|“||I have four hundred years on you, little boy. I'll rip you limb to limb without even blinking and you know it.||”|
Pearl Zhu  was a vampire and friend of Katherine Pierce. At the time of her death, she was over 500 years old. She had a daughter named Anna, a vampire to whom she had been extremely close. She had fallen in love with Johnathan Gilbert, a human who betrayed her as soon as he discovered that she was a vampire using the Gilbert Compass. Pearl was taken with the other vampires, and they spent almost a century and a half entombed in the Fell's Church tomb thanks to Emily Bennett.
After being freed from the tomb, she appeared to be one of the main antagonist of episodes 15-20 of Season One. She compelled Samantha Gibbons and created a safe house for the tomb vampires, most of whom accepted her as their leader. Anna later stated that her mother wasn't after revenge; she only wanted her life back and was about to leave town. After refusing to give John Gilbert the piece of the Gilbert Device she stole from Johnathan Gilbert in 1864 by giving it to Damon, John Gilbert later staked her and Harper with a silent compressed air stake gun, killing them both before Anna found their bodies.
In Season Three, Anna told Jeremy she hadn't encountered her mother on the Other Side and feared Pearl might have moved on. However, Anna and Pearl had an emotional reunion in Ghost World, before they were transported back to the ghost world - or maybe they moved on.
Pearl was married to an unnamed man with whom she had a daughter named Anna, and 3 unnamed children. Both Pearl and her daughter could walk in daylight thanks to Lapis lazuli jewelry spelled by Emily Bennett, the witch and handmaiden of Katherine Pierce, who was a decades - perhaps centuries-old friend. Pearl had a loyal follower, by the name of Harper who was a soldier, left to die, and perish on the battlefield. She had helped him escape death by feeding him her blood and turning him into a vampire, which Harper was extremely grateful for. This also explains his faithfulness and subservience to her before his death.
Pearl, among many others, was a vampire who resided in Mystic Falls in 1864. She owned and operated an apothecary. Elena's ancestor, Johnathan Gilbert, had been affectionate of Pearl and Anna later voiced that the feelings were mutual. However, when a compass designed to detect the nearest vampire pointed at her, he realized that she was in fact a vampire herself. After brief astonishment and hesitation, he eventually aided in her incarceration which was considered an iniquitous betrayal by both Anna and her mother. She was rounded up with the other 25 vampires to be burned to death in the tomb of the church; however, Emily had cast a spell that protected and sealed them in a tomb below the church instead.
The reason for this was that Emily had been simply holding up her end of the deal she had made with Damon: he was to protect Emily's current family (including her children and all her descendants) in exchange for the protection spell over Katherine in the tomb, but what Damon didn't realize was that saving Katherine meant saving the whole tomb of vampires, even though it was later revealed that Katherine had escaped thanks to one of the Lockwoods. Pearl and her servant Harper were subsequently imprisoned in the tomb for nearly a century and a half, from 1864 to 2010.
Throughout Stefan's Diaries
Pearl told Stefan that their family had been fortunate during the war for Independence, but after Anna became deadly sick so Pearl took her to Katherine because even though she was surrounded by medicine, she couldn't save her daughter. Katherine changed her too. Her sons, baby daughter and husband had died from the illness. She was masquerading as a widow with Anna as her daughter.
Throughout The Vampire Diaries Series
In November 2009, after 146 years of torturous confinement without blood, she was freed from the tomb by her daughter Anna. Stefan Salvatore, Damon Salvatore (who was actually looking for Katherine), Sheila Bennett and her granddaughter Bonnie Bennett also played a part. To open the tomb, the two descendants of Emily needed to work together to cast a counter spell. Elena, who was also there, was the first person Pearl fed on. Anna intended to feed Jeremy's blood to revive her mother, in retribution to Johnathan Gilbert who imprisoned her. Since Jeremy had to be used in order for Anna to enter the tomb, a desperate Anna bit Elena's wrist, drawing blood on which Pearl could feed.
Anna later gave a quasi-apology to Elena as they left the tomb by saying "I just wanted to get my mother out". Anna took Pearl back to her hotel where Damon — who had been awaiting their return — attacked Pearl by putting the gravely weakened woman in a one-hand choke hold, threatening to snap her neck. He demanded from Anna why Katherine wasn't in the tomb. Pearl replied that the guard at the tomb let Katherine go after she promised him that she would turn him into a vampire; she had him under her spell. Damon let her go, shocked. Anna confessed that she had seen Katherine in Chicago in 1983 and that Katherine didn't care to see Damon. Thereafter, she apologized to a devastated and heartbroken Damon, who then left.
Pearl wanted to recover their former property, but needed a temporary cover as she made plans and got the feel of the politics of the town (and the 21st century). She attempted to reopen the apothecary, the building that housed it was the former offices of Jenna's brother-in-law. She and her daughter paid a visit to Damon in the Salvatore Boarding House. Pearl, knowing Damon was an undercover member of the Founder's Council, intended on using him to learn the names of the people in the council and most importantly, to find out which of them were supplied with vervain.
She even offered to reveal Katherine's possible whereabouts in return, which she assumed to know since she had been best friends with her for centuries. However, Damon (who no longer cared for Katherine after her deceit) attempted to intimidate Pearl by once again choking her, this time with no avail. Being well-over three times as old as Damon and at the full extent of her strength, Pearl had little problems overpowering him. She then turned the tables, gouging Damon's eyes when he remained intransigent, which made it very clear that he had no choice but to do what she told him.
She seemed to be as vengeful as the other tomb vampires, seeking retribution against the descendants of the Mystic Falls' Founding Families. However, as time went on, she no longer desired revenge; she just wanted to re-establish her life in Mystic Falls and recover her property. She even went as far as saying "These people are not our enemies; we don't hold grudges and resentments. We'll get our town back, we just have to have patience."
This put her on the wrong side of Frederick, one of the other tomb vampires, who burned with the desire for vengeance. Pearl was accepted as the leader of the tomb vampires despite being constantly challenged by Frederick. At one time Fredrick and his vampire girlfriend Bethanne, in defiance of her instructions, attacked the Salvatores in their home with the intent to kill them. Frederick failed, getting Bethanne killed by Stefan in the process. In retaliation, Pearl staked him in the stomach with a wooden spatula, which led to no fatal consequences, but rather served as a punishment and a reminder of who was in charge.
However, after the other tomb vampires abducted and tortured Stefan Salvatore in Miss Gibbon's home, she lost all faith in the few survivors, dislodged them all from the house, except for Harper, who tried to prevent what was going on and actually saved Stefan's life. For this, he was almost killed by Fredrick and the other tomb vampires. Meanwhile, Pearl was at the Mystic Grill talking with Mayor Lockwood impressing him with her knowledge of the town's history, including how his ancestors came into property in 1864. The implication is that the Lockwoods and other leading families had obtained at least some of Pearl's and some of the other tomb vampire's property at the time, given a meaning to the phrase "take their town back".
Pearl also learned at the Mystic Grill from Mayor Lockwood that the boy that was staring at Anna obviously was Jeremy Gilbert, something that Pearl was not pleased with. She later reminded Anna his family was the reason she was stuck in the tomb. Pearl warned her that Jeremy would drop and betray her just like Johnathan Gilbert did. Jeremy was a descendant of the man she loved and had betrayed her, perhaps seeing a reflection of her own love with a Gilbert man and was afraid that history would repeat itself. However, Anna told her that he already knew she was a vampire and was on board with it. With that Pearl gave Anna an uncharacteristic slap, possibly from Pearl's point of view endangering them all for revealing such a secret, especially to a Gilbert.
Later after Pearl and Anna learned of the events in their house over the abduction of Stefan from Harper, Anna went to the Salvatore's home to express her and Pearl's apologies for what happened to Stefan and Damon. Pearl was devastated over what happened and Anna told Damon that the other vampires had left the farmhouse save Harper. Pearl was too prideful to make the apology in person, but later that day Pearl and Anna ran into Damon and made a half-hearted attempt at an apology by giving him the device that Johnathan Gilbert had invented, to show that she was serious. Damon asked what it was. At the time Pearl didn't know what the device was either. She originally thought it was the vampire detecting compass but she realized her error when it was used against her the night she was taken; she didn't know the real function of the device. After learning of Pearl's presence in Mystic Falls, Elena's uncle, John Gilbert, contacted her through Jenna, ostensibly to discuss the sale of the building where the old apothecary was in person. She knew through Damon that John Gilbert knew exactly who and what she was and the real reason for the meeting was to persuade her to give him the invention and she had no intention of giving it to him. John told her he intended to change her mind. She wanted to know why he wanted it even if the device didn't work and John quipped that it was a family heirloom.
He then tried to manipulate her sentimentality by using her love for Johnathan Gilbert, his ancestor, to get her to tell him where Johnathan's invention is. Sadly, it worked. He first told her that, having read his ancestor's journals, he knew that Johnathan regretted having betrayed her and then laughed and said that the latter actually hated her and his only remorse was having not killed her himself. Pearl angrily told him that she gave the device to Damon and that he should rot in hell.
After this, Pearl decided to leave town. Anna came home to find her packing. When Anna asked why she was leaving, Pearl replied that it was a mistake to think they could live there after all. Too many people knew the truth, too much history and it was not safe. Anna bitterly resisted implying that Pearl was just giving up. Pearl correctly says Anna's resistance was due to Jeremy. Anna protested that wasn't it, only that she finally had a chance to build a life of her own. Pearl grudgingly gave her daughter the right to make her own choices. She said to Anna, "You gave me my life back. I'm just trying to protect yours. I can't force you. It's your decision!" 
Later with Anna gone, but expected back, Pearl told Harper that he didn't have to come with them. He wanted to, since Mystic Falls was never really his home and he had not forgotten that she saved him when he was left for dead on the battlefield. As she and Harper were walking out the door with their luggage, John Gilbert took them by surprise and staked both of them with a rifle like stake gun from a long distance. Later Anna returned home and was horrified to find their corpses. Pearl was last seen dead on the ground with Anna sobbing next to her body.
While she maybe was willing to use some of her powers of compulsion on humans (but again it was not shown on screen nor was said she did), like Mrs. Samantha Gibbons for the use of her farmhouse, she did seem to value human life. After she was released from the tomb, she started feeding on hospital blood bank supplies. Elena was the sole known time Pearl fed directly from a human, at Anna's urging. Other than that she wasn't known to hunt humans and drink directly from them at all in her short existence in the 21st century. In 1864 she drew romantically close to Johnathan Gilbert, even loved him, showing that she looked upon humans to be much more than food or toys. Indeed, she is not known to have fed on healthy humans during that time. Whether she was always like that is unknown. The harvesting and storage of human blood for transfusion purposes was yet to be invented so if she did partake in human blood it was likely from a live human or at least a freshly dead one. Harper was a civil war soldier that was dead or dying on the battlefield she turned, her only known sire, but as noted she was not noted to hunt humans. Harper is the only known human other than Elena that she has fed on. If she did not drink human blood regularly, it is likely she fed on animal blood at the time like Stefan Salvatore does presently.
- "These people are not our enemies. We don't hold grudges and resentments. We'll get our town back. We just have to have patience."
- —Pearl to the tomb vampires regarding the town's people in There Goes the Neighborhood.
In any case she is certainly not inherently hostile to humans. At first, she intended to settle in Mystic Falls to retake the town and make at least the town council pay for what their ancestors did to her and the other vampires, finding out who was on the council and finding out that the same families were in positions of power as they were in her day, but she eventually mellowed, putting aside her desire for vengeance on the town's descendants and the Gilbert's whom she had a personal grudge against, putting aside her hurt over Johnathan Gilbert's betrayal and gave her reluctant blessing for Anna to be romantically involved with Jeremy Gilbert, a human, after being hostile to it. She eventually tried to persuade and even order the tomb vampires to put aside their need to avenge themselves against the town, but failed at doing so and she and the other tomb vampires with the exception of Harper went their separate ways. Still, she desired to stay in town since it was her home. However, when it became apparent to her that too many people, including a clearly hostile John Gilbert, knew that she and her daughter were vampires, she likely saw the inevitable war coming. She decided to move (ironically as she originally intended to do in 1864) and get herself and Anna to safety (although Anna wanted to stay with Jeremy Gilbert whom she loved). As she was preparing to leave, she and Harper were killed by John Gilbert, working for both his own aims and Isobel Flemming's, who was intern operating under the orders of Katherine Pierce, Pearl's 19th century best friend, possibly thinking that she wanted revenge on her for what she did to Pearl by leaving her in the tomb.
She at least allowed Miss Gibbons to be compelled and probably considered killing the town council members for payback what their ancestors did to her, but despite her great suffering especially during the first few weeks trapped of enduring searing pain due to the lack of intake of blood of any kind and (this was told to Stefan by Frederick a tomb vampire bent on murderous revenge on the town) in addition of 146 years of isolation, she was able to put her anger aside and wanted to live in peace and purchase back her old building where her apothecary business was and wanted to re-establish, but both fate and hatred between vampires and humans took her and soon after, her daughter's life.
On the spectrum of tolerance towards humans, she was very close to Lexi, if not her equal.
Pearl was an attractive vampire of Asian descent. She had long, dark black hair with brown eyes, and she stood at 5'5.
Powers and Abilities
Pearl possessed all the standard powers and abilities of a non-Original vampire.
Pearl had the typical weaknesses of a non-Original vampire.
- Pearl and Anna (Mother and Daughter/Former Allies)
- Pearl and Katherine Pierce (Ex-Best Friend/Enemies)
- Pearl and Harper (Master and Servant/Good Friends/Former Allies)
- Pearl and Johnathan Gilbert (Ex-Friends/Former Love Interest/Enemies)
- Pearl and Damon Salvatore (Frenemies/Enemies)
- The name Pearl comes from the Latin, "Perla" the concretion formed inside molluscs. It was widely used in English as a given name. However, Pearl is over 570 years old (as a Vampire), so she was born around the time that the Portuguese sailed around the Cape of Good Hope. That means that in all likelihood she was born in Japan or China, so she should not have an English name. It could be a nickname or the translation of her original name.
- It is said that Pearl and Katherine were best friends long before they arrived to Mystic Falls, but still, Katherine betrayed her along with the other vampires in order to lead Klaus to think that she had been killed in the church, back in 1864.
- In the episode The Reckoning, Katherine reveals that Pearl knew of a way to kill Klaus. Pearl knew about Mikael, a vampire who hunts other vampires, and the one person Klaus seems to fear. This was also Pearl and Anna's leverage against Katherine which makes the attempt on Anna and Pearl's lives pointless as it would ultimately work against Katherine.
- Pearl strongly disliked John Gilbert and had her heart broken by Johnathan Gilbert. As a result, she disapproved of Anna seeing Jeremy Gilbert because he was apart of the Gilbert family.
- She was a Shopkeeper in 1864, and owned the Apothecary.