June is Gemini's birthday month. Pearls have always been associated with purity, humility, and innocence. It can be said that the June birthstone means "sweet simplicity". Because of this, pearls have always been used as wedding gifts for newlyweds. The name pearl originates from the Latin word for leg, perna. It rather imaginatively is a reference to the leg-of-mutton shape of an open mollusk shell. Pearls are believed to create a sense of balance and provide emotional healing. The gem is also associated with faithfulness, loyalty, modesty, and purity.
The Discovery and Significance of Pearls Birthstones
This fascinating June birthstone is found in oceans, lakes, and rivers around the world. This timeless wardrobe staple is loved by women of all ages. The origin of pearls fascinated our ancestors. The ancients in the Middle East believed that pearls were tears that fell from heaven. Chinese legend claims that the June birthstone is taken from the brain of a dragon. Christopher Columbus and his contemporaries believed that mollusks formed pearls from dewdrops.
A pearl is an organic gemstone that grows in the tissue of living seawater or freshwater mollusks (oysters or mussels). Natural pearls are formed when mollusks secrete a substance called nacre around an irritant, such as a grain of sand or an invading parasite. Cultured pearls are the product of the human intervention. Technicians implant the mantle tissue alone (usually for freshwater aquaculture), or together with nacre beads (all mariculture) into mollusks. Mollusks secrete nacre-encapsulated irritants in the same way that natural pearls form. Cultured pearls are cultivated in pearl farms: mollusks, whether freshwater or seawater, are purified, protected from predation by other animals, and eventually ready to be harvested. Thousands of years of pearling have destroyed natural pearl beds, so the vast majority of the pearl trade is cultured pearls. These cultured pearl birthstones come in a dizzying array of different sizes, colors, and shapes.
Warm waters...clear skies...great scenery, sounds like a dreamy seaside getaway, don't you think? And that's an accurate description of where these pearl birthstones are usually found. Pearl-producing mollusks cannot survive in polluted waters, so pearl farms are often far from cities—and often in scenic locations. People have been searching for natural pearls in the Arabian Gulf (Persian Gulf) for at least 5,000 years, and scuba divers have been searching for pearls in the Red Sea as early as 300 BC. Since 2000 BC, the Strait of Mannar has provided pearls for mankind. Beginning with Spanish colonial rule in the 16th century, pearls were mined in large quantities in the waters of Mexico, Central America and what is now Venezuela. Today, only a few pearls can be found in all of these areas.
Care and Cleaning of Pearl Birthstones
Pearls have a Mohs scale of 2.5 to 3.0, so they are relatively soft gems that require extra care. Store pearls separate from other gemstones and metal jewelry to avoid scratching. Never put your pearl birthstone in a plastic bag - a chemical released from plastic can damage the pearl's surface. Pearl jewelry must be worn after perfume, hair-perfecting products, and makeup. Best way to clean your June birthstone: It's best to clean it with a soft damp cloth after each wear.