The luster of a good pearl.

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,, 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?

20 thoughts on “The luster of a good pearl.”

  1. I received a pearl necklace from my high school sweetheart. The pearl fell off of the post and was lost somewhere never to be found. I was so devastated that I begged my mom to take me to the jeweler’s to see if he had one similar that I could use to replace it so my boyfriend wouldn’t find out. The jeweler did, and I wore that necklace many times during my teens and twenties. Now, when I go home, I’m going to have to check and see exactly where it is these days (well past those two decades)! I love the story behind the creation of the pearl. It parallels the human life-if we are lucky, and that’s my little pearl for the day!


  2. What a beautiful story! Through the years, I have collected stories about pearls because they have always fascinated me. I appreciate all the meaning and symbolism in your gifts of pearls; and, I, like you, have daughters of pearl. Thanks for sharing. Blessings, Connie


  3. Mary, I too received a pearl ring for my 13th birthday and it too reminds me of my mother. It was an unexpected gift, far more extravagant than anything I had ever received from my parents. Products of the depression, they were prone to the practical. I loved the touch of the feminine it brought to my life that day and I treasure it still. My mother bequeathed her strand of pearls to me as well and whenever I have the opportunity I wear them together. The greatest pearl of wisdom I carry from this experience is to treasure the love that is poured on us, no matter what the form. It is something that is easy to take for granted when it is present.


    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing, Dorothy. My parents were products of the depression as well and upon his death bed, when my sister asked, “What was the most important lesson you learned?”, he answered, “Love well.”

      It is easy to take for granted, but I believe treasuring the love we are blessed with is an important part of loving well. If we don’t truly receive the love given to us, we can’t share it with others.


  4. I hope to return with a proper reply, but I wanted to say I loved this. For now, the boys are back home and it’s time to roll!


  5. I have a pearl ring. You make me want to go upstairs and put in on! As far as pearls of wisdom go, I have to feed my own blog! But I will say I’ve learned to avoid SuperBowl parties. One day, I’ll write that post. Before the SuperBowl. 😉

    Who ya want for the game?


  6. My grandmother’s pearls sit in my jewelry box, also, waiting to be restrung. I love your post because it reminded me to “use the fine china everyday” because I’m worth it. I think I’ll get them restrung this week 🙂 Thanks for the nudge.


  7. I enjoyed your Pearls posting. I am the youngest of 4 girls and my nieces and nephews started coming along when I was 5. They lived with us for the better part of 10 years. I often felt my parents were done being parents by the time I arrived. They were good basic parents, with faults like all of us. Nothing overly dramatic. One of my 2 much older sisters has a good relationship with my mother. I’ve never understood that except maybe she had different parents, having been born 13 years earlier. All 4 of us has joked “Just shoot me , if I get like Mom”. Well, we all look like her, sound like her, do things like her, loath her and love her. I don’t know about her relationship with her mother. She died at age 64, the year prior to my birth. My mother never thought she would live beyond 64. She is now 87.

    I’ve never understood friends who had a better relationship with their mothers. By the time I had all three of my kids at age 34 – 35, I’d put myself through a good deal of therapy. I hope I have a better relationship with my kids, especially my daughter, now sooooo very 13. I tend to feel I push her away, yet she still confides in me. She has said her friends don’t understand why she does that. Did I get lucky? Did I do something right? I don’t know.

    I got one piece of jewelry from my mother, handed down from her mother. A birthstone ring. It sits in my jewelry box until I hand it down to my daughter. I remember one pearl of wisdom in the form of advice. Follow your heart. She said this to me in the midst of young, yet real love troubles. I followed my heart away, then back again in time to meet my now husband of 26 years. Who is usually smart enough to keep his mind open and yap shut when it comes to my sisters and I dealing with my mother. ❤


    1. Thanks for sharing, Dianna.

      I think of all relationships, the mother-daughter bond must be the most complicated. My mother and I certainly had our fair share of ups and downs. I remember thinking it was just me, that for some reason she favored my sisters. As we’ve grown, we’ve shared with each other our feelings. Theirs weren’t so different from mine, ironically.

      I suspect if your 13 year old is still coming to you, you’re doing lots of things right. I feel blessed by the close relationship I have with my daughters. The older one is more forth-coming, but they both share with me in a way I never shared with my mom. Regardless of the reason, I am grateful to have the relationships I do with them. I’m not sure who learns more from who.

      That was some darn good advice your mama gave you. Following our own hearts takes courage, but the payoffs are often bigger. 🙂


    1. If you had asked me as a teen if I thought I was, in any way, like my mom, I would have shot you down with laser eyes. Today, I not only see the similarities, I embrace them. I am strong, independent woman, just like her.

      Thanks for popping over, Michelle. 🙂


  8. My first real piece of jewelry was my grandmother’s pearl necklace. My mother told me that to keep the luster, you have to wear them. I suppose that is the same with pearls of wisdom too! Thanks for reminding me to get my grandmother’s pearls out of the jewelry box…


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