If your birthstone is the pearl (June), you may want to learn more about what makes it such a special and sought after gem.
Pearls, sometimes referred to as the “Queen of Gems,” have been prized since ancient times. Romans and Egyptians used them as early as the 5th Century BC, and there are even earlier records of the Chinese using pearls.
The major religions of Hindu and Islam have a special place for pearls in their history, using pearls as a symbol of purity and perfection.
When pearls became a part of European culture, some countries even passed laws saying that only nobility could wear them.
What truly makes pearls unique is that they’re the only gemstone made by living creatures. Pearls are created inside mollusks when they deposit layers of calcium carbonate around a microscopic irritant.
These mollusks use “mother-of-pearl” to produce the iridescent luster that’s so valuable in the jewelry community. The mother-of-pearl is the same material the mollusk uses to create its shell.
Today, many pearls are cultured, meaning that they are created with the help of a technician. However, it can still take between 18 months to 5 years to produce a single pearl.
Even after a pearl is formed, it may show imperfections. It may be misshapen, unevenly colored, or have poor quality nacre. This is one of the reasons a well-developed pearl is so valuable.
If you’re looking for pearls, it’s important to know that they’re not all created equal. To help you out, we’ve created a comprehensive buying guide to help you purchase the perfect set of pearls for you or your loved one.