While there is no universal agreement on what color a perfect pearl should be, some colors are rarer or considered more attractive and desirable than others. The color we see in a pearl can be a combination of three distinct characteristics: body color, overtone, and occasionally orent, meaning exceptional quality or luster.
White: Wisdom and purity
In ancient Greek, pearl meant “perfect purity” and to Romans, “sweetness and pleasure”. Astrologers found wisdom in the white luminosity of the moon and stars that they could not find on earth. Closely associated in ancient mythology with the moon, the sun and the heaven in general, the pale luster and aquatic origins of pearls identified them most strongly with the moon, a symbol of purity, virginity and solitude.
Cream: Success – Sometimes called chanpagne pearls
After Aphrodite had stepped from the waters, a young prince who had remained hidden, not daring to speak, gathered the foam that trailed behind her, frothy as cream. He wreathed it about his head and from that moment good fortune was his. Some historians have argued that the human obsession with pearls sprang not from a lust for riches but from spiritual motivation. A commonly held belief also conferred upon them the power of great virility.
The gods once gathered in a great conclave to find which fruit would be most beneficial to their health. They ordered young maidens to bring fruits from every corner of the earth. After all the fruits were brought, each was crushed into a nectar and placed in huge goblets from which the gods drank. When the nectar had been drained rom each goblet, the fruit they chose above all others was the peach. Some cultures such as the Chinese have used pearls medically to treat a variety of ailments – indigestion, fever, heart disease. Today, calcium carbonate (CaCO3), the main component of pearls, is used as an antacid and a dietary supplement.
Yellow is the color of the life-sustaining sun and of gold, they symbol of wealth. Golden brightness is the natural color of enlighenment and the intellect. It is cheerful and radiates warmth. The Chinese adopted yellow and golden as their imperial hue.
Purple has long reflected royalty and wealth. Lavender or violet traditionally symbolizes spirituality and is linked with our deeper feelings. Light violet is interpreted as sensuality. Tibetan monks were said to possess a “seduction pearl” that caused any woman caught in its rays to become ravenous for love, so it is not surprising that pearls were prescribed as a love potion.