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We’re All Clamming For Pearl Tattoos

We’re All Clamming For Pearl Tattoos
Tattoo Ideas2 min Read

Since the dawn of time humans have risked life and limb diving for pearls so we put our lives on the line to find some cool pearl tattoos

It’s sort of funny, the things human beings have ended up ascribing monetary value to. It turns out gold as a valuable currency actually makes more sense than any other element, but what still doesn’t make sense to us is the fact that for millennia humans have prized the physical result of immune responses in mollusks. We’re talking about pearls.

Oyster and pearl by Jimmy Olivares (via IG -- nomadas_estudio) #jimmyolivares #oyster #pearl
Oyster and pearl by Gueller (via IG -- gueller9) #gueller #pearl #oyster

Mankind has treasured pearls ever since the time of the Pandyas, a dynasty that started in southern Indian around 600 BC. Ancient divers would swim to the bottom of the coastal parts of the Indian Ocean looking for clams to extract pearls from, a tradition that continues to this day. But who had this idea in the first place? Why did the Pandyas think that this was a great use of their time?

Tropical pearl and oyster by Pomme (via IG -- pomme_funhouse) #pomme #pearl #oyster
Pearl by Vanessa Harper (via IG vanessaharpertattoo) #vanessaharper #pearl #oyster

The answer probably lies in the aesthetic properties of a good pearl. You have to admit, they are pretty. And their rarity and the difficulty in obtaining a decent pearl adds to the value. Also, we’re guessing there really wasn’t much better to do in 600 BC. Surely, once the pearl gained such value, it only makes sense that people would be throwing themselves to the bottom of the Indian Ocean looking for a quick buck. But what is the genesis of this? Who was the first Pandiyan to proclaim, “Guys, let’s risk drowning and start harvesting pearls.”

Bubbly pearl by Shawn Farrell (via IG -- miranda_ashley) #ShawnFarrell #pearl #bubbles
Colorful pearl by Ming (via IG -- mingtattooer) #ming #pearl #oyster

Of course, at some point along the way, some genius got the bright idea that rather than risking life and limb at the bottom of the ocean, it’d probably be a lot easier to just start farming mollusks for pearls. In this case, the mollusk is intentionally irritated to form a pearl. While this didn’t really take off until the 20th century, it really fucked with the value of natural pearls. Pearl dealers hated these new cultured pearls, and eventually natural pearls became a small niche market in an industry dominated by cultured pearls.

Pearl and oyster by Nathalie Chili Rehn (via IG -- chiliink) #NathalieChiliRehn #pearl #oyster
Another pearl by Julio Suaza (via IG -- juliosuaza) #juliosuaza #pearl #oyster
Black and white pearl by Rae Robinson (via IG -- raerobinsontattoo) # raerobinson #pearl #oyster

Aren’t pearls majestic in both nature and tattoo form? We hope these images inspire you to go home and give your loved one a pearl necklace.

Servo Jefferson
Written byServo Jefferson

servo is a writer based in the tri-state area, though he is unsure what the third state actually is. when not writing about tattoos, servo runs a small record label, goes on countless tours and adventures, and enjoys putting together Japanese model kits of robots. the texture of Styrofoam makes him want to vomit.