Pearl, The Birthstone of June
Pearl has existed for centuries; as a timeless staple of elegance, it's simple nature has managed to enchant humans of all ages. In times before ours, the origin of this elusive gem has been a fascinating enigma. In 1912, the ‘National Association of Jewelers of America’ attempted to standardize birthstones; this is when it was decided that the month of June would have two birthstones: pearl and moonstone. Pearls have long been associated with a sense of purity, and the humility and innocence that comes from such a descriptor; as the birthstone of June, this factor often plays a role into its gifting, often being associated with a wedding gift due to its ‘sweet simplicity’. Pearl was said to have distinct, beneficial properties as the birthstone of June; anywhere from long life and prosperity, to alleviating medical issues such as indigestion, or easing depression; Gifts of pearl necklaces, or even the simple pair of pearl earrings is quite common during this month, however, popularity proceeds past its role as a birthstone.
Ancient tales from the Middle East tell of pearls being formed from teardrops that fell from heaven, whereas tales from China speak of pearls being formed from the mind of a dragon. In fact, the earliest known pearl jewellery was found in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess, who was known to have died in 520 BC; this link between pearl and royalty certainly still carried to the modern day, however, we now know that pearls form from the tissue of either an oyster or mussel. The beautiful thing about these gems is that they grow from the mollusk attempting to heal; when a foreign body (piece of sand or parasite) invades the shell of a freshwater mollusk, then the tiny being will secrete a substance called ‘nacre’ around the irritant. Cultured pearls that we see in jewellery today require - as many gemstones often do - human intervention, with said pearls being created in ‘pearl farms’.
Pearl is the only gemstone that is derived from a living creature, and because of this, is the only stone that has its own natural and unique polish; because of this, it is imperative that you treat these natural wonders with the proper care required. Taking care of pearls is important knowledge to have. Because pearls are quite a soft gem (especially in comparison to other jewellery), they require special and specific care. Always store your pearls separately from other gemstones (or predominantly metal jewellery) in order to prevent scratching or damaging your lovely pearls. Never store your jewellery for long periods of time in a plastic bag, as plastic can often emit chemicals that will damage and tarnish the surface of pearl; this idea of having pearls not interact with chemicals carries onto hair products & cosmetics, which should always be applied before you wear your jewellery, regardless of if its pearl rings, earrings, or necklaces. Depending on what the pearl is encased in, there may be another layer of added care; a white gold pendant, for example, may sometimes need to be cleaned with "a mixture of mild soap and warm water for 20-30 minuets", which can be harmful to the pearl, causing the main gemstone of your necklace to potentially discolour.
Now that you understand this brief introduction to the lovely birthstone of June, you will ultimately garner a much deeper appreciation for the wonderful gem.