June Birthstone - Pearl!
Pearls were presented as gifts to Chinese royalty as early as 2300 BC, while in ancient Rome, pearl jewellery was considered the ultimate status symbol. So precious were the spherical gems that in the 1st century BC, Julius Caesar passed a law limiting the wearing of pearls only to the ruling classes.
We know that they have been worn as a form of jewellery for millennia thanks to a fragment of pearl jewellery found in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess that dates back to 420 BC, which is now on display at the Louvre museum in Paris.
Unlike most gemstones that are found within the Earth, pearls have an organic origin. They are created inside the shells of certain species of oysters and clams. Some pearls are found naturally in mollusks that inhabit the sea or freshwater settings such as rivers. However, many pearls today are cultured-raised in oyster farms that sustain a thriving pearl industry. Pearls are made mostly of aragonite, a relatively soft carbonate mineral (CaCO3) that also makes up the shells of mollusks.
Caring for your Pearl
Pearls are organic gemstones that are vulnerable to acid, alkaline and extremes of humidity. To preserve your pearls' radiance, avoid letting them come into contact with cosmetics, hair spray, or perfume.
After every wear, wipe your pearls with a soft cloth. This will help prevent any buildup of oils or other substances that may have come in contact with your jewellery throughout the day. Clean with a damp cloth only as needed. If your pearls are visibly stained, you can mix a solution of lukewarm water and mild dish soap, dip a soft cleaning cloth in it and wipe the pearls. Do not submerge a pearl necklace in water, as it will weaken the silk thread.Let them dry all the way before storing.
Origin: In freshwater rivers and ponds, primarily China
Colour: mostly white, cream or grey but can also be black, purple, pink, green, champagne, chocolate and blue
Known to offer: wisdom gained through experience
Myth: During Ancient Greek days, the myth was that pearls were the gods' tears. There is also a superstition that pearls should not be given as gifts because they will bring the wearer great sadness and bad luck. To counter this, the recipient of the pearls should gave the person gifting them the pearls a small amount of money to 'purchase' the pearls from them.