Friday, June 1, 2012

Stones of Gemini - Pearl




The word pearl comes from the French word ‘perle’, which was originally from the Latin word ‘perma’, meaning leg, named for the ham or mutton leg shaped bi-halves that produce pearls. A pearl is produced when an irritating microscopic object becomes trapped in a shelled mollusk’s mantle folds; any shelled mollusk can create a pearl. Nacreous pearls are the most commercially significant pearls and are primarily produced by two groups of molluscan bi-halves or clams. A nacreous pearl is made from layers of nacre, by the same living process as is used in the secretion of mother of pearl which lines the shell. The species that produce pearls that are considered gemstones include the bailer shell Melo, the giant clam, various scallop species, pen shells Pinna, and the Haliot (an iris species of abalone).

Elizabeth Taylor Pearl Necklace
The pearl of Lao Tzu is the largest known pearl weighing 14lb. It was discovered in the Philippines inside a giant clam in 1934. One of the largest pearl producing oysters is the Pinctade Maxina and is about the size of a hubcap. The La Peregrina (the Pilgrim) is one of the most famous pearls and was found in the Americas. It is a pear-shaped pearl weighing 50.6 carats, about the size of a pigeon egg. Its owners have included Phillip II of Spain, Mary Tudor of England, and Napoleon III. Its last owner is believed to be Elizabeth Taylor; it was given to her by Richard Burton.

Historically pearls were used in cosmetics and medicinally. For centuries people relied on Pearl Powder made from low-grade pearls to give their skin a pale, pearlescent glow. Though still used today, any therapeutic value derived from pearls, stems from their chemical makeup. Pearls are primarily made of Calcium and some 20 amino acids. Research however, indicates that only a small amount of the calcium in pearls can be absorbed by the body.

Pearl of Lao Tzu
Pearls are revered in many different religious beliefs. In the Old Testament pearl is believed to represent one of the 12 tribes; but there is a wide range of views as to which one.  In the Christian New Testament parable, Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a ‘pearl of great price’ [Matt. 13:45-46]. The 12 gates of New Jerusalem are reportedly made of a single pearl [Rev 21:21], in reference to the pearly gates. The Islamic scriptures of the Qur’an often mention that dwellers in paradise will be adorned with pearls [22:23], [35:33], [52:24]. Hindu tradition describes the Sacred Nine Pearls in the Garuda Purang, one of the books of Hindu mythology. Pagan traditions claim that pearls help one to connect to the Goddess, the ultimate feminine energy. Ancient Greeks believed them to be tears from the Gods.

Ancient Susa Pearl Necklace
Throughout history, pearls were valued in many different cultures. Early Chinese culture said that when dragons fought pearls fell from the sky. According to legend, Cleopatra dissolved a pearl in wine and drank it to prove her love for Marc Antony.  Marco Polo claimed the King of Malabar wore a necklace of 104 rubies and pearls, which was passed from one generation to the next. A pearl necklace worn four thousand years ago by the Persian queen Achaemenid can still be admired today.

Pearls are the official birthstone for the month of June; and are also the zodiac stone for the signs of Gemini and Cancer. These Moon and Water ruled ‘gems’ are historically symbolic of purity, innocence, and faith. They are believed to enhance personal integrity and to help clear the mind so that it can be a channel for wisdom and spiritual guidance. They are, also, said to bring centering and a calming reflection, as well as attuning the wearer to the ebb and flow of life.  Pearls are also thought to be quite balancing for emotions, especially to water signs. There are also those that claim pearls can bring inner wisdom and help to strengthen and nurture the growth of love. They are believed to offer the power of love, money, protection, luck, and to lessen stress. Due to the fact that pearls are believed to absorb the negative energy of the wearer, they must be cleansed often to recharge.

Associations:
  • Zodiac: Gemini, Cancer
  • Planet: Moon
  • Element: Water
  • Energy: Receptive
  • Chakra: 3rd
  • Deities: Isis, Aphrodite, Freya, Venus, Lakshmi, Diana, Neptune, Poseidon, and all oceanic deities, though the pearl is more specifically goddess-oriented.
  • Properties: Purity, honesty, innocence, integrity, concentration, focus, tranquility, wisdom


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