The Pearl In Literature

pearl – pərl, noun

 1. a hard, lustrous spherical mass, typically white or bluish-gray, formed within the shell of an oyster or other bivalve mollusk and highly prized as a gem.
2. a precious thing; the finest example of something.


A lustrous gem produced by  found in the oceans surrounding every inhabited continent, pearls are a rare gem. They have been celebrated, mourned, idolized, stolen and treasured. They are featured in parables and mythology across the world. Literature is full of references to these lustrous gems of the sea and they are even mentioned in the bible. Tales of great wealth and great loss alike have intrigued readers for centuries. Here are some reading selections that represent their history, significance, and symbolism. Most titles are all available on the Amazon Kindle as well as in print.


The Pearl by John Steinbeck – An emotional story of poverty, dreams, greed and tragedy. A diver finds a magnificent pearl and hopes to change his family’s life with it, but wealth comes with complication and consequences.

The Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi – The story of two Afghan women, separated by a century, who both disguised themselves as boys to survive. Pearl Literature

The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier A fictional story based on the 17th century painting of the same name by Johannes Vermeer

A Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar – A biblical tale of a  Canaanite harlot who loves a spiritual leader of Israel and their unlikely match.

The Pearl Diver by Jeff Talarigo – A novel about a woman who
finds she has leprosy and is subsequently confined to an island with others who share her disease.

Quest for the Kingdom – Legend of the Pearl, Part 1 by L.M. Roth – An empress demands that Marcus find and bring her a legendary and costly pearl as the price for his life and the freedom of his parents.


Pearl Mythology

Pearl LiteratureDragon, the Phoenix, and the Beautiful Pearl: A Chinese Dragon Spirit Myth by Anita Yasuda – A myth about how a dragon and a phoenix transform into mountains to protect their people.

A Fistful of Pearls and Other Tales from Iraq by Elizabeth Laird – From the Folktales Around the World series, a collection of stories from Iraq.

Children’s Books

I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor by Lauren Tarshis – A fictional story about Danny Crane, an 11-year old boy who experiences the start of WWII from his favorite beach in Hawaii.

The Enormous Pearl Heist by  Geronimo Stilton – Geronimo finds a huge oyster, but after writing an article about his find, the pearl is in danger of being stolen!

The Blue Sea Dragon’s Magic Pearl by Jamie Yei – An eight year old boy, Parker, Pearl Literatureand his best friend puppy Duke take a magical journey after finding a magic pearl in a grotto on the Pacific Coast of Oregon.

My Mother’s Pearls by Sally Huss – A mother uses a string of pearls to comfort her child while she is deployed overseas with the military.

The Black Pearl by Scott O’Dell – A pearl dealer finds the legendary, “Pearl of Heaven,” and believes it will bring joy to the town, but then tragedy strikes.


Pearl Harbor – The Story of the Secret War by George Morgenstern – A revisionist study of the bombing of Pearl Harbor taking a fresh look at the events that led to a “day that will  live in infamy.”

Pearl LiteratureA Pearl from Ashes by Julie Mallinson – The story of an HIV positive child abandoned at birth in China and how she was later adopted by a caring family.

Tears of Mermaids by Stephen Bloom – A biographical account of one man’s 30,000 mile global quest to discover the origin of a strand of pearls.

Pearls: a Natural History by Neil H. Landman – Blending history, science, and the jeweler’s art, this illustrated volume, traces the natural and cultural history of pearls around the world.


The Pearl Book by Antoinette Matlins– A guide to buying pearlsPearl Literature

Pearls by Beatriz Chadour-Sampson – An illustrated history of pearls in jewelry discussing fashion, wear, status, wealth and cultural significance.

Pearl Buying Guide by Rene Newman – Written for both consumers and professionals, this book gives step-by-step visual pointers on how to select flattering pearls.


Things Grandma Kept features vintage salt, freshwater and faux pearls and a selection of modern freshwater pearls in heirloom quality.

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