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All About the June Birthstone



If you have a special someone who was born in the month of June or if you were born in this month yourself, you may find the discussion of this long-sought-after birthstone of particular interest. Often worn by royalty in past centuries to denote purity, loyalty, and integrity, natural pearls are a rare find. Today you could expect to open about 10,000 wild oysters in order to find one naturally occurring saltwater pearl. Of the pearls you found this way, only a small portion of these tiny treasures would be considered the right shape, color, and size to be used in jewelry.


A natural pearl is formed within the body of certain mollusks, like oysters. While saltwater pearls are created in oysters, freshwater pearls may be found in mussels living in rivers and ponds. Most freshwater pearls come from China while saltwater pearls may be found along the coasts of French Polynesia, Japan, and Australia. When a small irritant is introduced into the mollusk's shell, it is coated in the substances the animal uses to build its shell. It is the crystalline nature of the pearls’ structure that gives it its luster.


Due to the rarity of natural pearls, people began to intervene and create cultured pearls. Chinese pearl farmers have been cultivating freshwater pearls since the 13th century. To create a cultured pearl today, technicians intentionally introduce irritants into the shell of the host mollusk. These mollusks are then nurtured until it’s time to harvest the pearls. Although man provides nature a hand with creating cultivated pearls, it should be noted that all pearls are grown within the body of a host mollusk and all are produced by naturally occurring secretions that the mollusks produce. So, whether you are looking to procure a string of cultured pearls or invest in a pair of natural pearl earrings, you are purchasing a “real” pearl.


Types of Popular Pearls:


Due to the rarity of natural pearls, people began to intervene and create cultured pearls. Chinese pearl farmers have been cultivating freshwater pearls since the 13th century. To create a cultured pearl today, technicians intentionally introduce irritants into the shell of the host mollusk. These mollusks are then nurtured until it’s time to harvest the pearls. Although man provides nature a hand with creating cultivated pearls, it should be noted that all pearls are grown within the body of a host mollusk and all are produced by naturally occurring secretions that the mollusks produce. So, whether you are looking to procure a string of cultured pearls or invest in a pair of natural pearl earrings, you are purchasing a “real” pearl.


There are a number of different types of pearls. However, there are four major types of pearls. These are:


● Akoya Cultured Pearls: The creamy or white Akoya pearl is what most people in the US see as a traditional pearl. These pearls are often found in a single-strand cultured pearl necklace and are frequently given as gifts to brides and bridesmaids as a pair of earrings. Akoya cultured pearls are produced in both China and Japan.


● South Sea Cultured Pearls: South Sea Pearls, produced in Indonesia, Australia, and the Philippines, offer a wider variety of colors. South Sea cultured pearls can appear in shades of silver, gold, or white. The color of the pearl depends upon the type of oyster that acted as the host. These pearls are considered highly valuable due to the length of time and special growing conditions required to produce them.


● Tahitian Cultured Pearls: Tahitian cultured pearls, sometimes called black pearls, exhibit an even wider range of colors than those found among South Sea Pearls. These lovely cultured pearls may be found in gray, brown, or black with overtones of pink, purple, blue, or green.


● Freshwater Cultured Pearls: Freshwater cultured pearls are known for their unique shapes and wide range of sizes and colors. These unique pearls are very popular due to their cost-effectiveness and wide availability. Mostly cultured in China, freshwater pearls are cultivated in freshwater ponds and lakes. It is common for one oyster to produce multiple freshwater pearls.



How is the Quality of a pearl determined?


Nacre quality: One of the most important characteristics that help to determine the value of a pearl is its nacre quality. The nacre is the substance that makes up a pearl. A simple rule of thumb is that the thinker the nacre of a pearl, the more valuable it is. Not only does a thick nacre look more impressive, but it also improves the durability of your pearl.


Luster: The pearl’s luster is simply the glow that it produces. Your pearl’s luster is created when light strikes the pear and is reflected through the multiple layers of nacre. The higher your pearl’s luster, the more valuable your pearl is likely to be.


Surface Quality: As with any gemstone, you want a pearl that appears smooth, clean, and free from visible flaws. Although pearls will rarely approach flawlessness, an imperfection isn’t highly problematic unless it interferes with the durability of your pearl.


Color: As discussed above pearls are available in a variety of colors. A pearl's color is composed of its dominant overall color (body color), its overtone, and its orient (the iridescent shimmer it casts off). While all pearls have a body-color, not all have overtones and/or orient. The more intense the intensity and densely saturated a pearl’s color, the more value it holds.


Size: As holds true with most gemstones, the larger the size of a pearl, the more valuable it is likely to be.


Shape: Round pearls are the most desirable shape of pearls. Many other shapes are also highly desirable. As far as shape goes, symmetry is often more important than overall shape.



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