Pearls have always fascinated people, to the point where they were worn by royalty and were associated with high status, etiquette, noble blood, and fine education. Really, pearls were something different from gemstones in that they were even rarer, and finding just two pearls that were the same color and shape was rare.
So in this regard pearl engagement rings are particularly impressive, even if they’re not a diamond. Now let’s see what they mean.
Pearl engagement ring meaning
A pearl engagement ring symbolizes love, purity, gentleness, and a certain note of elegance. Where a diamond sparkles brightly a pearl shines softly, much like silk. So a pearl engagement ring is meant to symbolize a couple’s gentle love, and also showcases their more refined side.
Pearls are also considered very feminine gemstones, much like moonstone. And like moonstone, pearls may have a mood-stabilizing and calming effect.
Pearl engagement rings are by no means a new concept, as nobles have always adorned their engagement rings with whatever was most impressive at the time. Unfortunately there aren’t photos of centuries-old rings, but some very recent examples are actress Emma Stone, and singer Ariana Grande.
Can you wear pearls every day ?
Pearls are a very delicate gemstone so they are not fit for everyday wear. This means that if you do decide to buy an engagement ring, you should only wear it every once in a while or be prepared to replace the pearl at some point.
We say this because pearls are made up of mostly nacre, which is mostly calcium, which is a very soft material that easily scratches and fractures. Pearls score a 2.5-3 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This makes them extraordinarily fragile and you need to take some special care when wearing the ring.
For comparison, a diamond does nor scratch or chip and scores a 10, a sapphire or ruby a 9, moonstone 6.5, and in general the gemstones that are fit for everyday wear score at least 7. Not because of some arbitrary rule, but because you’ll have less of a chance of having to replace your stone if you get a sturdy one.
Read also: Moonstone Engagement Ring Meaning
Tips on selecting and caring for pearl rings
Pearls are not very hardy, that’s true, but they are still beautiful. And if you don’t mind taking the ring off every now and then, then a pearl ring may be just what you’re looking for.
Now let’s take a look at the key point to remember what buying a pearl engagement ring.
Always go for cultured pearls
When buying pearls you have two options: cultured or natural pearls. Normally a pearl forms as a sort of anomaly. Something gets into the oyster and get stuck there, causing an irritation. The oyster then forms a pearl sac all around the offending object, and deposits layers upon layers of nacre (or mother of pearl) as a response to the irritation. Under normal circumstances pearls happen very rarely.
Cultured pearls are man-made, in that oysters are raised for the purpose of pearl-making, and are artificially ‘seeded’ with a tiny piece of material (usually from a recently sacrificed oyster) so they can make a pearl. This means each and every oyster in the farm will produce at least one pearl, thus bringing the price much lower than wild pearls.
We recommend getting cultured pearls for your engagement ring because they are easier to find in whatever color you like, are more affordable, and don’t always mean the oyster was sacrificed in order to extract the pearl.
Always keep your pearl ring away from chemicals and creams
Because pearls are actually porous in their nature, and calcium is really not the sturdiest material, we recommend keeping your pearls away from chemicals in general. So things like lotion, perfume, sanitizer, detergents, anything of the sort should be kept away from pearls. And just to be safe, it’s a great idea to take your pearl ring off before you wash your hands.
While pearls don’t dissolve in water, they do dissolve in vinegar and acids. The nacre layers will slowly peel away.
Freshwater pearls are generally more affordable
Cultured pearls are definitely more affordable than wild pearls, but there are two main types of cultured pearls: saltwater and freshwater. This simply means that the oyster and the farm are either in river and lakes, or in the sea.
Saltwater pearls are the best looking ones with the best shine and also the highest price point. Freshwater pearls are more affordable, since they are a bit less impressive but their oysters manage to produce several pearls while saltwater oysters produce just one.
I’m the main author for jewelrymaterialguide.com. I started this site after we did tons of research before our wedding and noticed that there is information about rings, jewelry, and so on that is really hard to find on the internet.