June has Three Birthstones – Pearls are One of Them
The month of June has three birthstones – pearls, moonstone, and Alexandrite, each of which is beautiful in its own way.
I love pearls of all kinds! Pearls are found in China, Japan, Australia, the Philippines, and Polynesia. Freshwater pearls are very popular today and are also affordable. Pearls come in a variety of wonderful colors and they can also be dyed. White pearls have a traditonal elegance while pink pearls are ever so feminine. The color of the pearls depends on the color of the outer shell of the mollusk. The second June birthstone is Alexandrite which is found in Brazil and Sri Lanka. This stone has color change properties due to traces of chromium. The stones are green in daylight and a red color in incandescent light. Moonstone is the third June option. The stone consists of orthoclase and albite which are stacked in alternating layers. This layering causes the whitish “adularescence” which gives moonstone its unique appearance.
Pearls are traditional jewelry gifts for graduation and are widely used for wedding jewelry and gifts A small piece of jewelry makes a wonderful gift for bridesmaids and attendants and the mother of the bride can be radiant in a beautiful pearl necklace.
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The History of Pearls
I ran across a wonderful article recently in National Geographic on the history of pearls. According to the article, a bit of pearl jewelry was found in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess from about 420 B.C. showing that pearls were worn as adornment.
Roman nobility developed an obsession with pearls and these precious stones rapidly became the ultimate symbol of wealth, power, and prestige in Rome. “Pearls were so rare and expensive that they were reserved almost exclusively for the noble and affluent. Julius Caesar ruled that women beneath a certain rank could not wear them, specifying that they were meant for ‘those of a designated position and age’.“
There were four pearl-producing regions known in antiquity: the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, India and Sri Lanka, and some areas of China. According to the National Geographic article, the pearl trade in Rome began around the end of the first century B.C. and the beginning of the first century A.D., when the trade route with the East through Egypt was first established. Here’s the link to the full article: