Gemstone History and Properties
Certain gemstones are not a product of geological processes beneath the earth, but instead come from living animals and plants. Such gemstones are called organic due to their origins, and include pearls that originate in molluscs, coral, which as the name suggests comes from the skeleton of living corals, and amber, which is a very old and hardened form of tree sap.
Pearls are formed when a small speck of dust gets trapped in the body of a mollusc, for example an oyster, and that oyster slowly coats it with layers of Nacre, also known as ‘Mother of Pearl’, which protects the oyster from further injury by its sharp edges. The Nacre itself is composed of small tiles of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), and their arrangement on the surface of the pearl is the cause for the famous iridescence that can be seen both in pearls and in the mother of pearl that coats the surface of pearl producing shells. This nacre is a relatively soft material at only 2.5-4 on the Mohs scale, and as such the pearl is considered to be a very delicate and fragile gemstone.
While normally gemstones are classified astrologically by their color, pearls of all colors are generally considered to be related to the moon (the god Chandra) with different colors possessing slightly different properties which are better suited for certain professions and lifestyles.
The pearl has an extremely rich history as one of the most widespread and popular gemstones in most cultures around the world. The use and trade in pearls began more than 2500 years ago, with the first sources of pearls being islands and coastal settlements in the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. At first the collection of pearls, which required diving and was quite dangerous, was probably the by-product of harvesting oysters for food, but with time it turned into a vast industry which still exists today throughout the world.
Legendary properties and historical uses
The pearl was always a symbol of femininity, especially due to the resemblance of oysters to the female reproductive organ in the eyes of most ancient cultures, and this made it a very popular talisman for women. This association of oysters with different fertility goddesses such as Venus\Aphrodite in the west also made pearls into popular talismans for fertility which became extremely popular among newlywed women and expecting mothers.
The association between pearls and various fertility goddesses was also translated into the belief that pearls intensified the love and the emotional bonds between couples, which made the pearl popular as a talisman for finding love and for successful relationships. Other properties attributed to the pearl were the ability to improve and maintain the beauty of women, and the ability to aid women in controlling their emotions. In addition, it was believed that pearls could help regulate the menstrual cycle and aid in the production of milk when breastfeeding.
Despite the strong association between pearls and women, it was widely used by men as well. It was believed that pearls could help an aggressive man gain more self-control and be more attentive and understanding. The pearl was often incorporated in jewelry together with rubies, which were considered an aggressive and stimulating influence, as a balancing agent capable of mitigating the less desirable effects such as aggression.
The pearl was also often associated with wisdom, especially due to its resemblance to the moon which was associated with the mind, and as such it was a popular talisman for scholars and could often be found in earrings as the earlobe itself was seen as the seat of wisdom in many cultures in the east. The association of pearls with both wisdom and riches can even be found in the bible, with various mentions that include “Woman of greatness who shall find, and far from pearls her price” (Proverbs 31:10) and “Duration of wisdom, tops pearls” (Job 28:18).
The stone according to Hindu belief
In Hindu belief certain gemstones are connected to certain planetary deities, and these gemstones are able to transmit the energies associated with these deities to a person wearing them, allowing him to enjoy the benefits of those energies in the process.
According to Hindu belief, the pearl is a representation of the energy of the moon god Chandra on earth. The god Chandra, who physically manifests as the moon, is considered the queen of all the planets.
In Hindu\Vedic Astrology, the Moon represents the mind and emotions of a person, hence representing not only his thoughts but also his feelings and even his entire perception of the world.
According to vedic astrology, a Pearl is suitable for a person if the Moon is well positioned in his natal chart, and is especially recommend if its placement is weak as that is an indicator for family problems and mental diseases. If however the moons positioned is harmful, the use of a pearl is considered detrimental and is generally discouraged.
Among the properties ascribed to a pearl when it suits a person, are the ability to improve his memory and concentration, his emotional stability and his self-control, and his relationship with others in general and with his mother and children in particular. In addition, it is said that the pearl helps to improve health, alleviate hormonal problems and insomnia, as well as increasing fertility.
In one of the ancient Hindu texts (Garuda Purana, Chapter 69) it is said that “A large, round white pearl with effulgent luster and with a clean, even hole drilled through its center, which charms even a person who is not even interested in pearls, should be considered as possessed of a rare, good quality. The owner of such a pearl will never suffer any form of ill fortune.”
If however, the pearl proves unsuitable, it is said that it will cause bad luck, emotional instability, will harm the health and increase water retention (oedema). In extreme cases it is even said to cause problems with mental health.
According to Hindu belief, if one wishes to gain the blessing of the Moon, he should wear a high quality, well-formed pearl that is set in jewelry made of one of the following metals: Silver. The jewelry has to be made in such a way that the pearl will be in contact with the skin, hence earrings are unsuitable. If the pearl is set in a ring, the ring must be worn on the little finger of the right hand for right handed people or the left for left handed people and women.
Please Note: Farm grown pearls, just like other artificial gemstones, are considered unsuitable and ineffective.
Before wearing such a talisman for the first time, it must be washed in fresh milk and afterwards washed again in ganges water (or any other holy water). The talisman must be worn for the first time on a Monday falling close to the full moon, in the first hour after sunrise.
Aside from the pearl, several secondary gemstones are also associated with the moon: Moonstone, Rainbow Moonstone and Mother of Pearl.
Personal experience – Pearl
After years of experience with gemstones both as a therapist and a patient, it became clear that every gemstone type has certain effects typical of this stone which can both assist in selecting the right gemstone and in identifying side effects due to unsuitable gemstone type or size.
In my personal experience, the pearl has a strong cooling and calming effect. Among the positive effects observed were improvements in memory and cognitive functions, lowering of the blood pressure and the pulse, calmness and relaxation, and improved sleep. In addition a positive effect was noted in regards to relationships and communication with others.
In cases of incompatibility and excess, the side effects observed included emotional instability and hypersensitivity, sleep problems, constant chills and a weakening of the immune system.
Please note that the more profound effects mentioned were only observed after prolonged use of the stone.