Helmi

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Finnish/Estonian
Meaning: “pearl”
(HEL-mee)

The name was originally a diminutive form of the name Vilhelmiina, but later became an independent name in Finland due to its coincidental meaning of “pearl,” in Finnish. The pronunciation could be heard here: http://www.forvo.com/word/helmi/

As of 2011, Helmi was the 11th most popular female name among Finnish speakers in Finland.

The designated name-day in Finland and Estonia is May 7th. In Sweden, it is April 6th.

Gyöngyi, Gyöngyvér

Gyongyiver by Sandor Nagy

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Hungarian
Meaning: “pearl.”
(JUN-jee) pronunciation can be heard here: http://www.forvo.com/search/Gyöngyi/

The name comes directly from the Hungarian word for pearl. Its designated name-day in Hungary is October 23. However, the pearl is the birthstone of June. Another name-day in Hungary is May 14.  There is also an older form of the name Gyöngyvér (JUN-jee-VARE), which is an old poetic word for pearl. According to Hungarian legend, Gyöngyvér was the wife of Buda (the brother of Attila the Hun).

Dorsa, Dordaneh, Dorreh

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Persian/Farsi
Meaning: “pearl—”

All three names are related. Dorsa means “pearl like,” Dordaneh means “pearl” and Dorreh means “big pearl.”

Iran hosts some of the oldest oyster beds in the world, where pearls have been harvested for thousands of years.

The oldest known pearl necklace was discovered in Iran, known as the Susa Necklace, it is on display in the Louvre and dates 500 years before the common era.

Bisera

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Slavic
Meaning: “pearl”
(bee-SARE-ah)

The name is derived from the Slavonic element, biser, meaning “pearl.”

The name is popular throughout the Southern Slavic countries.

It is borne by famous Croation actress, Bisera Veletanlic (b. 1942-).

Variations include Biserka.

Pearl

Gender: Feminine
Origin: English
(PERL)

The name comes directly from the word for the precious gem created by the clam. Its usage as a given name first appeared in the 19th-century, possibly originally as a nickname for Margaret, (See Margaret).

The pearl is attributed as the birth stone for the month of June.

The pearl has been symbolically used in many major religions. In Christianity, it is found written in the New Testement that Christ compared the kingdom of heaven as that of a merchant finding the most expensive and worthy pearls. In the Church of Mormon, Pearl of a Great Price is the name of one of the sacred scriptures. In Gnostic texts, a poem entitled Hymn of the Pearl is found. In Islam, it is mentioned in the Qu’ran that those who make it to paradise will be adorned with pearls. Vedic tradition describes the Nine Sacred Pearls, first recorded in one of the holy texts of Hindu, the Garuda Purana.

The name was borne by Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973) a famous American author and pulitzer prize winner who grew up in China. (Née Pearl Comfort, she was known as Comfort and not Pearl in her personal life).

In Literature, it is found as the name of a character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous novel, The Scarlett Letter.

Currently, Pearl does not rank in the U.S. top 1000, the last time she was seen was in 1986, coming in as the 972nd most popular female name.

The highest she ever ranked in U.S. naming history was between 1889-1890 and again in 1900 coming in as the 24th most popular female name.

Other forms include:

  • Perlezenn (Breton)
  • Perle (French: obscure)
  • Perlette (French: obscure)
  • Perline (French: obscure)
  • Perla (Italian/Spanish: obscure)
  • Perlita (Spanish: obscure)