It’s an Irish superstition where it is super super bad luck for a woman to receive pearls except from her husband on their wedding day. Any other time it’s an omen of death. There’s this little thing that has sort of happened because of this since Irish people are often such devout Catholics where instead of getting a divorce, a husband will very passive-aggressively get their wife pearls. It means screw you, I wish we could get a divorce, but we can’t since we’re Catholic.
I asked a group of friends about any superstitions they were raised with. This was one of their responses. The informant was raised Irish Catholic.
I was raised Irish Catholic, and am very familiar with this both pearls being an omen of bad luck as well as husbands buying their wives pearls as an ill-wish.