The first piece of “grown-up” jewelry I received was a pearl ring. I was 13. It still sits in my jewelry box, even though I haven’t worn it in decades. And though it was a gift from both of my parents, it is my mom I think of when I look at it. It has come to symbolize the many pearls she gave me, most of which were products of her own growth.
Though judged by many factors, it is a pearl’s luster that catches the eye of the trained professional and the casual admirer. According to the website, PearlParidise.com, a pearl’s luster is:
“… the measure of quantity and quality of light that is reflected from the surface, or just under the surface of a pearl. The luster of good quality pearls is sharp and bright. You should be able to see your reflection clearly on the surface of a pearl.”
Pearls are formed by certain mollusks in response to an irritant or threat. Whether an internal irritant or an external threat, the mollusk produces a pearl sac to isolate and seal off the irritant, protecting its vulnerable mantle tissue. The mollusk then deposits layer upon layer of calcium carbonate. The thinner and more numerous the layers, the finer the luster, and what began as a response to an irritant eventually produces a precious gem. It is a painstaking process, often years, to produce one coveted gem; a process that perfectly reflects the acquisition of life’s wisdom, often referred to as pearls.
At the age of 13, my mother gave me a pearl I have treasured. I don’t know if she saw the same symbolism I see in that ring. However, it represents the many pearls I carry with me every day; the ones she shared with me in which I have been able to see her reflection, my reflection, and the reflections of my girls. The pearls I value the most.
My mom was a die-hard football fan who taught me to love the game, and though she passed away several years ago, I will feel her with me today as I scream at the TV. Last year, on Super Bowl Sunday, I wrote A Mother’s Pearls. I invite you to visit that post today, and when you are done, …
…won’t you please leave a comment here sharing a pearl you have picked up along the way?