The iconic Grace Kelly once said that “the pearl is the queen of gems, and the gem of queens.” Indeed, the lustrous gem has been treasured by royalty and high society for centuries. It has an extra special meaning to anyone that was born in June, as pearl is the month’s birthstone. Learn more about this stunning gem and its rich history below!
THE HISTORY AND SYMBOLISM OF PEARLS
Pearls are perhaps the most unique gems in the world. It’s important to note that they are only gems, and not stones, since they come from the sea rather than the earth. Derived from oysters, pearls are naturally beautiful and lustrous. They don’t require any refining or polishing, and they form in exquisite spheres. Saltwater pearls are known for their seemingly perfect circular form, while freshwater pearls come in one-of-a-kind fluid shapes.
Many historians consider pearls to be the world’s oldest gem. The first records of pearls can be traced all the way back to 2206 BC in China, while the oldest physical piece of pearl jewelry was discovered in the tomb of a Persian princess from 420 BC. Pearls are also linked to Ancient Egypt and Rome, where their deep ties to aristocracy and higher powers began.
Ancient cultures were enchanted by the subtle sheen, creamy color, and aquatic origins of pearls. Some cultures believed that pearls were brought to the earth’s waters through lightning flashes sent by heaven, while others thought they were gifts from the moon. Some said that pearls were an earthly representation of the goddess Venus, who also came from the sea. The round shape of pearls made others certain they were the tears of the gods, while early Christians thought they were the tears of Eve after she had been banished from Eden.
Many Asian cultures saw pearls as a form of divinity. The fact that such beauty could originate from a lifeform as simple as an oyster had to be proof of a higher power. Pearls were therefore used as a symbol of one’s spiritual journey on the path to perfection.
Today pearls are most associated with elegance, femininity, purity, and wisdom. The gems have become synonymous with bridal jewelry, but they’re also popular for any woman that wants to embrace timeless style.
THE QUEEN OF GEMS
Pearls are affectionately known as the queen of gems, as they have been a major part of royal jewelry collections for millenia. In fact, pearls were exclusive to nobility in some cultures. Julius Caesar once created a law in Ancient Rome that only made pearls exclusive to ruling classes. In the nearby Byzantine empire, the shimmering gems were allowed to be worn by emperors only!
European royals also treasured pearls well into the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The 15th and 16th centuries were actually known as The Pearl Age, since the demand for the gems was so high. A large amount of oysters were discovered as Europeans began to explore Central and South America, which led to pearls becoming an important trade commodity.
Sadly, this era of widespread pearl cultivation led to a global oyster shortage by the 19th century. But pearl demand remained high, so cultivators got creative. Cultured pearls were invented, and oyster farms were established all over Asia. To this day, cultured pearls remain the standard for jewelry creation. Natural pearls are extremely rare, valuable, and treasured.
Pearls are made to be worn on a regular basis. As they come from the sea, they benefit greatly from contact with the skin’s natural oils. That being said, pearls are sensitive to acidity and should be wiped down after each wear for protection. They should also be removed before exercising or coming into contact with treated water, such as pools or even soapy dishwater.
Avoid contact with chemicals, including perfumes and hairsprays - your pearl jewelry should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off. It should also be kept away from extreme temperatures.
Store your pearl jewelry in a soft case or pouch to avoid surface scratches. Avoid airtight packages, as pearls need a bit of moisture.
JUNE BIRTHSTONE JEWELRY
Whether you’re looking to treat a loved one or you’re a June baby that wants to get herself a special treat, a piece of birthstone jewelry is always a good idea! Our pearl pieces are also perfect for future brides, women celebrating their 30th wedding anniversaries, or anyone that loves the sophisticated sheen of pearls.
Here are our favorite pieces of June birthstone jewelry!
Enjoy down to earth pearl jewelry with this gold thread bracelet. Perfect for stacks or on its own, this simple pearl bracelet will add just the right amount of shimmer to your everyday jewelry.
Classic pearls are given a contemporary twist with this ring. The elegant central pearl is juxtaposed against the modern chain link band to create an effortlessly cool feeling.
These chic gold drop earrings will be the perfect finishing touch for any outfit, whether you’re keeping things casual or dressing up for a special occasion.
This gold necklace has it all: the irresistible sparkle of crystals and the magical luster of pearls. Created with a harmonious half-moon shape, this necklace will look amazing on its own or layered with other dainty styles.