The June birthstone, the pearl, is one of the most enduring and cherished stones due to its classic and enduring beauty. These precious stones have long been linked to ideas of higher learning, prosperity, chastity, romance, and mystery. They were interred with the ancient Egyptians. Pearls were the highest status symbol and most valuable commodity in ancient Rome. As symbols of love and marriage, the Greeks placed high value on these flowers. As a protective amulet, they were worn by Medieval Knights on the battlefield. To add insult to injury, certain European governments during the Renaissance actually made it illegal for anybody below the rank of nobility to wear one.
It’s unbelievable that something so rich and exquisite could have sprung from such meagre beginnings. A natural is like a sand grain or a tiny worm that burrows its way inside an oyster and becomes permanently lodged there. The oyster produces a smooth, hard, crystalline coating called nacre to shield its delicate body from this irritant. The pearl forms as nacre coating the object and hardens over time. The greater the thickness of the nacre, the more intense the pearl’s lustre and, in turn, its value.
Most pearls today are cultivated, or cultured, in pearl farms by surgically inserting a small shell bead, or nucleus, into the mantle of an oyster. In the past, pearls had to be gathered by divers who braved the depths of the ocean to retrieve these riches.
Pearls may be gathered in large quantities on pearl farms, but the creation of a high-quality pearl is a very unusual occurrence. Fewer than one in two oysters that are nucleated make it to maturity and produce a pearl that can be sold.
Couples celebrating their third and 30th wedding anniversaries are advised to receive pearls, which can be cultured in a wide range of sizes, shapes, colors, and types:
Most high-quality pearl jewellery features Akoya Pearls, which are the traditional round pearl. Most of them are harvested from the seas around Japan. The colours available for these items are vast.
Large, high-quality white South Sea pearls can be grown in a variety of locations across the South Pacific, including Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other countries.
- French Polynesian pearls known as Tahitian pearls, Can grow to be quite massive in size, and their natural colours span the spectrum from grey to black to green to purple. They are worth a lot of money because of their massive size and distinctive dark hues.
Because they grow against the inside shell of the oyster rather than within the oyster’s body, Mabe pearls from Japan, Indonesia, French Polynesia, and Australia typically have flat backs. You’ll most likely see them in some form of jewelry, especially earrings and rings.
Japanese, Chinese, and American farmers all use their respective freshwater ecosystems to cultivate freshwater pearls. As a result of their less consistent shape, color, and lustre compared to saltwater cultured pearls, freshwater pearls are significantly less expensive.
Luster, surface brilliance; surface cleanliness; absence of spots, bumps, or cracks; shape; generally, the more round the pearl, the higher its value; and size are the five factors that determine value when shopping for pearls. Pearls range in size and colour from 1 millimetre to 20 millimetres in diameter, and can be found in nearly every hue of the rainbow and a few others besides. Pearl strands of superior quality will include pearls that are uniform in size, shape, and color.
Pearls are delicate and should be handled with care due to their low hardness (2.5–4.5 on the Mohs scale). They can lose their lustre when exposed to skin oils, hairspray, lotions, and cosmetics. They should be cleaned with a damp cloth like any other piece of jewellery and stored in a soft fabric like cotton to avoid scratching. Furthermore, keep your pearl away from strong chemicals, as they can damage the pearl’s luster. And if you wear your pearl necklace often, you should have it restrung once a year to keep the strands from breaking.
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Aquamarines, like any pale gem, should be “eye Clean,” meaning they have no inclusions visible to the naked eye. This is because flaws within a pastel stone are more easily spotted. Aquamarine, unlike its emerald sibling, is typically devoid of inclusions, so this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. The flawless surfaces of Aquamarines are often displayed by having large step facets cut into them. Oval and Emerald are the two most common shapes for aquamarines.
Aquamarine gemstones can be safely exposed to more light in jewellery settings than Emerald gemstones can. Because it typically contains few inclusions, aquamarine is more durable against chips and cracks than other gems. With a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale, this stone can withstand normal use without showing significant signs of wear. Because of its clear, pale brilliance, this stone is suitable for use in any piece of jewelry, and it goes well with any metal used in making it.
Green overtones in aquamarine can be permanently removed through heating. Aquamarine, in contrast to its sister stone, the Emerald, rarely needs to be treated with filters, resin, or oils due to the lack of surface fractures that plague the latter. However, you should still stay away from any mechanical cleaning methods. Aquamarine should be washed in warm soapy water.
The 243-pound record-holder for largest aquamarine was discovered in Brazil in 1920. It was broken up into smaller stones, with one 13-pond uncut piece now on display at the American Museum of Natural History. The British Museum of Natural History also features a notable aquamarine; it is a flawless, step-cut, sea-green stone that weighs 879.5 carats.
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