June's Birthstone: Pearl
Birthstone Properties: Truth and beauty
Alternative Birthstones: Moonstone and Alexandrite
Pearl is the official birthstone of the month of June. It is also the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 3rd and 30th years of marriage. Pearls have adorned crowns, clothing, and temples, and were said to be a favorite of Cleopatra, yet there are perfectly suited to young girls and are a popular gift for first communion.
Pearls come in a wide range of colors from delicate rose white to black. The higher the luster or "orient," the more valuable the specimen. Greeks believed that pearls were the hardened tears of joy that the Love Goddess shook from her eyes as she was born from the sea. In Arab legend, pearls were formed when oysters were lured from the depths of the ocean by the beautiful moon and then swallowed moonlit dewdrops. Ancient Chinese thought that these gems originated from the brains of dragons.
Whatever their origins, pearls are magnificent!
Round Pearl . . . and Her Shapely Sisters
It's hard to believe that the coveted pearl comes naturally from one of the humblest of life forms -- the mollusk. Divers find natural pearls in The Persian Gulf as well as in the waters off Japan, the South Pacific Islands off northern Australia, and the coasts of Panama, Venezuela, and California.
Besides the popular round shape most people associate with pearls, there are also large hemispherical cultured pearls (called mabe), fresh water pearls (elongated in interesting shapes and colors) and South Sea cultured pearls (from Australia and Indonesian waters) that grow to 10 mm and up!
Gems of unsurpassed beauty and elegance, pearls have been a passion and even an obsession of people throughout the ages. They have been ground up and used in cosmetics and as a medicine to treat heart and stomach conditions. Some cultures swear by pearls as an aphrodisiac.
Only those with royal status once wore pearl jewelry, but eventually these gems were seen among all classes of people. They continue to be viewed as a mark of taste and refinement as well as a symbol of purity, and they are often given to celebrate a marriage or the birth of a child. Pearls are nature's perfect gift, suitable for all ages, and elegantly worn with everything from jeans to an evening gown.
Moonstone is a type of feldspar that earned its name because of its resemblance to the iridescent sheen of the moon. Varying in color from clear to blue-white or peach, it was believed to endow the wearer with great spiritual understanding. A gift of this stone is symbolic of health and longevity.
Alexandrite. A yellowish or brownish green in color, this gemstone has the unique characteristic of changing color to a red hue when exposed to a glowing light source, such as candlelight. Because of this quality, it has been characterized by poets as "an emerald by day, a ruby by night."
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