Various occult properties were ascribed to pearls. Among
the early Greeks and Romans, the wearing of the gem as an amulet
or talisman was much in vogue, and pearls were often
made into crowns. Smedley, Taylor, Thompson and Rich
noted, ‘‘Pope Adrian, anxious to secure all the virtues in his
favour, wore an amulet composed of a sun baked toad, arsenic,
tormentil, pearl, coral, hyacinth, smarag, and tragacanth.’’
It was popularly believed that to dream of pearls meant
many tears. The occult virtues of pearls were said to be brought
forth by boiling them in meat. When bruised and taken with
milk, they were believed to be good for ulcers and to clear the
voice. They were also said to comfort the heart and render their
possessor chaste.
The mysterious Mr. Jacob (‘‘Jacob of Simla’’) (ca.
1850–1921) described himself as a ‘‘Healer of Pearls,’’ able to
restore color to a ‘‘sick’’ pearl.
Smedley, E., W. C. Taylor, H. Thompson, and E. Rich. The
Occult Sciences. N.p., 1855.