Wednesday, September 12, 2012
I had forgotten I was doing month-by-month birth stone posts, so I obviously missed pearl for June, ruby for July, and peridot for August. I'm not going to do a post on Ruby because you can find information on it elsewhere, it's very popular, but I'll save Peridot for next August. So, on to the pearl, objectified for its beauty for centuries.
Pearls are the "official" jewels of mermaids! Often in art, mermaids are depicted with pearls and starfish. Pearls are formed inside mollusks like oysters, as a crystalline form of calcium carbonate. Yet however mythical pearls are, the name Pearl is decidedly vintage. Pearl comes from French perle, which is from the Latin word for "leg," as it is like an extra appendage of the mollusk, in a sense, but it is really an act of the immune system. Many times the mollusk is killed after removing the pearl, but sometimes they let it grow more pearls.
In 2011 there were 327 baby girls named Pearl, ranking at #814. The Italian variant Perla also ranked at #639 with 443 births in 2011. Since 1969, Pearl has steadily ranked in the 800's and 900's, until the 90's, but before that it had slowly declined from its #24 spot in 1889, 1890 and 1900 (just those three years).