There is more than one birthstone for the month of June but the pearl is the most traditional of the gemstones associated with this month. Pearls are famous for their glistening iridescence, and their milky glow has been showcased in jewelry pieces, and as adornment for clothing for thousands of years. Pearls have been so highly prized that divers have been harvesting them at great risk since prehistoric times.
Physical properties The pearl is a unique and exceptional gemstone that is formed by the soft tissue of a living mollusk. A pearl is formed when a grain of sand or other irritant gets inside a mollusk and, in a defensive response, the mollusk forms pearly layers around it. The most valuable pearls in the world are produced naturally and are extremely rare.
Cultured pearls, which are still produced by pearl oysters or mussels are intentionally farmed, whereas natural pearls occur spontaneously. Pearls come in a range of iridescent colours and tones from the classic white or pink to gray or even brown and blue. The natural process by which pearls are formed can be seen in their charmingly unique shapes.
Healing and Meaning Natural pearls are formed over a period of time, as the mollusk builds layer upon iridescent layer, but it was once believed that they were formed from the tears of mermaids. This slow and gradual formation is why pearls are said to represent wisdom, or education, gained through diligent perseverance or study. Pearls are also said to attract good luck and wealth.
Pearls are believed to carry a feminine energy, and their resemblance to the moon further enforces this female connection. Fertility is associated with pearls as well, which, along with their white colour, explains why they are so popular in wedding fashion. They also symbolize love and, in particular, purity.
History of Pearls
In Ancient China, people believed that wearing pearls would protect them from fire and dragons. Pearl divers would take huge risks hunting for pearls and would tie a rope around their waist before diving to ensure they could be pulled back up to the surface if needed.
Divers would have to pull individual oysters from the ocean floor and check each one. These impressive efforts demonstrate just how highly prized and valuable pearls were. In fact, the beautiful pearls produced by fresh water mussels are partly what lead Julius Caesar to invade Britain with the Roman Army.
There is a famous story about Cleopatra which involves a pearl. It is said that when Marc Anthony visited Egypt, Cleopatra wished to host a dinner so elaborate and decadent that Marc Anthony would be forced to acknowledge the supreme power and wealth of the Egyptian Empire.
In a dramatic gesture, Cleopatra is said to have dissolved a large pearl, at the time the most expensive gemstones in the world, in a glass of wine and drank it.
Style Tips for Pearls
One of the most common pieces of pearl jewelry is the pearl necklace, which is so iconic that it has necessitated its own special vocabulary. Any other necklace is referred to by numerical measurement alone but pearl necklace lengths have their own romantic names: collar, choker, princess, matinee, opera, and, the longest, rope.
Pearl earrings are another classic jewelry piece that are unquestionably iconic. It is the very timelessness of pearls that allows them to be conservative or playful depending how they are styled. They truly can be a romantic and eye catching accessory for any age.
Care and Cleaning for jewelry with Pearls
For best care and maintenance, pearls should be wiped clean with a soft cloth after wearing. For a more thorough cleaning, warm soapy water can be used but it should be noted that if the pearls are strung in a necklace, enough time should be given for the string to completely dry before the necklace is worn again. Pearls should be stored lying flat, and ultrasonic and steam cleaning should always be avoided.
There are often unique and beautiful jewelry made with Pearls in my online store, it is a beautiful and classic to create handmade jewelry with. Shop all Pearl pieces in my online store and get your very own Emerald jewelry shipped right to your door.
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