FUN FACTS ABOUT JUNES'S BIRTHSTONE: PEARL

 

In the gemstone world, June's birthstone is pearl. Anyone born in this month has a reason to celebrate. However, there are many things that you probably did not know about pearls and their origins. Today we will explore some interesting facts about these beautiful gems of the sea!

 

  • You probably already know that pearl is a birthstone for June babies, but did you know that pearl is the official gemstone of Alabama? Or that it is also the official gemstone for the Philippines?

 

  • Pearl was given its name from the Latin word ‘perle’ which means a small round object. The English word ‘pearl’ comes from the Old French word meaning, ‘a foreign body found in oysters.’

 

  • Natural pearls are incredibly rare. As a result, people today farm pearls to make more for the gem market. Since the farming process is so efficient, cultured pearls are more accessible than their natural counterparts.

 

  • Thus, the value of natural pearls depends upon rarity. Whereas, the value of cultured pearls are calculated according to their symmetry and sheen, rather than scarcity.

 

  • While all mollusks, including oysters, mussels, and clams can technically create pearls, only some saltwater clams and freshwater mussels are used to commercially grow cultured gem-grade pearls.

 

  • Did you know that a pearl oyster can produce up to 10,000 pearls in a single year?

 

  • Pearls are found in a variety of hues including white, pink, gold, blue, lavender, chocolate and black.

 

  • White pearls come from freshwater, Akoya and White South Sea varieties, although Tahitian pearls occasionally produce white pearls. The most valuable and luxurious is White South Sea pearls, whereas Akoya pearls are the most popular.

 

  • Pink pearls are most often found in freshwater mussels, typically mined in China. Pink pearls are a rarer variety than white pearls, making them more valuable.

 

  • Golden South Sea pearls come from Gold-lipped oysters, which have a beautiful, iridescent golden nacre on the interior of the shell. As the pearls develop, it absorbs the hue of this nacre, giving it its beautiful golden color. It typically takes Golden South Sea pearls 2-4 years to fully row.

 

  • Natural blue pearls, which are exceedingly unusual, may very well be the rarest hue. These pearls are so uncommon that finding them is difficult. They can command high prices, especially if they're South Sea or Tahitian blue pearls.

 

  • Lavender pearls come from freshwater mussels and are similar to pink pearls. Natural lavender pearls have a lovely deep color and are often seen with undertones of green, blue-green and sometimes rose and gold.

 

  • Chocolate pearls, which have a dark brown, almost metallic appearance, are one of the rarest and most intriguing pearl hues. The majority of chocolate pearls grow to reasonable sizes, with an average diameter of 12.0mm.

 

  • There are only two places in the world where black pearls are naturally formed: Sydney, Australia and the South Pacific Ocean. The latter is where the most available black pearls come from. The smaller black pearls that are found in freshwater lakes and rivers are not actually real pearls. They form because of layers of tiny mollusk shells being compacted on top of each other.

 

  • Pearl is not actually a stone, but is actually made of calcium carbonate (on a microscopic level, each grain of “sand” making up the pearl coating consists of calcium carbonate and conchiolin. Conchiolin is a glycoprotein material).

 

 

  • You can tell how old a pearl is by examining its mother-of-pearl shell.

 

  • The world’s most perfectly shaped pearl is known as the Pearl of Kuwait, which is a 64.35-carat drop-shaped pearl first discovered in the Persian Gulf. The Pearl of Kuwait is currently on loan to the Smithsonian.