A symbol of modesty, chastity and purity: Pearl's are the most time-honoured and traditional of the June birthstones.
Keep reading to discover the meaning & history behind this beautiful birthstone.
Often referred to as the world's oldest gem, pearls have been coveted for thousands of years and have a rich, interesting history. They have always embodied the power and life-sustaining nature of water as they are treasured from the earth’s rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans as they are grown by live oysters. Unlike other gemstones, Pearls need no treatment to reveal their loveliness, they are born complete with shimmering iridescence and a soft glow. Throughout history, they were greatly desired gemstones by royalty, merchants, explorers, and traders.
Pearls can be traced back as far as ancient Greece where they believed that pearls were formed from the tears of the gods. For Europeans, pearls symbolise modesty, chastity, and purity. Although natural pearls remain very rare, today the gemstone is one of the most accessible thanks to advances in modern culturing techniques.
With exquisite white lustre, pearls create a look that’s simple, elegant, and appropriate for any occasion. Fashion experts call it a jewellery essential. They also boast a juicy history full of legend, romance, and powerful women. We’ve seen many iconic ladies like Kate Middleton, Rihanna, Kamala Harris, and of course, The Queen, wear pearls on formal occasions.
Natural vs Cultured
There are two types of pearl gemstones, natural and cultured. Natural pearls form in the bodies of certain molluscs without any human intervention. They are very rare and most pearls in the market today are antique. They typically look more ‘organic’ than cultured pearls as they may not be as well-shaped or round as their cultured pearl counterparts.
Cultured pearls are born through the same process as natural pearls, however, the main difference is they require human intervention and care. A tiny bead is inserted into the oyster shell by a pearl farmer.
Both natural and cultured pearls occur in a wide variety of colours. White and cream are the most familiar colours, but black, grey, and silver are also fairly common. The main bodycolor of a pearl is often modified by additional colours called overtones, which are typically pink, green, purple, or blue. Some pearls also show the iridescent phenomenon known as orient that adds to the overall colour.
Looking to incorporate Pearl into a bespoke piece of fine jewellery or want to find out more about your birthstones? Chat to one of our experts to learn the meaning behind your birthday month’s gemstone or to begin the design process!