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Pearl Jewellery Meanings: Everything You Need to Know

Pearls have been prized for their beauty and rarity for centuries. From ancient Egypt to modern-day fashion, pearls remain a popular and luxurious choice for jewellery. As a leading jeweller in New Zealand, we are experts on all things pearl, with an extensive range of necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings in NZ.

In this blog post, we dive deep into the world of pearls, sharing pearl jewellery meanings, origins, and more. Learn the value of your pearl jewellery and how to keep them looking their best.

What is a Pearl?

Pearls are unparalleled organic gemstones with exceptional diversity in shape, size, and hue. Pearls are formed inside molluscs found in seawater or freshwater, commonly called oysters or mussels. These creatures have an evolutionary history dating back approximately 530 million years, with around 100,000 species currently existing.

Although naturally occurring pearls were once abundant worldwide, they have become increasingly rare due to overfishing and pollution. As a result, pearls are found in only one out of every 10,000 molluscs.

The remarkable variety in size, shape, and colour is due to the unique circumstances under which they form, including environmental influences and human intervention. Walker & Hall has a diverse range of pearls available to suit any occasion, from affordable freshwater pearls to the classic Akoya and luxurious South Sea varieties.

Pearl Jewellery Origins

Pearl jewellery has been around for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians were known to use pearls as early as 3000 BC. In ancient Rome, pearls were considered a symbol of wealth and status. During the Renaissance, pearls were popular among the nobility and often adorned clothing and accessories. Today, pearls remain a popular choice for jewellery, especially for weddings and other special occasions.

Meaning of Pearl Jewellery

Pearls are often associated with purity, innocence, and beauty, but pearl jewellery meanings vary between cultures. For example, in some cultures, pearls are believed to bring good luck and protection to the wearer.

In ancient China, pearls were believed to be the tears of dragons protecting against fire, while the ancient Persians connected them with the tears of the gods. The ancient Greeks associated pearls with the goddess Aphrodite, born from the sea and believed pearls were formed by the moonlight reflecting off the water. On the other hand, Europeans regarded pearls as a symbol of modesty, chastity, and purity, still using them as gems for brides.

Although natural pearls remain rare, they are no longer exclusively owned by the royal and affluent. The introduction of modern culturing methods in the 1930s has made pearls one of the most available precious stones worldwide.

The Value of Pearls

Seven key factors affect a pearl's value: surface, size, shape, nacre, colour, and lustre.

  • Surface Quality: The surface quality of a pearl refers to the presence or absence of blemishes, pits, and other imperfections. The smoother the surface, the more valuable the pearl.
  • Size: Larger pearls are rarer and more desirable.
  • Shape: Perfectly round pearls are the most prized. The thickness and quality of the nacre (the layers of material that create the pearl) are also significant factors, as thicker nacre results in a stronger, more lustrous pearl.
  • Colour: Rarer and more desirable colours command higher prices.
  • Lustre: The lustre or shine of the pearl influences its value, with pearls that possess a deep, reflective lustre being the most precious. 

Cleaning and Maintaining Pearl Jewellery

Proper care and maintenance will ensure your pearl jewellery continues looking its best. Pearls are delicate and easily damaged, so avoid wearing them in swimming pools or hot tubs, which use harsh chemicals to keep the water clean and clear.

When cleaning pearl jewellery, use a gentle cleaner specifically designed for pearls. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the surface. To maintain the lustre of your pearls, store them in a cool, dry place, avoiding exposure to direct sunlight. 

Find Stunning Pearl Jewellery at Walker & Hall

Pearls are a timeless and luxurious choice for jewellery. Whether looking for a classic strand of pearls or a modern and unique piece, there is a pearl jewellery option for everyone. By understanding the origins and the meanings behind these beautiful gems and how to care for them properly, you can enjoy your pearl jewellery for years.

Walker & Hall has a stunning range of pearl jewellery, including necklaces, bracelets, and earrings in New Zealand. We also have an incredible range of matching sets, so you can be confident that all your pearls match! Explore the full range and buy jewellery online today or visit us in-store to find the perfect piece of pearl jewellery for your collection.


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