Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Pearl

Pearl is an English vocabulary word for a small lustrous gemstone known as the pearl. In its natural state, a pearl is really an accident of nature. It is shaped by a mollusk (such as an oyster) through the secretion of calcium carbonate which forms around some irritant that gains access inside its shell (such as a parasite or grain of sand). The mollusk produces a pearl as a way of protecting itself from the foreign substance. Natural pearls occur spontaneously (and rarely) in the wild, while cultured pearls require human intervention and stimulation. It is for this reason that natural pearls are far less common and thus much more valuable. Since pearls are borne from the sea, they are often associated with the water and moon (lunar tides) and are said to balance emotions. Ancient Arabs believed pearls were created by moonlight-filled dewdrops which fell from the heavens into the sea and swallowed by oysters. Pearls are often associated with debutants and brides and are therefore symbols of innocence and purity. A strand of pearls is one of the most elegant pieces of jewelry (not flashy like the diamond), and it’s the traditional birthstone for June. Some believe the pearl attracts wealth and prosperity as well as love. The English borrowed the word “pearl” from the Late Latin “perla” (meaning the same). Naming girls after precious gemstones became fashionable in the late 19th century and Pearl, Ruby and Opal were at the top of the list (names like Diamond, Jade and Amber would come much later in the 20th century).

All About the Baby Name – Pearl

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME PEARL

The number Seven personality is deeply mystical and highly in tune with their spirituality. They operate on a different wavelength than the average joe. Spending time alone comes easily to Sevens, as it gives them time to contemplate philosophical, religious and spiritual ideas in an effort to find "real truth".  Sevens are wise, but often exude mystery as if they are tapped into something the rest of us don't understand. They love the outdoors and are fed by nature. Sevens are constantly seeking to understand human nature, our place in the universe, and the mystery of life in general. This makes them quite artistic and poetic, but they are also keen observers with high intellect - so they are equally scientific-minded. Sevens are charitable and care deeply about the human condition.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME PEARL

Pearl was at the top of her game in America at the turn of the 20th century. In the year 1900, this old favorite was the 24th most popular girl’s name in the country. Pearl stayed on the Top 50 list until 1912 and the Top 100 until 1927. It was from this point on that this precious gemstone began to lose her luster. Pearl gradually fell in popularity as the decades continued into last century, and then she completely disappeared from the charts in 1987. What was once a stylish choice had now become outdated and passé. However, the lovely Pearl has recently made a reappearance on the charts in the past few years (although gemstone Ruby’s comeback into fashion has greatly overshadowed Pearl’s modest beauty on the charts). American parents were actually reminded of this quaintly darling name in 2007 when Will Farrell did a viral comic skit with his friend’s three year old daughter (Pearl) called “The Landlord”. Now that celebrity Jack Osbourne just named his daughter Pearl in 2012 we expect to see more of this charming one-syllable hidden gemstone in coming years. Pearl is so cute for a little girl, yet elegant and understated on mature women. Try and get ahead of the trend and grab this name while you can! It’s rarely used right now, but we’re sure it’s soon to be “cultured” among the masses.

Quick Facts

ON PEARL

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

1

RANKING POPULARITY:

677

PRONUNCIATION:

PURL

SIMPLE MEANING:

Pearl (gemstone)

Characteristics

OF PEARL

Mystical

Wise

Eccentric

Intuitive

Imaginative

Philosophical

Solitary

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Pearl

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME PEARL

Pearl is the “love child” of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter, set in 17th century Puritan Salem, Massachusetts. Pearl is a beautiful and intelligent child, who is prone to mood shifts, capriciousness and to perceptive questioning of the adults around her. Her mother wears the red cloth “A” upon her bosom at all times as the sign of her adulterous affair, and Pearl seems almost as attached to this symbol of her mother’s transgression as she is to her mother herself. When Hester temporarily removes it, Pearl insists on its being put back. Pearl is as much reminder of the past as is the scarlett letter; she and her mother are shunned by the villagers and forced into isolation together. The very nature of this isolation leads to self-examination, questioning and observation of the most innate truths of human nature – this is exactly how Hester redeems herself, and with her, the child, Pearl. When Pearl’s father is dying, she does not wipe his kiss from her brow, as she did before – now she freely and affectionately kisses him and weeps over him. This is the turning point for the child Pearl; hence forward she begins her own journey to a fulfilling and satisfying womanhood, one that has been prepared for and tempered by early suffering, one that will be lived to the fullest and truest. She is indeed a “Pearl of great price”.

Popular Songs

ON PEARL

Memphis Pearl
a song by Lucinda Williams

Pearl
a song by Katy Perry

The Pearl
a song by Emmylou Harris

Pearl of the Quarter
a song by Steely Dan

Pearl Necklace
a song by ZZ Top

Mamas Pearl
a song by The Jackson 5

Less Than a Pearl
a song by Enya

Daddy's Pearl
a song by Rick Springfield

Black Pearl
a song by Bryan Adams

Famous People

NAMED PEARL

We cannot find any famous people with the first name Pearl.

Children of Famous People

NAMED PEARL

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Pearl

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME PEARL

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Pearl