JUNE'S BIRTHSTONE: THE PEARL (HISTORY, FACTS & MORE)

If you’re here, we know that you love pearls just as much as we do – so we've put together a list of intriguing facts about pearls. We hope you learn something and maybe have a laugh along the way.

  • Pearl is the birthstone for the month of June and associated with the zodiac sign of Gemini. 
  • Sparkling pearls are the gift of choice for those celebrating their thirtieth wedding anniversary. 
  • In many cultures, pearls are a symbol of innocence and purity, which explains why it’s traditional for brides to wear white pearls on her wedding day.
  • Pearls are also the only gem that is not cut, shaped or polished before set in jewelry.  They are perfect to use as they are and come in many colors, shapes and sizes.   
  • The more perfect a pearl shape and the deeper its luster, the greater its value.
  • There are essentially three types of pearls: natural, cultured (man-made) and imitation (faux pearls).
  • Pearls come in eight basic shapes: round, semi-round, button, drop, pear, oval, baroque, and ringed.
  • Pearl color depends on the color of the inside of the shell it comes from. For example, black pearls get their color from a very specific type of black-lipped Tahitian oyster.
  • Lovely pearl's color ranges from black to white, with the rose of Indian pearls esteemed most. Other colors are cream, champagne, gray, blue, yellow, lavender, green and mauve. All occur in delicate shades.
  • Despite being classified as a gemstone, pearls differ much from all others (including sapphires, rubies, emeralds, etc.) due to the fact that they are the only gems to come from a living creature. All other gemstones form in the earth’s crust as magma cools under high pressure.
  • About 95% of worldwide pearl production results in freshwater pearls.  While less valuable than the rare saltwater pearls, they are still very popular gemstones.
  • Valuable saltwater pearls are rare.  Truth is, they’re very rare.  A natural pearl that is of valuable gemstone quality is found at a rate of less than one in ten thousand wild oysters.
  • We all know the saying ‘good things take time,' and pearls are no exception to this. In fact, they can take up to eight years to form naturally in the ocean or a lake. Because natural pearls form in this way, discovering one that is perfectly round instantly increases its value.
  • Shortly after her death in 2011, Elizabeth Taylor's La Peregrina pearl necklace sold at Christie's "The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor" auction for $11.8 million — the highest amount any pearl has ever sold at auction.
  • Their name derives from Latin. The Latin word for pearl is ‘pirium,' which means pear. This is because of their shape.
  • Lastly, did you know, Cleopatra VII once dissolved a sparkling pearl in her cocktail and drank it because she had made a bet with her lover Marc Antony that she can spend 10 million sesterces on a single meal? Now how’s that for a main course?
  • Because pearls have been around for centuries and are possibly the earliest gem used for adornment. Tales and stories abound about them from the ancient Persians who thought they were the tears of the gods, to the ancient Greeks who believed that these lovely pearls formed when the moonlight hits the water.  
  • Marie Antoinette’s pendant remains the most expensive pearl ever sold. It fetched $32 million in a 2018 auction.