The History of Pearls and Weddings
Since ancient times, the pearl has been a symbol of unblemished perfection. It is the oldest known gem, and for centuries it was considered the most valuable. Pearls have been considered ideal wedding gifts because they symbolize purity and innocence. In the Rigveda, an ancient Hindu book dating back to 1000 B.C. Krishna, the preserver, brought forth pearls from the depths of the sea to give to his daughter on her wedding day. Thus started the tradition of giving pearls to the bride.
The ancient Greeks also believed that pearls should be part of the wedding experience. They considered pearls to be the "wedding gem" because they believed that pearls would help ensure marital bliss and prevent newlywed brides from crying.
During the Crusades, gallant knights returning from the Holly Lands would bestow pearls to their "fair ladies" for their wedding days.
In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, pearls were at the height of wedding fashion with royal weddings in the French House of Burgundy taking place in a "sea of pearls". Everyone from the bride to her male guests were adorned in glowing pearls.
From Queen Elizabeth I to our modern Queen Elizabeth II, the tradition of wearing pearls on the wedding day has continued. At the beginning of the 20th century, pearls were as much a nuptial gem in the United States as diamonds are today.
Today, the tradition of bestowing pearls upon the bride continues. Often the father of the bride or the groom gives the gift of pearls. Many brides give their bridesmaids pearl necklaces, bracelets or earrings too.