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)