precious gem that are not technically gemstones as they are produced in a sea creature rather than from a mine in the earth.
Antique Edwardian Natural Baroque Pearl and Diamond Pin
A common belief was that pearls were created when oysters came up to the surface of the ocean to catch drops of rain or dew in their shells. These drops from the heavens would then harden – grown, it was said, by the influence of moonlight – into beautiful pearls with color and quality dependent on when, precisely, the oyster had caught the droplet – for example, a droplet caught on a foggy evening might result in a murky, dark pearl.
The pearl was held sacred in innumerable cultures including the ancient Greco-Roman civilizations, which considered it to be a favorite gem of Aphrodite (Venus), the ancient Chinese and Japanese cultures which believed that pearls were the product of a rain god (a sky dragon), and the Persian Zoroastrians who thought the sun’s influence rather than the moon’s helped to create pearls. In each culture, the pearl seemed to replicate the divine by its supposed duality – formed in the ocean by the element of water but influenced by the opposing element of fire through its association with the sun or moon. Furthermore, the bifold nature of the gem is exaggerated by its genesis through the dichotomy of its smoothly beauteous form being sprung from the rough, uncouth oyster shell.
Antique Victorian Natural and Cultured Pearl Earrings
The pearl is the traditional birthstone for the month of June, though recent years have added the alexandrite as well as the moonstone. As the dominant sign of June is the Gemini – a notoriously flighty air sign – and the pearl is often associated with the following water sign, Cancer, it might seem strange that the pearl be related to the Gemini. However, upon closer inspection the dualistic nature of both creates a bridge that bonds this Zodiac sign and birthstone.
Gemini, figured in the Zodiac as the twins Castor and Pollux, symbolizes the duality of all things. By its twinned nature, it represents all universal binaries and opposites and harmonious contradiction. Though the Gemini personality is often considered to be fickle and restless, people born under this sign are often luminously intelligent, highly competent and excessively charming. Often considered to be the most personally attractive of all the Zodiacal signs, Gemini’s charismatic energy draws others into their sphere and adapts to any situation.
Baroque Pearl and Diamond Butterfly Brooch
Like the iridescent pearl, the Gemini shines whether alone or in company. The similarities, however, do not end there. Both the gem and the Gemini feature an inner beauty that lies hidden beneath a rough and tumble exterior. As legendary beliefs regarding the pearl’s origins prove, both have been considered as representative of the essential duality of the universe and both therefore represent a two-fold nature. Too, both are highly adaptable – just as the Gemini will seem incandescent in a variety of situations, so too can pearls be worn in a variety of ways: as classic multiple or single strand necklaces, set into bold bracelets, used as the daintiest and most ladylike of accents, or artistically arranged in more avant-garde designs.
Pearl and Diamond Bangle Bracelet
Of course, even though the variety of colors would appeal to Gemini’s fluid style, it also ensures that there is pearl jewelry to suit virtually every aesthetic and temperament. Whether you favor femininity and classic chic or edgy elegance, there is a precious pearl piece that you are sure to fall in love with!