All About Pearl Colors and Their Different Meanings

All About Pearl Colors and Their Different Meanings

Whether you admire the look of long pearl necklaces donned by 1920s flappers or are considering committing to a pearl engagement ring, the iridescent pearl is a beloved gem for jewelry designs around the world. When you think of a pearl, you likely picture the classic white pearl—but did you know that’s not the only pearl color out there? From bright blues to subdued pinks and more, there is a never-ending rainbow assortment of pearl colors found in the world’s oceans. Once harvested, these glittering, colorful pearls make bold and beautiful accents in high-end pearl jewelry

Between searching for pearl earrings to add as a staple accessory and finding showstopping pearl bracelets for a thoughtful gift to a loved one, there are countless reasons to shop for pearl jewelry. But with so many colors to choose from, how do you know which will be the perfect fit? Learn about the hidden symbolism behind each colorful pearl, discover different under and overtones, and fall in love with colorful pearl jewelry. 


Why We Love Pearl Jewelry

While there will always be a time and place to wear dazzling diamonds and bright rubies, elegant and oh-so-romantic pearls have been a favorite in jewelry collections for years. Unlike other gemstones, pearls are organically formed in the sea, not found in the earth. While technically not a mineral or even a stone, these precious gems are unique and adored as both the solo gem in your girl’s pearl jewelry pieces or as a lustrous accent to other stones. From your grandmother’s Jackie Kennedy-inspired look to embracing pearls in a variety of colors and modern designs, pearl jewelry will never go out of style.

In years past, pearl necklaces have been reserved for special occasions, but that doesn’t have to be the case! When you find a design you love, whether a contemporary sterling silver pearl bracelet or gold dangle diamond and pearl earrings, you can find inspiration and style it any way you choose. You can dress your pretty pearl jewelry up for a sophisticated soiree or down for running errands around town. 


Pearls Come in Different Colors?

Many people aren’t even aware that pearls come in more colors than the traditional white, but there is a wide assortment of vibrant and elegant colors from both natural and cultured pearls. When you hear the term “colored pearl,” you may assume that they’re being dyed in a lab before use, and while that is sometimes the case, the natural options are unbelievably radiant, unique, bright, and valuable. White pearl bracelets may be eternally stylish, but if you’re looking for a vibrant or modern twist on pearl jewelry, consider finding a piece with different pearl colors. 


Common Pearl Colors:

  • White
  • Pink
  • Black
  • Gold
  • Cream
  • Blue
  • Brown
  • Copper
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Purple


What Affects a Pearl’s Color?

Whether a pearl is freshwater or cultured, the hue of the nacre or inner lip of a mollusk shell determines the pearl’s color. Sometimes referred to as Mother-of-Pearl, this inner swirl of rainbow colors can be affected by anything in the sea around it, leading to a wide variety of pearl colors across the globe. While pearls can be found naturally in the oceans, they’re incredibly rare, making the different cultured pearls preferable for jewelry.

Pearls are typically cultured or naturally found in four different areas, all known for their own color ranges. Since these pearls are naturally formed, opening the shell has an element of colorful surprise each time!


Where You’ll Find Different Pearl Colors

Black pearls are generally Tahitian. The South Sea is famous for white and gold pearls. Freshwater pearls usually come out in creamier whites, pinks, and pastel purples. Akoya pearls are cultured and can be Champagne, silver, or rose, depending on outside factors.


How Are Cultured Pearl Colored?

Cultured pearls aren’t normally dyed after they are harvested but are instead grown in pearl farms where experts can manipulate the environment to curate a desired pearl color. Many colored pearls on the market today are cultured pearls, so designers can create flawless jewelry in a rainbow of colors. Almost any color can be cultured, but the natural ones do offer unbeatable style and value to any pearl jewelry.

Note: High-quality pearls used in designer jewelry like ours do not typically use pearls that have been dipped in dye or colored after being taken from the shell, preferring a cultured or natural-colored finish.


Pearl Color Components

Grading pearls is about more than quality and shine—the pearl color makes all the difference. Every pearl, whether it’s the common white or the most brazen blue, has a combination of these three pearl color components:  

  • Bodycolor—the dominant color you see at first glance 
  • Overtone—one or more subtle, translucent colors on top
  • Orient—the shimmering, iridescent hues that dance on the pearl’s surface


7 Popular Pearl Colors and Their Meanings

Consider the unique overtones and discover the spiritual meanings of each pearl color to help find your dream piece: 


1. Celebrate New Beginnings with White Pearls

White pearls are the most traditional choice for jewelry, whether it’s a subtle pearl bracelet or a complete pearl necklace, bracelet, and earring set. With an iridescent, timeless white body color, this pearl color is found naturally in Akoya, freshwater, and South Sea pearls. The overtones and orients can vary from pearl to pearl, but many white pearls have a subtle shine and slight rose, cream, or silver overtones. These gems can vary from pure white to nearly pink depending on the shiny orients, making them a versatile and stylish option for many.  

Classic look aside, did you know the white pearl color represents new beginnings and beauty? Whether you’re starting a new phase of your life or looking for the perfect pearl addition to your pendant and necklace collection that elevates your inner (and outer) beauty, white pearl bracelets and earrings can support you in times of transformation. 


2. Focus on the Calm with Cream Pearls

When the stark, bright white pearl jewelry isn’t your style, try the soft and elegant cream pearls found in Akoya cultured pearls or freshwater environments. During natural or cultured formation, a substance called conchiolin finds its way into the shell, mixing with the nacre layers to create an off-white, warm hue that’s both rare and stunning. With that neutral tan and cream body color, cream pearls can have brighter flashes of violet, perfect for cooler-toned pearl necklaces or warm rosé pink hues for warmer pearl earrings. 

Cream pearl jewelry is thought to enhance spiritual and emotional healing, harnessing calm energy in the wearer. These softer alternatives to white cluster pearl necklaces may help you feel softer in day-to-day life as well. Cream is perfect if you’re looking for a modern take on traditional white pearls without choosing a vibrant pearl color. 


3. Embrace Romance with Pink Pearls

Nothing says romantic and feminine like the satin look of a pink pearl. Pink is one of the naturally formed pearl color options found in freshwater ponds near China. Some pink pearls are cultured to create flawless gems, but one found in the wild can be valuable. With pale pink and bubble gum hues, natural pink pearls often have gold, silver, or a contrasting aquamarine overtone.

While the sweet glow of pink pearl earrings and bracelets offers a touch of romance to any outfit, they also commonly represent fame and success. Whether you’re searching for a traditional 30th-anniversary gift or want to foster your self-love with a treat-yourself present, pink pearls enhance the love and fortune of the wearer.  


4. Be Bold with Black Pearls

On the opposite end of the pearl color spectrum, black pearls are famous for their deep metallic iridescence. Most are naturally found in Tahitian, Akoya, and freshwater areas, though they are more uncommon than white pearls. While they appear to have a black base color, black pearl jewelry is favored for the multifaceted colors that can appear in the overtones of each gem, ranging from shimmering steel silvers to blues and greens to a mix of green, gold, and rose, commonly referred to as “peacock” colors. These subtle, brilliant hues add a chic look to every black pearl earring, bracelet, and necklace. 

Black pearls represent strength, mystery, and independence; they’re certainly not your grandmother’s pearls! Make a statement with this contemporary take on a traditional look with black stud pearl earrings and necklaces, and feel confident and protected with everything you wear. If you’re looking for a bold and unconventional pearl, black pearls are the ones for you.  


5. Manifest Riches with Gold Pearls

Glittering gold pearls are revered for their timeless shine and beauty, and while they can be found naturally, they’re typically cultivated in waters near the coast of Australia and the Philippines. Gold pearl earrings, bracelets, rings, and more feature a prominent and rich gold body color. The overtones tend to stick to flattering Champagne, bronze, or rose hues, affecting the overall shimmer of the gem. Each overtone helps the gold pearl fit in differently with each type of jewelry metal, so you need not worry about clashing

Like most gold things in our world, gold pearls represent wealth and prosperity. Wear your gold pearl earrings every day to manifest a raise at work or gift one to someone born in June to work with their birthstone, the pearl. Sophisticated, gorgeous, and always breathtaking, gold pearls may transform how your personal wealth looks. 


6. Feel Tranquil with Blue Pearls

Naturally formed blue is the rarest pearl color in the world, and while they can be lab-grown, the ones found in the sea are extremely valuable and striking. Ranging anywhere from pale baby blue to deep turquoise in body color, the overtones can vary from white silver to flashes of violet and pink, creating unbeatable color combinations perfect for one-of-a-kind jewelry. When they are found in the sea, they can be found in Akoya, South Sea, or Tahitian varieties.

Blue pearl jewelry represents tranquility, truth, and courage for any wearer. If you’re in need of some serene appreciation of life or believe in the power of manifestation, try wearing blue pearl bracelets and rings to feel confident and Zen in the world around you. Gift a blue pearl necklace to any loved ones who need a boost of peacefulness in their life. 


7. Find Harmony with Brown Pearls

Brown pearls range in different shades, from a warm chocolate to a rich mocha body color. It’s important to note that chocolate pearls cannot occur naturally but receive a treatment during cultivation. Each flawless gem has a range of overtones and orients, from pistachio green to subtle gold. Find a sophisticated brown pearl jewelry style to add an effortless finishing touch to any outfit.

Brown pearls are also thought to symbolize healing, harmony, and dependability. Wear a grounding brown pearl bracelet in time of strife or gift a brown pearl necklace as a modern anniversary gift to help balance out the hustle and bustle of your partner’s everyday life. Feel comforted (and stylish) in brown pearls. 


How to Choose the Perfect Pearl Color for Your Style in 3 Simple Steps

Whether you’re browsing for the perfect jewelry gift for a loved one or shopping for your own engagement and bridal jewelry, there are a few steps to follow to find the right pearl color:


  • Step 1: If you believe in the spiritual properties behind pearl colors, this should be the first thing you consider as you shop. Look into the intentions of each pearl color to find one that aligns with your intended energy goal, whether it be protection, wealth, or something else.    
  • Step 2: Choose a metal setting for your pearl jewelry that works with your existing collection. You have plenty of jewelry metal options to consider, from silver and rose gold to white gold, yellow gold, and more. 
  • Step 3: Take a look at your wardrobe to get an idea of how and when you would wear your stunning pearl jewelry. Would it be reserved for special occasions and your black-tie outfits? Or does the pearl color work with your everyday workwear? Personalize your look and experiment with different pearl color ideas before you decide. 


Pearl jewelry has been, and likely always will be, a sophisticated staple in our jewelry boxes—and with good reason! Whether you prefer a classy white strand of pearls for special occasions or are intrigued by the spiritual properties pearl colors are believed to carry, there’s a perfect pearl piece for everyone. Find the right color for you and see how your life and style could transform!