Birthstone of June
June – the hot and wonderful month of summer, school is out and more time is spent out and about in the sun. This month was bestowed with a very special gem, not found within the earth but within a very special creature, this jewel is known as the Pearl.
The word “pearl” is derived from the French word “perle”, originally from the Latin “perma” meaning “leg.” Unlike the many gemstones found in the world, the pearl is a very soft stone with a hardness rating between 2.5 and 4.5 on the Mohs’ Scale; deeming it to be very fragile.
For thousands of years, pearls came from the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf. Today saltwater pearls predominantly come from China and Japan, while the freshwater pearls can be found throughout European rivers in France, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Austria and the US. The vast majority of pearls that are produced today are known as “cultured pearls”; they are produced by mollusks but require human tampering to begin the process, they are not formed naturally. “Natural pearls” form spontaneous in the wild; they are the most valuable and yet very rare. The Keshi pearl and the Tahitian (commonly referred to as the “black pearl”) pearl are two other categories of pearls. Although the Keshi pearl is not considered as a natural pearl, they are the byproducs of cultured pearls, hence why there is no human intervention. They are typically very petite in size; only a few millimeters in radius.
A pearl is formed in the mantle of a living shelled mollusk, made from crystalized compressed layers of calcium carbonate. Biologically speaking, almost any shelled mollusk can produce some kind of pearl, under the right circumstance. They can come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on how nature fabricates them; placing the round ones on top of the markets, asking for the highest prices. Colourization is determined depending on the type of water the creature lives in; it can range from gentle pinks and yellows to mysterious blacks and browns.
Like diamonds, pearls were always one of the more popular treasures that a girl can acquire. Its beautiful body shaped into a flawless work of art; the Aztecs and Mayans believed that this stone contained magical powers. Native Americans were first to discover the freshwater pearls of the Mississippi and the people took pride in their find, using it in the fashion, culture, decorations and as a token of trade.
The pearl has since then eased into the fashion of this day and age, appearing on rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces. If you want something that is simple and beautiful with a glossy look, the pearl is the stone for you.