Several months ago, I was out browsing through an antique shop and came across the most beautiful princess (collarbone) length strand of pearls. When I noticed the intricately decorated clasp, I instantly recognized the designer. It was Miriam Haskell.
During the 1920s through the ’50s, her company was known for the detail, quality, and workmanship of her jewelry which gave her great success. Her pearls came from Japan. Every piece was handmade and sometimes took as long as three days to create! After being offered a price I couldn’t refuse, I was quickly made the proud owner of this gorgeous strand of pearls which has now become one of my most treasured pieces of vintage jewelry.
The Making of a Pearl
Pearl is June’s traditional birthstone and is known as an organic gem because it is extracted from a living organism – the only gem of its kind. However, natural pearls that grow on their own in the wild are quite rare with only one in approximately 10,000 wild oysters ever producing a pearl. The finest quality of natural pearls can have a price tag as high as $300,000 for a single pearl!
The majority of what is sold today are cultured pearls grown on pearl farms. Mollusks are raised until they are mature enough to accept a mother of pearl nucleus bead, surgically implanted by a technician.
The mollusk is then returned to the water and cared for until the pearl forms which can take between six months and four years.
However, not all mollusks will produce a pearl or produce one that is high quality. There may be thousands of pearls to sort through before finding enough of them that match perfectly to make a quality 16-inch single strand!
A Pearl’s Symbolism
High quality pearls have a brilliant luster with an incredible iridescence made from nacre called mother-of-pearl. Because of the pearl’s natural beauty, they have become a symbol of purity and innocence which began in ancient times. Paintings often depict the Virgin Mary wearing pearls to symbolize her purity and virginity. Pearls are often sewn into bridal gowns or worn as jewelry by the bride.
This is a photo of one of my relatives from Sweden during the 1920s wearing a stunning headpiece made of pearls on her wedding day:
The majority of pearls are white. In color psychology, white represents the color of purity and innocence. Interestingly, it also represents new beginnings…
Have you ever experienced a time when you wished you could completely start over with a new beginning? That happened to me when I started my first year of college. I wanted to be a nurse, so my first semester was filled with all of the hardest science and math classes to “get them out of the way.” I thought that was a great idea at the time.
It wasn’t long before I figured out that no matter how hard I studied, my brain was just not wired to comprehend this complex stuff very well. But I stuck it out and ended up with grades that were barely passing, giving me the lowest GPA of anyone in the school. At least, that’s what I thought!
Needless to say, I switched majors. I wished so much that I could have started all over with a brand new beginning for my GPA. After six years of serious perseverance, it all ended well with a Corporate Wellness Management degree that I still use to this day for my personal fitness training business.
In the very beginning, Adam was created by God without any sin. When he disobeyed God’s law by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he sinned. His choice made him guilty before God. As the father of the human race, his sin nature was passed down through all of his descendants, giving us a natural inclination to do wrong. Our sin causes spiritual death – a separation from God. And when we die a physical death, sin separates us for all of eternity.
When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Romans 5:12
God knew we needed a new beginning so we could be made righteous – free of guilt and shame and completely blameless before Him. That, however, is impossible for us to attain on our own. But it is possible when we are made pure and clean through God’s forgiveness of our sins.
And what a difference between man’s sin and God’s forgiveness! For this one man, Adam, brought death to many through his sin. But this one man, Jesus Christ, brought forgiveness to many through God’s mercy. Romans 5:15
A Gift of Mercy and Grace
Because of His love, God had mercy on us and sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to defeat sin and death on the cross so we could experience eternal life in heaven with Him. All we have to do is repent of our sins and believe in our heart that Jesus Christ is Lord!
Because if you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and in your heart you have faith that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Trusting with the heart leads to righteousness, and confessing with the mouth leads to salvation. Romans 10:9-10
How amazing to think that Jesus exchanged ALL of our sin on the cross for His perfect righteousness so that after we die and stand before Him, He will not see any of our sin at all. Only the clean, pure righteousness of Jesus. What an incredible gift of mercy and grace to us who are so undeserving!
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
It is not always easy to leave sinful habits behind. The Apostle Paul knew this but was confident in the power of the Holy Spirit’s ability to keep people from giving in to their sinful desires which he wrote about in his letter to the churches in Galatia…
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. Galatians 5:16-17a
Allowing the Holy Spirit to guide your life requires active determination on your part to follow Him. After repenting, ask the Holy Spirit to help transform your heart, mind, and spirit so you will have a true desire for purity and an eagerness to live a righteous life.
When Jesus is Lord of your life, you will deeply desire to be committed to living in a way that is pleasing to Him in all you do. As you spend more time with Him, you will begin to cultivate the ability to hear His voice and a longing to obey Him.
Although I dearly treasure my beautiful strand of Miriam Haskell pearls, there is nothing I treasure more than God’s mercy and His gracious gift of purity.
Sparkler #1: Prayer
If you struggle with living a life pleasing to God, ask the Holy Spirit to help transform your heart, mind, and spirit, giving you a desire above all others for purity.
Sparkler #2: Action
Spend quality time with God in prayer and reading His Word daily so you can more easily hear His voice and know how to obey Him.
Sparkler #3: Challenge
Show God’s love to others. Just as He has done for you, extend the gift of mercy and grace, especially to those who you feel may be undeserving.
*Pearl oyster – photo credit: Manfred Heyde
Kimberly Moore is a vintage costume jewelry expert, blogger, speaker, and author of Beauty in a Life Repurposed. To learn more, visit her website at kingdomsparkle.com.
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