The Significance of Giving Black Pearls

By Jessica McCombe

Black pearls have long been an exotic prize. Created by the black-lip pearl oyster found around Tahiti and the French Polynesian islands, the black pearl is rare and valuable. For ages, it's been worn by royalty and nobility, earning it the nicknames "queen of pearls" and "pearl of queens." The black pearl has had many legends associated with it, and so giving it as a gift can represent many different things.

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Black pearls signify hope in a time of pain.

Ancient China: Wisdom

The gift of a black pearl can symbolize wisdom. In Ancient China, people believed that pearls originated from dragons' brains, and if a dragon loses its pearl, he becomes helpless and incapable of action. According to legend, the dragon guards the pearl by holding it between its teeth. To obtain the rare black pearl, someone must slay the dragon.

Ceylon (Sri Lanka): Tears from Adam

A legend from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) traces the origins of the pearl to a lake created by the tears of Adam and Eve. Eve's tears became white or pink pearls, and Adam's tears created the rare gray and black pearls. There are fewer exotic gray and black pearls since, according to the tale, man knows better how to control his emotions.

Polynesian Legend: Everlasting Love

According to Polynesian legend, Oro, the Polynesian god of peace and fertility, came to earth on a rainbow to give the black pearl oyster (named Te Ufi) to man. Once here, he offered the black pearl from this oyster to the beautiful princess of Bora Bora, as a sign of his love. That's why one of the most widespread meanings of the black pearl is as a symbol of everlasting love.