Monday, January 7, 2008

Unlucky or Lucky Pearls?

When I wrote about Marie Antoinette's Pearls a few weeks ago, did you wonder if the necklace sold? The media attention had been lively and expectations were high for jewelry with this kind of provenance does not often come up for auction.

Well, it did not sell. Perhaps no one wanted to own the pearls once belonging to such a tragic Queen. Bad karma and all that.

There might have been another reason : pearls are also associated with tears. How it became a symbol of tears goes back to an old Indian legend which tells of the death of the abducted Princess of Travancore in a storm. When her body was recovered, the oyster found in her hand contained a round stone with a soft lustre none had seen before. The Brahman (supreme Hindu spirit) proclaimed it to be a tear of heaven, congealed into a beautiful gem he called a pearl. The King of Travacore ordered the most precious setting for this pearl and it became prized above all other gemstones.

People over the centuries have become really ambivalent about pearls. Pearls, on one hand, are believed to bring health, fortune, luck and prosperity to the wearer. And yet, pearls in an engagement ring are still considered unlucky for brides in many cultures. The tears they represent might herald an unhappy marriage. In another twist, sleeping with them under the pillow were thought to help childless couples conceive. I wish they made their minds up about pearls. Are they lucky or unlucky?

Perhaps the wild swings in pearl lore accounts for the traditional marriage superstitions for bridal wear:

Married in: White - You've chosen all right
Blue - Your love is true
Pearl - You'll live in a whirl
Brown - You'll live out of town
Red - You will wish yourself dead
Yellow - You're ashamed of your fellow
Green - Ashamed to be seen
Pink - Your fortunes/spirits will sink
Grey - You'll live far away
Black - You'll wish yourself back

In Asia, people have a practical solution : pearls are considered to be perfectly lucky so long as you don't buy them for yourself. Works for me! The double stranded pearl necklace in the picture is mine which were originally gifts from two different individuals. Combining both strands in a twist is an easy way to revitalise jewelry.

So do you think pearls are lucky or unlucky?

Beader Design #: 252

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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8 comments :

capitolagirl said...

Wow! My relatives in Hawaii believe that it was unlucky to buy pearls for yourself, but I had no idea about some believing it was unlucky for marriage. Great, informative post and congrats on completing your first year of blogging!

The Beading Gem said...

I can see why Hawaiians also consider pearls unlucky if bought by yourself - this belief may have been brought there by early Chinese immigrants.

LeeannM said...

I love pearls, they remind me of the sophisticated women who wore them in the 1st half of the 20th century.

I had never heard any superstitions about them, but now I know not to get married in them! Thanks for the info!

The Beading Gem said...

You're welcome. Pearls have never gone out of style. They're elegant to wear for any occasion.

Anonymous said...

i never knew any of this stuff! i count myself lucky i read this, though! imagine wearing pearls on your wedding day, and then having your marriage go up in smoke because of a tiny little thing. that would be horrifying. thanks so much for the tips!!!

Anonymous said...

you people are SO superstitious, that's just a bunch of crap people made up. I got married in red, and i've been married 20 years, we are perfectly happy. so shut up.

Divya N said...

I have seen Indian brides wear pearls all the time, if not by itself, then maybe as embellishments. People here are more concerned when buying stones - esp diamonds and sapphires

Pearl Blay said...

Thanks for sharing what Indian brides wear. I guess the concern is not as great as cultured freshwater pearls are relatively inexpensive these days.

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