Throughout history, pearls have been greatly prized by various civilizations, such as the Romans, Egyptians and Chinese. Known as the “Queen of Gems”, pearls became a popular choice for wedding jewelry as early as 3,000 years ago. The ancient Hindu book known as the Rigveda tells a story of Krishna plucking the first pearls from the sea to give to his daughter Pandaia as a wedding gift.
The ancient Greeks referred to pearls as the “Tears of the Gods” and encouraged brides to wear the gems on their wedding day. When added to wedding attire, these “tears” were thought to take the place of tears that the bride might shed at her wedding. Pearls were also said to promote marital bliss long after the ceremony took place.
Pearls also symbolize purity, innocence and chastity, making them a popular choice for weddings in the Middle Ages, when these qualities were highly prized and expected in women. Knights who left their ladies behind to do battle in the Crusades would return bearing pearls as gifts. The ladies would adorn themselves with the gems when they married their knights.
In more recent times, pearls have remained a wedding mainstay. Pearl bracelets or earrings are popular choices for bridesmaid gifts, tokens given by the bride in appreciation for the bridesmaids’ participation in the ceremony. Brides themselves often don pearl necklaces, usually given by their fathers, and earrings in various styles.
Modern brides may also choose pearls for a number of body piercings. Solid or twisted captive bead rings in yellow or white gold are suitable for use in the belly button, ear, lip, and many other locations. Belly button dangle pieces with several pearls are also available, as are curved and straight barbells for multiple areas. Labret studs featuring a single pearl coordinate nicely with pearl stud earrings, as do nose bone and twist jewelry.
Traditional wedding themes may call for classic white pearls, but today’s brides can choose pearl body jewelry in a rainbow of hues. Peacock pearls, a type of black pearl with iridescent tones of purple, green and blue. Pink pearls are lovely for a spring wedding, as are white pearls paired with colored precious or semi-precious gemstones.