THE SYMBOLISM OF PEARLS

Everyone knows that pearls are traditional – a classic, timeless gemstone, appropriate for any occasion. Pearls transcend culture and defy the centuries – they are as beloved now, all around the world, as they were hundreds of years ago.

With a history this rich and varied, it’s no wonder that there are a multitude of proverbs, sayings, and quotations about pearls. Each one references the pearl as a symbol of something – usually something rare, precious, and beautiful.

Running throughout all these sayings, we can find several common themes. There are just some things that pearls always represent to humans, no matter where they are from and what time period they were born in. Let’s explore the symbolism inherent in these themes, by delving into a collection of some of the most famous quotes about pearls.

Elegance

In modern times, pearls have come to symbolize a sense of elegance. When a lady wears pearls, she demonstrates her impeccable style and grace, her classic sense of beauty…and elegance. Some of the most influential leading ladies of fashion and style over the years have made no secret of their love affair with pearls – and here are their quotes to prove it.

“Pearls are always appropriate.” – Jackie Kennedy

“A women needs ropes and ropes of pearls.” – Coco Chanel

“I feel undressed if I don’t have my pearls on. My pearls are my security blanket.” – Lady Sarah Churchill

“I favor pearls on screen and in my private life.” – Grace Kelly

“You can’t ever go wrong with pearls. Perhaps pearls are a girl’s best friend after all.” – Ki Hackney

Romance

What bride doesn’t think of wearing pearls on her wedding day? Pearls are the epitome of romance and femininity, perfect for that walk down the aisle. And as such, they were the perfect symbol for Shakespeare to use in some of his romantic works.

“She is mine own, and I as rich in having such a jewel, as twenty seas, if all their sand were pearl, the water nectar, and the rocks pure gold.” – William Shakepeare

“She is a pearl, whose price hath launch’d above a thousand ships.” – from Midsummer’s Night Dream, Shakespeare

Comparing Helen of Troy to a pearl? Now that’s some high praise – for both of them!

Virtue

The purity and whiteness of traditional pearls makes them the perfect symbol of goodness and virtue, as well. Writers over the centuries have enjoyed drawing this comparison.

“Moderation is the silken string running through the pearl chain of all virtues.” -Joseph Hall

“Collect as precious pearls the words of the wise and virtuous.” – Abd-el-Kadar

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” – The Bible

Beauty

Of course, after so many centuries of popularity, pearls pop up in many other contexts as well throughout the literature of the world. But every one proclaims their beauty and rarity.

“All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.” – Frederico Fellini

If you had the chance to come up with a quotation about pearls, what would it be? We’d love to add your quote to those of the greats! Share it with us in the comments section below!