Some of you may have come across these gift boxes of Love Pearls or Wish Pearls. Shalini had bought one for me and left it for Marc to pass on when we got here to Darwin.
Although it is a bit of a gimmicky thing, the thought and love behind the gift is so heart warming. Yes, there is a small clam inside a sealed tin. When opened, it does contain a pearl. Mine was what I would call a light blue or aquamarine in colour. The box contains a necklace and a cage to encase the pearl.
This gift piqued my curiosity about the mythology that surrounds pearls. They have been around as magical, mystical jewels. The oldest dates back to 520BC and was found in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess. I is on display in the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Pearls are still believed to possess magical powers. Connected to the moon, they have been highly regarded for example by the Romans, Ancients Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, indigenous cultures throughout history.. Cleopatra was rumoured to have dissolved a pearl in wine and drunk it as dissolved a pearl from one of her earrings in a glass of wine and drank it to show Mark Anthony that she could consume the riches of an entire population in just one gulp.
The Greeks used pearls for romantic customs and ceremonies as symbols of love, devotion and marriage. The Greek word for pearl, margarita’ri, means ‘unique’. And indeed they are for no two pearls are alike. In the Dark Ages knights wore them as symbols of strength, courage and protection. During the Renaissance they became a symbol of wealth and social statues. Eventually laws were passed declaring only nobles could wear them in public.
Native Americans used them for trade, decoration and ceremonial celebrations, as did the Incas and the Aztecs. In the East they were used in marriage ceremonies, representing innocence and perfection.
Many legends abound about these highly treasured items. A Persian legend state that pearls were created when a rainbow met the earth after a storm. Imperfections in its appearance were the result of thunder and lightning.
The Japanese believe -pearls were created out of the tears of mermaids, nymphs. and other mythical beings.
In Tahiti, it is believed Oro, the god of peace and fertility visited the earth on a rainbow to bring a magical oyster. The black pearl within it, he presented to the princess Bora Bora as a symbol of his love. Another South Sea story describes the full moon bathing in the dark ocean. Beams of light attracted oysters to the surface shimmering like celestial dew, enveloping their black pearls with blue, green,gold and purple.
Pearls are still highly prized. Perhaps more as items of jewellery than of esoteric significance. Mine is special because it was gifted to me with love.