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Birthstones: June - Pearl

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“For centuries, pearls have been a symbol of beauty and purity. Today, they are regarded as both classic and contemporary, coming in many more fashionable styles than your grandmother’s traditional strand of pearls.” - American Gem Society

In honor of the June birthstone, we’re diving into the qualities of the pearl.  

Identification

Color: Pearls can occur in a wide variety of colors with the most familiar being white and cream. Black, gray, and silver are also fairly common, but the palette of pearl colors extends to every hue. The main color, or bodycolor, is often modified by additional colors called overtones, which are typically pink (sometimes called rosé), green, purple, or blue. Some pearls also show the iridescent phenomenon known as orient. - GIA

Mohs Hardness: 2.5-4

History

People have coveted natural pearls as symbols of wealth and status for thousands of years. A Chinese historian recorded the oldest written mention of natural pearls in 2206 BC. As the centuries progressed toward modern times, desire for natural pearls remained strong. Members of royal families as well as wealthy citizens in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere treasured natural pearls and passed them from generation to generation. - GIA

The most historically important source for fine natural pearls is the Persian Gulf, where pearl oysters were once found in great abundance off the coast and islands of present day Bahrain. The creamy white pearls from these oysters are still considered the finest natural pearls in the world and command premium prices. - Department of Geological Sciences at UT Austin

The first steps toward pearl culturing occurred hundreds of years ago in China, and Japanese pioneers successfully produced whole cultured pearls around the beginning of the twentieth century. These became commercially important in the 1920s (about the same time natural pearl production began to decline). From the 1930s through the 1980s, pearl culturing diversified and spread to various countries around the world. GIA

Physical, Mystical and Spiritual Properties

Pearl is a mixture of mineral and organic material formed with the soft living tissue of a shelled mollusk. Chemically pearls are made of calcium carbonate (mainly aragonite or a mixture of aragonite and calcite). - Gemdat

There are four major types of cultured whole pearls: Akoya, South Sea, Tahitian and Freshwater.  - GIA

Pearls have been used throughout medical history to help treat disorders of the digestive tract, muscular systems and the skin. They also are said to give the wearer a sense of calmness and centeredness and can especially enhance personal integrity. - Pearls International

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