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June Birthstone - Pearl

June Birthstones

Pearl

3rd and 30th Anniversary

IS Half Round with Spherule Halos

Steven Kretchmer InnerSecrets Polarium Half Round band with Pearl Spherule halos.

 Pearls are one of the most romantic and intimate gems. Natural pearls are formed in mollusks (primarily oysters and mussels) due to an irritation that causes the mollusk to produce nacre (same substance as mother of pearl) without any human assistance. Cultured pearls are produced with human intervention. A round shell bead or tissue from another mollusk is surgically placed in the body of the mollusk to act as the irritant.

Almost all pearls on the market today are cultured and must be described as such.

Cultured Akoya pearls come from mostly the colder saltwater of northern Asia. They are the most familiar cultured pearls and are usually round, with white, silver-white, to light cream body color. A second color may seem superimposed over the body color called overtone such as rose overtone on a white body color. Sizes do not usually get above 10 mm.

Cultured Tahitian Pearls or Black Pearls come from warmer saltwater atolls of the South Seas but can be harvested anywhere they can farm the Pinctada margaritifera or the black lipped oyster.  True Tahitian pearls are those only processed through Tahiti, the rest should be only referred to as Black Pearls.  These pearls range from 8 to 18 millimeters in size, the average being 13 millimeters and their body can range from black to various tones of gray and browns.  Black Lipped oyster pearls also often have overtones and orient.

Cultured South Sea Pearls are also warm saltwater pearls from the Pinctada maxima or the golden lipped/silver lipped oyster.  Found off the coasts of Australia, South Sea Islands and the Philippines.  These pearl farms are under very strict regulations regarding where and how they farm to sourcing the spat (baby oysters).   South Sea pearls dominate the pearl world in size, and are generally found between 9mm and 15mm, though some pearls can be found as large as 20mm in size.  These larger and extremely rare pearls are extremely valuable, especially in the higher qualities. Pearls below 10mm are typically considered small in size.  The colors of the South Sea pearls range from white, silver to various tones of golden.

Cultured Freshwater Pearls are farmed in freshwaters all over the world. Unionoida is an monophyletic order of freshwater musselsaquatic bivalve mollusks. The order includes most of the larger freshwater mussels, including the freshwater pearl mussels.  Typically the farms are located in lakes and rivers of Asia but are also found in rice paddies as well as anywhere the mollusk can survive.  Freshwater pearls typically range in size from 5mm to 12mm, though occasionally some larger sizes can be found.  Freshwater pearls below 7mm are considered small in size.  7mm until 9mm are generally the more popular sizes selected for necklaces, while anything above 10mm is considered to be more rare and valuable, especially in the higher qualities. Typically the larger the freshwater pearl the more difficult it is to find a round, lustrous pearl in that size. This is especially the case in pearls over 10mm in size.  Freshwater Pearls naturally come in the most variety of colors ranging in light colors all over the spectrum.  They often have a very high luster (rivaling metallic) due to the amount of time the mussel is in the water.

The quality of cultured pearls is judged by seven factors:

  • Color
  • Luster
  • Shape
  • Size
  • Surface quality
  • Nacre quality (thickness for Akoya)
  • Matching (if applicable)

Cultured pearls might be dyed or irradiated to create unnatural colors or black. Coatings are sometimes used to enhance the luster.

Many Cultures used the pearl as a symbol of some kind:

  • Hindu = Happiness
  • Arab = Wealth
  • Chinese = Healing
  • Egyptians = Love
  • Greeks = Purity
  • Romans = Love & Pleasure

The Wedding Gem

  • Krishna gave to daughter on wedding day 3000 years ago
  • Greeks believed pearls would help endure marital bliss

The Healing Gem

  • Problems with eyes
  • Diseases with blood
  • Depression
  • Interpretation of dreams
  • Sight into the future
  • Pearl powders
    • Cure insanity
    • Youth creams

Famous Lovers of Pearls

  • Cleopatra
    • 2 drop earrings
    • Said to be as valuable as a province in Asia
    • Dinner bet with Mark Anthony of who could host the most expensive dinner
    • Dropped one earring into a glass of wine and drank it she won.
  • Elizabeth I
    • Father King Henry VIII instilled love of pears
    • Over 3000 pearl embroidered gowns
    • 80 pearl wigs
    • Dog had a pearl collar
  • Cartier
    • Traded a double strand of natural pearls + $100 for what is now the House of Cartier in New York
    • Pearls were valued at 1M they sold in 1957 at auction for $170,000.00

 

 

 

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