Pearl Quotes: 50 Best Quotes About Pearls of All Time

famous pearl quotes

Given the long history and global popularity of pearls, it’s no surprise that people have had a lot to say about the gemstones. From statements about their beauty to deeply personal thoughts on their meaning, many notable people have said pearl quotes that beautifully describe and capture different aspects of the gemstone. In this article, we highlight the top 50 pearl quotes, and in addition, put each quote into context. If you’re a longtime pearl collector or someone who simply admires the beauty of the gemstone, these quotes will definitely resonate with you!

1. “My dream is to adorn the neck of all women around the world with pearls.” – Kokichi Mikimoto

Kokichi Mikimoto is the man who invented cultured pearls. Prior to cultured pearls, rare natural pearls were the only option available, making the supply extremely limited. Considering the popularity and availability of pearls today, which is due to cultured pearls, it’s safe to say Kokichi accomplished his dream.

2. “A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls.” – Coco Chanel

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There is no doubt that pearls are synonymous with Coco Chanel. The French fashion icon wore pearls regularly, typically using the gemstones to complement her trademark suits and little black dresses.

3. “Pearls are always appropriate.” – Jackie Kennedy

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Pearls truly are always appropriate, especially considering they can complement so many different styles. America’s beloved former First Lady was a big fan of the gemstone, often incorporating large pearl earrings and necklaces into her colorful outfits. Jackie famously loved pink pearls, which perfectly accentuated her extremely chic style.

4. “But the pearls were accidents, and the finding of one was luck, a little pat on the back by God or the gods both.” – John Steinbeck

The respected American author had a deep respect for pearls, so much so that he named a book after them. His admiration for the gemstone is seen through quotes like this which remind readers about how special pearls are.

5. “The pearl is the queen of gems and the gem of queens.” – Grace Kelly

In this quote, Kelly is referring to one of the names that pearls are known by, which is the queen of gems. In the second part of the quote, flips the phrase around, creating her own nickname for the gemstone. Pearls, in fact, were worn by many queens, and continue to be today with Queen Elizabeth.  

6. “All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.” – Frederico Fellini

No two pearls are exactly alike, and this is because of the oyster that produces them. As a result, a pearl truly is the autobiography of a specific oyster. The celebrated Italian film director and screen director relates pearls to art in this quote, alluding to them both as being autobiographical in similar yet distinct ways.

7. “I feel undressed if I don’t have my pearls on. My pearls are my security blanket.” – Lady Sarah Churchill

With this quote, Lady Sarah Churchill perfectly conveys the way many women feel about their pearl jewelry. The simple, mesmerizing beauty of the gemstone makes you want to wear them every single day, often becoming your favorite piece of jewelry. After a while of daily wear, it doesn’t feel right when you don’t have your favorite piece of jewelry on.

JEWELRY SPOTLIGHT:
FRESHWATER PEARLS

Whether in the office or running errands around town, it’s natural to want to look your best by incorporating an elegant piece of jewelry into your outfit. That said, you don’t want to be wearing your most expensive jewelry around every day. Freshwater pearls are a phenomenal option, considering they’re affordable, and in addition, come in a variety of beautiful colors. Browse through our large collection of Freshwater pearl jewelry to find the piece that’s perfect for you!

8. “Pearls don’t lie on the seashore, if you want one, you must dive for it.” Chinese Proverb

This proverb is more than just about pearls—it provides real wisdom about life. If you want something as special and beautiful as pearls in your life, then you must be willing to “dive” for it, meaning you take chances. 

9. “How could you reach the pearl by only looking at the sea? If you seek the pearl, be a diver.” – Rumi

Similar to the previous quote, this quote by Rumi also provides an important lesson about life. In other words, you cannot wait for something special to come to you by simply waiting—you must work tirelessly to make it come to life. 

10. “There is just one piece of jewelry that is equally becoming to everybody, lovely with almost every ensemble, appropriate for almost any occasion, and indispensable in every woman’s wardrobe…long live the pearl necklace, true or false, from our first date until our last breath!” – Genevieve Antoine Dariaux

Here, fashion author Genevieve Antione Dariaux describes the sentiment that many women have towards pearls. The gemstones are a quintessential piece in every jewelry box as they are able to add a dash of class and sophistication to any outfit.

11. “Why she is a pearl, whose price hath launched a thousand ships, and turned crowned kings to merchants.” – Shakespeare

It should not come as a surprise that Shakespeare included pearls in his writing, especially considering pearls go even further back in history as we’ll see in the next quote. In this example, Shakespeare compares a woman to a pearl, symbolically describing the tremendous value she held.

12. “The first place and the topmost rank among all things of price is held by pearls… Their whole value lies in their brilliance, size, roundness, smoothness and weight… There have been two pearls that were the largest in the whole of history; both were owned by Cleopatra… they had come down to her through the hands of the kings of the East.” – Pliny

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Here, Roman author and history Pliny describes pearls and focuses specifically on the pearls of Egyptian queen Cleopatra, which were considered to be the largest pearls in the world at the time. In a legendary tale, Cleopatra is said to have dissolved these pearls in vinegar and drank them in order to show Mark Anthony her power and wealth.

13. “I had just received La Peregrina from New York on a delicate little chain and I was wearing it like a talisman.” – Elizabeth Taylor

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Today, the La Peregrina necklace is considered one of the most famous (and expensive) pieces of pearl jewelry in the world, adorned with pearls and rubies. Richard Burton purchased the piece as a gift for Taylor, who then commissioned Cartier to add additional gemstones. In December 2011, the pearl sold for more than $11 million at a Christie’s auction in New York.

14. “As a pearl is formed and its layers grow, a rich iridescence begins to glow. The oyster has taken what was at first an irritation and intrusion and uses it to enrich its value. How can you coat or frame the changes in your life to harvest beauty, brilliance, and wisdom?” – Susan C. Young

Through the quote, Susan Young beautifully uses the process of a pearl forming through an irritant to frame a question about how someone can use something that is bothering them to cultivate positivity.

15. “Life is made up of a few moments all strung together like pearls. Each moment is a pearl, and it is up to us to pick the ones with the highest luster.” – Joyce Hilfer

Don’t let the moments in life pass you by without realizing how special they are. In this quote, Joyce Hifler reminds is that life is precious, and in the end, is made up of the special moments that we remember and carry with us throughout our lives.

16. “What strikes the oyster shell, doesn’t damage the pearl.” – Rumi

This quote can be interpreted in many different ways, but most commonly, its meaning represents a thought about how challenges from external forces should not influence the beauty that lies inside.   

17. “When I’m cold I just put another rope of pearls on.” – Dorothy Parker

Previously, we alluded to a quote that described how a woman can feel undressed without her pearls. This quote from Dorothy Parker is quite similar and points to the fact that a woman can never wear too many pearls.

18. “A legend grows around a grain of truth, like a pearl.” – Peter S. Beagle

Over time, sometimes a story that was once true gets distorted as people add details that may have never actually taken place, becoming a legend. Pearls start off as a grain of sand, but with every added layer of nacre, a pearl begins to form.

19. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. –  Matthew 13:45-46

The Bible makes many references to pearls many times. Many people believe this is because the gemstone had such great prominence in the Roman empire. Here, the great value of the Kingdom of Heaven is depicted by comparing it to pearls.

20. “Dive into the sea of thought, and find there pearls beyond price.” – Moses ibn Ezra

The pearls that the Jewish Spanish philosopher and poet is referring to in this beautiful analogy represents wisdom. This wisdom, just like pearls, is invaluable.

21. “It is the hour of pearl—the interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself.” – John Steinbeck

Perhaps it is the way that pearls seem to glow from within that made the respected American author to compare them to the time of day that many people call the golden hour.

22. “I favor pearls on screen and in my private life.” – Grace Kelly

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The famed American actress turned Princess of Monaco was a true admirer of pearls, as seen from the quote above. Her favorite piece was undoubtedly the pearl choker, which many people credit Kelly for popularizing.

23. “A pearl is only a pearl once it’s out of its shell.” – Nigerian Proverb

The popular belief is that this Nigerian proverb is about letting the world see the beauty that is within you. Contrastingly, it is also about seeing the beauty within others instead of trying to understand someone superficially.

24. “You can’t ever go wrong with pearls. Perhaps pearls are a girl’s best friend after all.” – Ki Hackney

If anyone knows style, it’s Ki Hackney, the woman who founded Style magazine. In this quote, Ki says it exactly how it is. Pearls work with a variety of different outfits for different occasions—when you need to look your best, your trusty pearl necklace or pearl earrings can give that extra dash of elegance.

25. “The world is your oyster. It’s up to you to find the pearls.” – Chris Gardner

Whether the pearls that you are looking for symbolize hope, inspiration, or passion, it’s up to you to go out and try to find it. Not only does this mean being open to different experiences, but in addition, searching for them yourself in different ways.

26. “A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life. If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl.” Stephen Hoeller

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As humans, sometimes we go through experiences that wound us, physically or emotionally. However, these experiences have the power to make us stronger and produce something beautiful. This is similar to pearls, which come to develop as a result of an irritant that gets stuck in the oyster.

27. “The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths, it has its pearls too.” – Vincent Van Gogh

As one of the most influential artists of all time, Vincent Van Gogh lived a very dark and depressed life. That said, this quote shows that despite his sadness, he was able to understand that despite hardships, beauty is also in a person’s heart. 

28. “A pure soul is like a fine pearl. As long as it is hidden in the shell, at the bottom of the sea, no one thinks of admiring it. But if you bring it into the sunshine, this pearl will shine and attract all eyes. Thus the pure soul, which is hidden from the eyes of the world, will one day shine before the Angels in the sunshine of eternity.” – John Vianney

A pure soul, like a pearl, must be brought to the light for people to appreciate it, as John Vianney beautifully expresses in this quote. However, as he goes on to write, even if no one sees a pure soul, it will always last in eternity and stand the test of time.

29. “These pearls of thought in Persian gulfs were bred, Each softly lucent as a rounded moon; The diver Omar plucked them from their bed, Fitzgerald strung them on an English thread.” – James Russell Lowell

James Russell Lowell is a historic American poet. In this quote, he uses an analogy about pearls to quote two other prized authors, Edward Fitzgerald and Omar Khayyam.

30. “Fame is a pearl many dive for and only a few bring up. Even when they do, it is not perfect, and they sigh for more, and lose better things in struggling for them.” – Louisa May Alcott

Here, fame is described as being as elusive as a pearl. Before the creation of cultured pearls, divers would have to dive deep into the waters to collect oysters, risking their lives for a slim chance at finding a pearl. While many “dive” for fame, only a few are able to attain it, and furthermore, it’s usually not what they envisioned it to be.

31. “The Pearl Principle – no inner irritation, no pearl.” – Surya Das

Surya Das is a Buddhist spiritual and meditation teacher who created what he calls “The Pearl Principle.” Without an irritant to coat with nacre, an oyster will not create a pearl. Surya explains that this quote is about how challenges and doubts can help produce new perspectives.

32. “In diving to the bottom of pleasure we bring up more gravel than pearls.” – Honore de Balzac

Many believe that in this quote, Honore de Balzac is explaining that there lacks a real purpose in consistently seeking pleasure only for the self. What the French novelist may be referring to by pearls are meaningful practices that are beneficial for the greater good.

33. “Why wear one string when you can wear two?” – Coco Chanel

Here is another classic pearl quote from the fashion icon herself. Chanel was known to wear multiple layers of pearls at once, with some even calling it her trademark look. In more recent times, layers of pearls strands have become a major trend.

JEWELRY SPOTLIGHT:
LAYERED PEARL STRANDS

As we mentioned, Coco Chanel was famous for wearing multiple layers of pearls necklace. At Laguna Pearl, all of our necklaces are available in multiple lengths, including the 36″ Opera length and the 51″ Rope length. For these necklace lengths, you can choose to fold them over and create multiple strands. This look works particularly well for your boho-chic inspired outfits or with a little black dress (which is what Chanel typically wore layered pearls with).

34. “Some give up under pressure, while others rise up and undergo life-transforming experiences. Oyster responds beautifully to external pressure, giving birth to a priceless pearl.” – Mukhtar Aziz

The external pressure that Mukhtar Aziz is talking about is the irritant that makes its way into the oyster from the waters around it. This irritant, after covered with thousands of layers of nacre, forms a pearl. Similar to pearls, people who face an external pressure can turn it into something beautiful.

35. “Next to sound judgement, diamonds and pearls are the rarest things in the world.” – Jean de la Bruyère

Jean de la Bruyère was a 17th-century French philosopher. During those times, both diamonds and pearls were extremely rare (especially compared to the supply of both gemstones today). While the gemstones aren’t as rare as they once were, the same cannot be said for sound judgment!

36. “Does love always form, like a pearl, around the hardened bits of life?” – Andrew Sean Greer

As we’ve seen so far, many writers use the pearl formation process in their quotes, comparing with other aspects of life such as challenges, obstacles, and purpose. Andrew Sean Greer also uses the pearl formation process as an analogy in his quote, this time using it to pose a question about if love forms in a similar way.

37. “Were the diver to think on the jaws of the shark, he would never lay hands on the precious pearl.” – Saadi

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While sharks may not be an issue today, before cultured pearls they certainly were a problem for many divers. Even with these dangers, divers would still plunge deep into waters all for a slim chance at finding a pearl. Like divers, people need to overcome fears to acquire something priceless.

38. “From a grain of sand in the pearl comes.” – Confucius

Confucius is often thought of as one of the wisest men the world has ever seen. The philosophies of the historic Chinese teacher and philosopher continue to be learned today, through thoughtful quotes such as this. Many believe this quote’s meaning to be that all great things start from something extremely small.

39. “Those who dive into the sea of affliction, bring up rare pearls!” – Charles H. Spurgeon

As we’ve seen from the quotes thus far, one popular theme among pearls quotes has to do with diving for the gemstones. Though certain things in your life may cause you great pain or suffering, the opportunity always exists for you to come out a stronger person as a result of it.

40. “A great life is nothing more than a series of days well lived strung together like a string of pearls.” –Robin S. Sharma

Robin Sharma is a leadership expert and an author of multiple bestsellers. In this quote, Sharma uses a strand of pearls to make an analogy about life. Life is short, so it’s up to us to make each day meaningful and well-lived. In the end, you want these days of your life to fit together and altogether create something memorable, similar to a strand of pearls.

41. “My role in life is that of the grain of sand to the oyster—it irritates the oyster and out comes a pearl.” –H. Ross Perot

In this quote, the former US presidential candidate provides his outlook on life. If financial success is the pearl that Perot was talking about in this quote, he certainly produced a pearl considering his net worth of over 4 billion dollars.

42. “Whatever pearl you seek, look for the pearl within the pearl!” – Rumi

As evident from the multiple quotes written by the highly-popular 16th-century Persian poet that include the gemstone, pearls were highly valued in ancient Persia. That said, here, Rumi is talking about a different type of pearl. People seek many different types of “pearls” including love, happiness, success, power, and passion.

43. “Perhaps the sea’s definition of a shell is the pearl.” – Khalil Gibran

The Lebanese-American poet, writer, and artist is known for poignant fiction books and breathtaking poets. In this quote, Gibran is speaking to the importance of perception, and more specifically, how things can be perceived in many different ways. Two people who are looking at the same thing can interpret them very differently.

44. “A pearl is worthless as long as it’s in its shell.” – Native American Proverb 

Until people see the beauty in something, it will not be valued by them. Like pearls, however, sometimes that beauty is tucked away and requires you to look deeper to find it.

45. “The pearls weren’t really white, they were a warm oyster beige, with little knots in between so if they broke, you only lost one. I wished my life could be like that, knotted up so that even if something broke, the whole thing wouldn’t come apart.” – Janet Fitch

This quote comes from White Oleander, the bestselling book by Janet Fitch. Fitch beautifully writes about how pearls are strung, with tiny knots between each pearl on the strand to prevent all of the pearls from falling if one breaks off. This is in reference to a character from the book who has many challenges in her life that exacerbate each other, unlike pearls that are individually knotted.

46. “It is, after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster’s shell that makes the pearl, not pearl-making seminars with other oysters.” – Stephen King

In his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, bestselling author Stephen King writes this quote after explaining that when writing, interruptions to your routine may actually be helpful in different ways. He writes that these distractions, in effect, can be the grit that gets the oyster to begin forming a pearl.

47. “For memory, we use our imagination. We take a few strands of real time, and carry them with us, then like an oyster we create a pearl around then.” – John Banville

It’s no secret that as we get older, our memory begins to get fuzzy. That said, a few distinct memories stick with us forever. Over time, these key memories become intertwined, and as that happens, a symbolic pearl forms.

48. “It’s funny how we are often misled as to which oyster houses a pearl—we must stop judging a soul on its vessel.” – Elizabeth Anna

There is no way to figure out if an oyster is carrying a pearl simply by using from the outside. In this sense, pearls and oysters are very similar to people. As humans, we can never understand someone and know their story simply by trying to read them from the outside.

49. “Collect as precious pearls the words of the wise and virtuous.” – Abdelkader El Djezairi

As explained here, learning from people who are wise and virtuous is just as valuable as the most precious jewels in the world. While pearls may be beautiful, it’s also important to remember to collect these other types of gems.

50. “A poor man wants the oyster; a rich man wants the pearl.”– Elvis Presley

While the King of Rock and Roll is known for his timeless songs, he also spoke this quote that is remembered by many. To set the context for this quote, the belief is that pearls were initially found by humans who were gathering oysters to eat. Here, Elvis is saying that a poor man wants the oyster to eat it, while a rich man wants the oyster for the gem that it contains.