Pearl Colors and What They Mean

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

For many years pearls have been a symbol of luxury and prominence. In the twenties, pearls were seen as a sign of glitz and glamour when they were worn flamboyantly and in excess. In the thirties and forties, they were a symbol of success, glamour and sexuality. And in more recent times, pearls have made the transformation from traditional and somewhat conservative to a modern yet timeless classic. Pearls are really the jewelry of the past, present, and future, adding beauty to any attire.  Coco Chanel was 100% right.

Coco Chanel in 1936 with her signature red lips and pearls

Pearls are truly eminent in the world of jewelry. At one point only seen in a shimmering white symbol of purity, pearls are now available in and array of colors. It is hard to even categorize the colors and their hues because there are millions of shades and tones with hundreds of iridescence levels.

Each pearl color also has a meaning which can be very helpful when buying as a gift. In order to pick the perfect piece of pearl jewelry,  learning what each pearl color represents can be helpful if you are unsure of your loved ones palette or preferences.

White pearls represent purity, innocence and clean, honest, beauty and are often worn by brides for this very reason. White pearls and are named after the oyster they are cultured in. They are cultured primarily in Japan and China and can be either saltwater pearls or freshwater pearls. These are the most common and are what come to mind when most think of pearls. They are known for their bright gleam and perfect round shapes.

White pearls

Pink pearls are the most prized in the United States. They can be produced naturally by Akoya pearls and South Sea pearls but are extremely rare and as such, on the highest end of the pearl pricing range. Freshwater pearls are usually dyed pink after harvesting.  One pink pearl that is especially gorgeous is the Caribbean Pink Pearl which is found in the queen conch. The queen conch is an edible snail that is nearing extinction and attempts to culture pink pearls have not yet been successful. On average only one pearl is sellable in every hundred thousand shells. These are very rare and heavier than other pearls. Pink pearls represent health, love and romance as well as kindness, passion, loyalty, faith and happiness. Pink pearls make the perfect gift for any occasion because of what they represent and their unforgettable color.

Pink Pearls

Rising in popularity is the Black Tahitian Pearl which is found along the French Polynesian Islands.  Black Tahitian Pearls are high quality and exotic as well as some of the largest pearls to be created. This is due to the large size of the oyster they are found in. Favored as pendants in necklaces, black pearls are found in many dark hues like grey, charcoal, metallic and dark purple blacks. They can also vary with other exotic colors like the Black Tahitian Peacock pearl which carries shades of green, blue and purple as well as black. Black pearls represent protection, balance, prosperity and mystery as well as control, strength and independence. The most dominant representation for the most alluring pearls, black pearl is a statement piece that complements almost everything.

Black Tahitian pearls

Gold pearls are breathtaking and fittingly represent riches, success and wisdom as well as freedom, illumination and self esteem. They are produced by the gold lipped oyster in the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia and color shades range from a light champagne to a warm deep gold.  Gold pearls are rare and have one of the highest costs of production in the pearl industry.

Gold Pearls

Silver Pearls are saltwater pearls cultured from oysters found in the South Sea regions like Northern Australia and South East Asia. South Sea pearls are of the largest pearls found and average the size of 13mm in diameter, as opposed to Akoya pearls which average 6-7mm.  Silver pearls have an exceptionally thick nacre that is found in South Sea Pearls, which give them a satiny luster that make them appear to glow from within rather than reflect. Silver Pearls represent dignity, self control and organization as well as focus, security, progress and dependability.

silver pearl necklace


These are just a few colors pearls can be found in. Pearls are offered in blues, reds, greens, yellows, brown and oranges just to mention the basics. Each color has numerous shades and luminosity levels, giving you endless options when it comes to choosing pearls. There is definitely something for every taste and style in the pearl world. Good luck choosing, and enjoy basking in the glow of the world’s prettiest gem!

pearls of all colors

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