Those born in the month that ushers in summer can proudly wear a strand or two of pearls to mark the traditional June birthstone. Most will share the zodiac signs of Gemini and Cancer.
Scientifically, almost any mollusk can produce pearls, but they will not possess the same beauty as pearls produced from oysters. It may be hard to imagine that such lustrous objects begin their existence as little more than a speck of dirt, but that is exactly how pearls are created.Oysters grow pearls when tiny irritants, like small pieces of grit or miniscule parts from other sea creatures, become stuck within the animal’s flesh. In time, the oyster develops a growth that covers the irritant with many layers. This growth is called nacre, and will eventually become a gorgeous pearl. However, not every oyster produces a pearl.
Throughout history, natural pearls were highly prized and sought after by the rich and powerful. Pearl diving used to be the only way to located the pearls. This entailed wrapping a rope around the diver’s waist, who would then swim to the seabed to manually collect oysters. Later, they would shuck the oysters, seeking to harvest the treasure that may lie inside the animal.
Because of the rarity of naturally occurring pearls in wild oysters, the majority of modern pearls are now farmed. Pearl farming operations located around the world place small irritants inside the oysters to grow pearls to sell on the market. Pearl farming can take place in freshwater or saltwater, with distinctly different but equally appealing appearances for each finished product.
Pearls come in several different shapes and sizes, the most popular of which include round, teardrop, and button. The bigger and more perfectly round a pearl is, the more valuable it will be. All shapes of pearls can be easily made into jewelry – earrings, bracelets, rings, pendants, and more – and worn for those June babies looking to proudly represent and display their birthstone. Although pearls may most often bring to mind piles of shining, snow-white spheres, the reality is that they can come in a variety of colors. This includes off-white, black, pink, gold, brown, and other hues.
June’s birthstone is traditionally said to embody such qualities as purity, charity, and faith. A majority of belief systems have legends about pearls and their origins. Some say pearls are drops of dew that fall from the moon, others believe they are tears from mythical creatures, and still more insist the June birthstones are symbols of undying love from deities.
In some cultures, pearl is used to treat issues with digestion and problems with internal organs. Folklore pits pearls against a multitude of illnesses. Depending on the method, the patient may either wear the pearls to cure the sickness, or the pearls would be ground up and placed into medicine. Today, low-quality pearls are still ground up to produce pharmacy-grade calcium.