icon The Fascinating Journey of June's Birthstone - The Pearl

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The Fascinating Journey of June's Birthstone - The Pearl

by Charlotte Mostert on June 02, 2024
From Sea to Jewelry Box The Fascinating Journey of June's Birthstone the Pearl

June’s birthstone is the pearl, which has long been a symbol of wealth and luxury due to their rarity, elegance, and delicacy. Pearls are often associated with the Moon, due to the shape, colour, and ethereal shine.

History of Pearls

No one knows who truly discovered pearls for the first time; there is a story about an ancient civilization's divers discovering pearls while searching for food.What we do know, is that the Romans and Egyptians prized pearls from as early as the 5th .

In 1893, the Japanese innovator Kokichi Mikimoto figured out how to grow pearls in a process called "culturing".

Pearl in shell

How are Pearls formed

Organic pearls that are grown within the tissue of a living saltwater or freshwater mollusk, for example an oyster or a mussel. Once an irritant lays palace within the mollusk, a secretion of a substance called nacre forms around the piece of sand or parasite that invaded the shell. Over time the nacre hardens around the irritant and creates a pearl.

 

Pearl in Mollusk

Historical Pearls

La Peregrina (the Wanderer), is a 50.56 carat drop-shaped pearl that was discovered in the 1500s in the Gulf of Panama. Legend has it that a slave exchanged it for his freedom. It is deemed one of the most famous natural pearls, and was a prized possession of European royalty until 1969 when Richard Burton gifted it to his wife, Elizabeth Taylor - Elizabeth Taylor's Ring.

In 2011 the Cartier necklace containing La Peregrina was auctioned for $11.8 million.

The Pearl of Asia was a gift from Shah Jahan of India to his favourite wife, Mumtaz, in whose memory he built the Taj Mahal. The pearl was believed to be about 3 inches long and 2 inches across, weighing 1/3 of a pound (0.13 kg).

 

Pearls in Jewellery

Unlike other gemstones, pearls are not from the earth, but rather the ocean. They do not require any cutting or polishing techniques to achieve or maintain their aesthetic. Instead they have a natural beauty to them, due to their incandescent light caused by a substance called nacre.

Queen Elizabeth II Pearl Earrings

 

Pearl care & cleaning

Pearls rank between 2.5 and 3.0 on the Mohs Scale of hardness, making them relatively soft gems that require specific handling. To prevent scratching, it's crucial to store them apart from other gemstones and metal jewellery. Avoid storing your pearl jewellery in plastic bags, as plastic may release chemicals harmful to their surface.

Prioritise applying perfume, hair products, and cosmetics before donning your pearl jewellery. The recommended method to clean your pearls is to gently wipe them with a soft, damp cloth, ideally after each wear.

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Just like the hidden treasures of the ocean depths, pearls symbolise purity, wisdom, and serenity, offering a delicate yet powerful reminder of life's natural beauty.

Whether adorning jewellery or symbolising wisdom, pearls continue to captivate hearts and minds alike, serving as a timeless emblem of elegance and grace.

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