As Percy jumps into the Mississippi River from the Gateway Arch, a Nereid, sent by Poseidon, tells Percy to go to Santa Monica. When he arrives, a Nereid gives Percy three pearls saying they are gifts from his father, Poseidon. Percy takes the pearls with him to the Underworld. Percy wanted to save his mother, but only has three pearls. Hades tries to kill Percy, Annabeth, and Grover when they smash the pearls at their feet, the pearls then carry them to the middle of Santa Monica Bay because, as the Nereid said, "What belongs to the sea returns to the sea."
The pearls' main power is to return the user back to the sea. When the pearl is smashed by the user, nothing will happen for a few seconds. When Percy was in the Underworld, he used a pearl, and a bubble surrounded them, bringing them up from the Underworld and near a beach, but still out to sea. Hades calls them Poseidon's "little tricks."
In the film, they do not return you to the sea, but to the place you visualize, when you crush the pearls and are instantly transformed into smoke; this replaced Percy and his friends flying home on a plane since the pearls brought them to the entrance to Olympus instead.
The pearls are said to be Persephone instead of Poseidon's, and are used to help her visitors escape the Underworld. Percy, Annabeth, and Grover have to travel all over the United States to retrieve these pearls to rescue Percy's mother. Percy, his mother Sally, and Annabeth use the pearls in the movie. The first is located in Aunty Em's Garden Gnome Emporium, the lair of Medusa. The second is located in the replica Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee. The third is located in the Lotus Casino in Las Vegas.
- The pearls share a similar purpose to Persephone's travel roses, as they both grant a quick means of leaving the Underworld.