Updated: Nov 2
Have you ever wondered how pearls became such a big deal for the Divine -Nine Sororities?
I mean, we all had that grandmother, or great-great somebody or other who always wore pearls and stood a little different...well, here's a tidbit or two...just in case you wanted to take a peek back in time. Let's look at your ancestor from a different point of view, let's say hers... and see what we come up with.
In the early 1900s, pearls held a special significance for college-educated black women. Black women and men were a scarcity in the circle of education, which is why the group now known as the Divine- Nine played such an important role. Today, we'll zero in on the young college educated ladies of that era, especially those involved in sororities like Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta, and Sigma Gamma Rho, collectively known as the Divine Nine Sororities. During this time, opportunities for education and professional advancement for black women were limited, but these sororities provided a supportive network for them. Proud young ladies tasked with showing and sharing with the world how amazingly bright, articulate, strong and resilient they were despite humble beginnings. Young women who endeavored to change the world and the world's perspective.
It was during this era that Pearls, with their timeless elegance and understated beauty, became symbolic for these women. Wearing pearls represented sophistication, grace, and dignity, qualities that were integral to challenging the societal norms of racial discrimination prevalent at the time. Pearls served as a reminder of the inner strength and resilience of these women, showcasing their ability to navigate challenges with grace and poise. Incorporating pearls into their attire, these college-educated black women made a powerful statement. Pearls were not just accessories; they were emblems of pride, accomplishment, and aspiration. The choice to wear pearls was a conscious expression of self-assuredness and a refusal to be defined by the limitations imposed by society.
Sounds like a lot for a piece of jewelry, huh? But lets not get away from their reality. One generation from slavery, it was important to not only own something of value, but to show appreciation, style and grace. There was much to prove to humanity...This was much different, intentionally.
During this time, sorority sisters adorned themselves with pearls as a way to celebrate their achievements, both academically and socially. Pearls became a symbol of sisterhood, unity, and the shared commitment to breaking barriers. On some level, By embracing the luxury of pearls, these women asserted their presence in spaces where they were often marginalized, demonstrating that they belonged and deserved respect and recognition. As they continued to pursue higher education and professional success, pearls remained a cherished accessory. The symbolism attached to pearls became a tradition, passed down through generations of women/sorority members, creating a legacy that endures to this day.
This historical context highlights how pearls were not just fashion accessories for college-educated black women in the 1900s; they were symbols of empowerment and a testament to the strength and resilience of these trailblazing women. This legacy of pearls and empowerment continues to inspire and are intertwined with the identity of the Divine Nine Sororities and their members.
We've come a long way baby...but we've still got a long way to go.
Visit us online at PearlsandAscots.com and schedule a consultation to purchase or create your special strand of pearls. Remember, YOU Deserve, Real Pearls!
Below, see images of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
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