Pearl Birthstone Jewellery: June’s Gleaming Treasures of the Sea

Sunday, 4 June 2023
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Pearl Ring

Pearls embody a timeless elegance and grace that have captivated hearts for centuries. With their lustrous surfaces and delicate hues, pearls have been treasured as symbols of purity and wisdom, carrying with them a rich history and a touch of mystery. As June arrives and pearl birthstone jewellery takes centre stage, it’s a great time to explore the allure of pearls, delve into their origins, and understand more about what makes them a wonderful choice for birthstone jewellery, including June birthstone rings, or anyone simply seeking a touch of refined sophistication for their jewellery collection.

The Magical Process of Pearl Formation Explained

Pearls are formed through a remarkable process within the soft tissue of certain molluscs, primarily oysters and mussels. When an irritant such as a grain of sand, a parasite, or even a piece of shell enters the mollusc’s shell and comes into contact with its mantle (the soft tissue lining the interior of the shell), the mollusc responds by secreting a substance known as nacre.

Pearl EarringsNacre, also called mother-of-pearl, is composed of layers of aragonite, a form of calcium carbonate, along with proteins and organic materials. The mollusc continuously deposits layers of nacre around the irritant, forming a protective coating to reduce irritation and smooth the surface. Over time, as more and more layers of nacre are added, a pearl is gradually formed.

The process of pearl formation is a result of the mollusc’s defence mechanism and its ability to produce nacre. The nacre secreted by the mantle cells contains microscopic platelets that arrange themselves in a highly ordered manner, reflecting and refracting light, giving pearls their characteristic bright lustre and stunning iridescence.

The shape and size of a pearl are determined by various factors, including the shape of the irritant and the manner in which nacre is deposited around it. Round pearls are considered the most valuable and are relatively rare, while other shapes like baroque, oval, or teardrop can also occur, depending on the circumstances of their formation.

The time required for a pearl to form varies depending on factors such as the species of mollusc, the size of the pearl, and the environmental conditions the creature lives in. It can take anywhere from several months to several years for a pearl to develop to a desirable size and quality for pearl birthstone jewellery.

It’s important to note that not all mollusks produce pearls. The ones commonly used for pearl production include freshwater mussels and several species of saltwater oysters, such as the Akoya oyster, the Tahitian black-lipped oyster, and the South Sea pearl oyster.

Pearl Colours and Properties

Pearls are renowned for their exquisite range of colours and variations, offering a captivating array of options for jewellery enthusiasts. The colour of a pearl is influenced by factors such as the species of mollusc, the environment it inhabits, and even the water’s temperature. From classic creamy white to shades of pink, blue, green, and even black, pearls display a remarkable diversity that caters to a wide range of preferences.

Pearl PendantWhite pearls, with their timeless elegance, are among the most popular and versatile choices. They can range from pure bright white to slightly off-white, often exhibiting subtle undertones of pink, silver, or ivory. White pearls are prized for their luminosity and are frequently used in classic and sophisticated pearl birthstone jewellery designs.

Pink pearls radiate a delicate and feminine charm. Ranging from soft blush to vibrant rose hues, pink pearls can possess a warm, romantic glow. The intensity of the colour can vary, allowing for a wide spectrum of shades to choose from.

For those seeking a touch of unique allure, black pearls offer a mesmerising option. Found primarily in Tahitian and other South Sea pearls, these pearls exhibit an impressive range of colours that can include deep black, charcoal grey, peacock green, and even hints of blue and purple. Their dark, mysterious tones make them an intriguing and eye-catching choice.

In addition to these classic colours, pearls can also showcase variations such as golden, lavender, blue, and green. Golden pearls, prized for their warmth and richness, can display shades ranging from pale champagne to deep golden hues. Lavender pearls exhibit a soft, ethereal beauty with shades of lilac and violet. Blue pearls offer a rare and striking appearance, often featuring cool and serene shades reminiscent of the sea. Green pearls, on the other hand, evoke a sense of natural beauty with their verdant hues.

When it comes to hardness and durability, pearls are relatively soft gemstones compared to minerals on the Mohs scale. Pearls typically range between 2.5 and 4.5 on the scale, which means they are more susceptible to scratching and damage compared to harder gemstones like diamonds or sapphires.

As organic gems composed of layers of nacre, pearls require careful handling and protection from harsh chemicals, extreme temperatures, and prolonged exposure to sunlight. With proper care and maintenance, pearls can maintain their beauty and durability for generations to come.

Pearls in Legend and Myth

Most people who are interested in birthstone jewellery in general like to know the meanings, legends, and myths behind it, and there are plenty of those when it comes to pearls!

Pearl NecklaceThroughout history, pearls have captivated the imaginations of cultures around the world. These lustrous gems have been associated with tales of enchantment, love, purity, and divine origin, adding to their allure and symbolism.

  • In ancient Greek mythology, pearls were believed to be tears of joy shed by the gods. According to one legend, when the goddess Aphrodite, the embodiment of love and beauty, emerged from the sea, droplets of water that fell from her body transformed into pearls as they touched the ocean’s surface. This myth established a strong connection between pearls and love, associating them with romance and desire.
  • In Persian mythology, pearls were said to be the result of a cosmic battle between light and darkness. The belief was that when a rainbow touched the earth, its colours transformed into pearls, representing purity and perfection. Pearls were highly valued in Persian culture, and they were considered symbols of wealth and power.
  • In Chinese mythology, pearls were associated with dragons, which were revered as celestial beings embodying wisdom, power, and good fortune. The dragon’s scales were said to be adorned with pearls that represented its mystical abilities. Pearls were regarded as treasures that brought luck, protection, and prosperity to those who possessed them.
  • In Hindu mythology, pearls held great significance and were believed to be the dewdrops from heaven that fell into the sea and were then collected by oysters. Pearls were considered sacred gems associated with the moon and were often used in religious rituals and ceremonies.
  • The association of pearls with purity and innocence is prevalent in many cultural myths. In Christian lore, pearls were associated with the gates of heaven, symbolising spiritual enlightenment and eternal life. Pearls were also seen as symbols of purity and virtue in European folklore, often worn by brides on their wedding day to bring blessings and a happy marriage.

Whether you are thinking of celebrating a June birthday pearl birthstone jewellery or simply drawn to the enchanting allure of pearls, why not embrace the magic of pearls and let their iridescent beauty adorn your life, carrying with them the stories of the sea and the whispered tales of ancient lore.

Author Bio

Jill Hansen runs Anastasia’s Of Broome and is a highly recognised expert in both the fields of South Sea Pearls and Diamonds. Jill trained in seeding pearls in the Cook Islands by Japanese Pearl Technicians, and established a wholesale pearl business selling pearls all over the world. She pioneered the combination of pearls and diamonds to create Lust™ Pearls, a unique fusion of these two beautiful gemstones. Jill holds the prestigious recognition of being an Antwerp Diamond Broker for selecting and sourcing Diamonds direct from the diamond capital of the world, Antwerp. She is a diamond expert and is happy to use and impart her knowledge to help customers make informed decisions.

Not sure what your birthstone is check out our article on all monthly gemstones here.

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