There is no doubt that pearls have traditionally been the go-to gem for powerful women. With exquisite white luster, it creates a look that’s simple, elegant, and appropriate for any occasion. Those with June birthdays have the pleasure of embracing wonderful traditions and legends that have formed around their special birthstone. It not only has a rich history that has been closely tied to many ancient cultures, but it continues to be one of the most popular jewels today.
Lucky Geminis get to enjoy having the only 'living gem' as their birthstone. Did you know that pearls are the only gems found within living creatures? They can be found in both salt and freshwater mollusks, though a wild pearl is incredibly rare. Less than 1 in every 10,000 wild oysters contain pearls. These days most all pearls are cultured and harvested from a pearl farm. Even then, not every oyster will contain a pearl.
There are four main types of pearls, all of which make a fabulous birthday present!
- Freshwater Pearls - These are one of the most common types of pearls, most often grown in the rivers and lakes of China.
- Akoya Pearls - These primarily Japanese pearls are arguably some of the most well-known saltwater pearls and are regarded for their recognizable luster.
- Tahitian Pearls - Often referred to as 'black pearls', these saltwater pearls can come in a variety of shades including gray, blue, green, and purple. They are most commonly cultivated around the islands of French Polynesia, which are known for their calm, clear waters.
- South Sea Pearls - These stunning pearls are often some of the largest. They are most often found in the waters near the Philippines and boast a recognizable golden hue, though the shades can lighter ivories and creams. Jewelmer is one of TIVOL's favorite designers of South Sea pearl jewelry. Learn more about what they do to sustainably harvest their pearls and the work they do to empower the local communities - Read here!
While pearl is the traditional birthstone for June, moonstone and alexandrite are more recent twists on the birthstone. But truly, nothing can compare to the original. Astrologists have long believed that the pearl is aligned with the zodiac sign of Gemini. According to folklore, pearls as a birthstone are believed to symbolize purity, clarity, and loyalty. Given its symbolic meaning and captivating beauty, pearls are an especially great gift for anyone born in June!
Because natural pearls were so rare throughout history, only the richest nobles could afford them. It is said that during the Roman Empire under Julius Caesar, laws dictated that only the emperor or those of the royal class were allowed to wear these treasured gemstones.
Ancient Egyptians were often buried with their prized pearls. Cleopatra herself was known to have two of the world's largest pearls of her time made into a pair of earrings. In fact, these earrings played the pivotal role at the most documented dinner parties in literature. To convince Marc Antony that Egypt would not be phased by the wealth of Rome, Cleopatra wagered her friend that she could give the most expensive dinner in history. Allegedly, Marc Antony observed the queen as she sat with an empty plate and a bowl of vinegar. She crushed one large pearl of a pair of her famous earrings and dissolved it in the liquid. Cleopatra proceeded to drink it down. Amazed, Antony declined his dinner, the matching pearl, and admitted she had won the bet.
We definitely recommend keeping your pearls away from the vinegar at your next dinner party. This precious gem is much more fragile that gemstones that come from minerals in the earth.
The guiding rule for pearl care is that they should always be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off. Their luster can be ruined by ordinary household items like hairspray, lotion and perfume. We do encourage wearing your pearls often as your body’s natural oils will keep them lustrous.
This year celebrate your favorite June birthday with pearls. Pearls have long been a traditional staple in a woman's wardrobe. There are some who see pearls as old fashioned, but we are here to tell you that today's pearls are anything but that. Some of the newest pearl designs at TIVOL are far from traditional. But of course, we always love a classic strand! Check out the option online or visit one of our locations to see them in person.