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June’s Birthstone: Pearl

June’s Birthstone: Pearl

Introducing the June Birthstone: Pearl

Pearls are the most time-honoured and traditional of the June birthstones. They offer a feminine and romantic feel and can elevate any outfit they are paired with. Their mythological past is vast, with claims that they are made from the tears of mermaids and angels.

This enchanting June birthstone originates from oceans, lakes and rivers around the world. It is a timeless wardrobe staple, beloved by women of all ages. The origin of pearls fascinated our forebears. Ancients from the Middle East believed that pearls were teardrops fallen from heaven. The Chinese fancied that the June birthstone came from the brain of a dragon. Christopher Columbus and his contemporaries thought that molluscs formed pearls from dew drops.

Pearls are organic gems that grow inside the tissue of a living saltwater or freshwater mollusc (either an oyster or a mussel). Natural pearls form when the mollusc secretes a substance called nacre around an irritant such as a piece of sand or a parasite that has invaded its shell. Cultured pearls are a product of human intervention. Technicians implant a piece of mantle tissue alone (common for freshwater cultured pearls) or with a mother-of-pearl shell bead (all saltwater) into a host mollusc. The mollusc covers the irritant with nacre, just like a natural pearl. Cultured pearls are raised in pearl farms – saltwater or freshwater operations where the molluscs are cleaned, protected from predators and eventually harvested. Thousands of years of pearl fishing have decimated the natural pearl beds, so cultured pearls account for the vast majority of pearl sales today. These cultured pearl birthstones come in a dazzling array of sizes, colours and shapes.

Pearls have long been associated with purity, humility and innocence. So it may be said that the meaning of the June birthstone is “sweet simplicity”. As such, pearls were traditionally given as a wedding gift.

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