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The Pearl

By: Herlene Ancar

Today I am reminded of the pearl. Yes, the pearl. A motto or mantra that I hold dear to me is "stop talking about it and be about it!" If I am honest, I am very irritated in a few areas of my life at this moment. These areas are surprising because I previously saw much growth and progress in them. However, right now I am disturbed by the lack of satisfaction they are bringing me. This irritation has somewhat taken me out of character, leading me to question God about my salvation, intelligence, and desire. He quickly reminded me there is nothing wrong with me - I am being cultivated. This left me baffled (only for a moment) until I remembered the Pearl!


There are essentially three types of pearls: natural, cultured, and imitation. According to natural pearls form when an irritant - usually a parasite and not the proverbial grain of sand - works its way into an oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defense mechanism, a fluid is used to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating, called nacre is deposited until a lustrous pearl is formed.

A cultured pearl undergoes the same process. The only difference is that the irritant is a surgically implanted bead or piece of shell called Mother of Pearl. These "seeds" or "nuclei" are most often formed from mussel shells. Quality cultured pearls require enough time - generally at least 3 years - for a thick layer of nacre to be deposited, resulting in a beautiful, gem-quality pearl.

The genuine culturing process usually takes several years. However, lower-quality pearls are often rushed out of the oyster too quickly (sometimes a year or less) and have a too-thin coat of nacre. Mussels must reach a mature age, which can take up to 3 years, and only then can be implanted or naturally receive an irritant. Once the irritant is in place, it can take up to another 3 years for the pearl to reach its full size and nacre thickness. Imitation pearls are a different story altogether. In most cases, a glass bead is dipped into a solution made from fish scales. The coating is thin and may eventually wear off.

I share all of this background to say, don't dismiss the irritant. It is not hormonal, and it is not the seasons changing. It is your cultivating time.

Isaiah 40:31King James Version (KJV)

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.


Herlene Ancar, MBA is an inspirational speaker, author, coach, community leader with over 20 years of experience inspiring people of all backgrounds to see and walk out their purpose. She served in the United States Navy for 11 years, and is currently the Dean of Academic Affairs at Southeastern College in Columbia SC. She resides in Columbia, SC with her two beautiful daughters, Olivia and Mariah. To learn more and connect with Herlene Ancar, click here.


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