Is It Bad Luck to Wear Pearls on Your Wedding Day?

Is wearing pearls on your wedding day a bad idea? There are many superstitions and myths associated with getting married that would tell you this shall bring bad luck. Is it true or just another old wives’ tale?

Many brides choose to wear pearl jewellery on their big day, with the pearls themselves representing perfection, purity and love. It is a long-standing tradition that can be found as far back as at the beginning of Hindu civilization when Krishna is said to have decorated his daughter Pandia with a pearl that was drawn from the sea.

And yet despite this symbolic good luck charm, there is a contrary belief that it is bad luck for a bride to wear pearls on her wedding day. In Western countries, pearls can be associated with an ill omen, representing the tears that a bride will later shed in married life. Where does this superstition come from?

There is much historical evidence in most Western cultural histories for pearls to be linked with tears. The Romans thought pearls to be tears of angels or gods and Homer in The Odyssey describes tears being ‘reborn as pearls’. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the flood of pearls into Europe following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the West Indies created a ‘pearl rush’. Women of high rank were adorned with extravagant pearl ornaments with matching sets of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and brooches. Queen Elizabeth I of England was said to own over 3,000 pearl embroidered dresses.

But the keeping up with fashion had a cost, possibly leading to the downfall of several small European royal houses. In 1645 Milton wrote in his Epitaph to the Marchioness of Winchester that the ‘pearls of dew she wears prove to be presaging tears’. By the middle of the 18th and 19th centuries, pearls began to be reserved for wear during periods of official half-mourning. These took place after the passing of a specific period of time following a funeral and were largely fashion-led. Ladies at the court of Queen Victoria were permitted to wear pearls, diamonds or plain ornaments.

Today’s superstitious association of pearls with bad luck simply comes from a rich ancient, medieval and modern cultural history. There’s no bad luck in wearing pearls at your wedding. The beauty and simplicity of a white pearl, perhaps worn with diamonds, will complement a bride on her special day.