Were you born in the month of June? Lucky you! June is one of only 2 months, the other being December, that reps 3 different stones; Pearl, Alexandrite and Moonstone. But since the pearl is the traditional birthstone of June, that’s the one we’ll focus on. I mean there’s a reason why Coco Chanel said, “A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls.” Pearls are known for being classic, timeless and romantic. They are also associated with purity, humility, peace, beauty, innocence and happiness. This is why they are so closely linked to weddings. Pearls are often given as a traditional wedding gift, and adorn the wedding gown. They are also the traditional anniversary gift for the 30th anniversary.
The History of The Pearl
Throughout ancient history the origin of the pearl has been linked to many things. Some thought that pearls were tear drops from Heaven, part of dragon’s brains, mermaid tears or parts of the moon. Because of its mystical nature people believed pearls had the power to cure illnesses or were the secret to eternal youth. Even today many Chinese cosmetics that promise younger looking skin contain pearl.
Our fascination with pearls continued throughout history, becoming part of culture and art. Many Chinese works of art contain pearls, and let’s not forget the famous painting by Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring. Over the years many celebrities like First Lady Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn have all had a deep love for pearls. Audrey Hepburn famously wore a necklace full of pearls with a diamond studded flower for her role in Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Elizabeth Taylor was gifted La Peregrina from her husband Richard Burton. La Peregrina is a 50.56 carat natural pearl that became part of a necklace which eventually auctioned for $11.8 million.
Where Do Pearls Come From?
Pearls are the only organic gemstone and come from freshwater or saltwater oysters or mussels. Pearls can be natural or cultured. Natural pearls are symbols of status and wealth due to the rarity of finding them. Many natural pearls are found in the Mississippi River. However, due to over farming, most pearls come from mollusks that are contained in a protected area and are referred to as cultured pearls. A famous line of cultured pearls is Mikimoto pearls, named after the first person to culture pearls and create the industry. With cultured pearls an irritant is injected into the mollusks that make them secrete a substance around the irritant called nacre, and this forms the pearl. Pearls come in many different colors like white, gray, black, rose and more.
Japan is the largest source of white pearls while pearls from the Persian Gulf are creamy white. Australia produces pearls that are silvery white or yellow and ones from Mexico are Tahitian.
Pearls are softer than other gemstones and should be handled with care. Pearls should always be put on after perfume and wiped with a soft cloth after use.
Are you shopping for someone with a June birthday? Or perhaps treating yourself? Shop our June Birthstone Collection to find yourself something that’s as pretty as a pearl!
Want to know more? From mining diamonds in South America to hand-selecting thousands of loose stones for our showrooms, our Founder & President Keith Leclerc has done it all. Speak with one of our local diamond experts at any of our 10 locations today!
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