Pearl Symbolism and Legends
In the ancient mythologies, the pearl was associated with the moon, as it was believed that pearls were born out of teardrops of moon that fell into the ocean.
Of course, throughout history, June’s birthstone symbolized numerous traits of those born in this month. Because of its clean and simple appearance, it associated purity, wisdom and loyalty with those who celebrated their birthday in June.
The ancient Chinese believed the pearls could give eternal youth to the owner and even to this day, they use them into cosmetics that are meant to give a youthful look. The ancient Greeks believed that pearls could prevent brides from crying and perpetuate happiness among the owner’s friends.
How a pearl is formed in nature?
Genuine pearls are formed by a small grain of sand entering the shell of a Mollusk which causes an irritant to the sea animal. To get rid of the irritant the Mollusk begins forming a nacre around the grain of sand, to smooth out the roughness of the grain.
A natural pearl would cost thousands of dollars because man didn’t interfere with the Mollusk. When man creates a pearl bed with thousands of Mollusks, the cultured Pearl is created. A cultured Pearl is made by purposely introducing the grain of sand (or nacre producing agent) into the Mollusk. Only those pearls produced by Mollusks whose shells are lined with Mother-of-Pearl are considered fine pearls.
Jewelers often refer to saltwater pearls as Oriental pearls and those produced by freshwater Mollusks as Freshwater pearls.
How is the quality of a pearl judged?
The experts say that when you’re looking to buy Pearl jewels, you should pay attention to three characteristics: luster, a clean surface and the shape.
Let’s take a closer look at each and find out what should be your focus:
This is the most important characteristic of a pearl. The luster is what gives its value. Pearls that look too dull or chalky are a sure sign of poor quality.
Oysters are real living organisms and it’s almost impossible for them to grow a pearl with the surface completely clean of blemish. This blemish appears as bumps of cracks. The lesser faults like this, the more beautiful and more expensive the jewel.
Perfectly round pearls are extremely rare, and therefore are of high value. But one that looks round from about a meter or two is also good and you can get it for less than a quarter of the price of a perfectly round one.
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The rarest of gemstones is the Alexandrite and this is the ancient birthstone for June.
Natural Alexandrite is so rare that its value far exceeds that of the finest grade diamonds. It has been reported that a 1/4 carat stone of natural Alexandrite was offered for $18,000 on one of the shopping channels in 2004.
The “laboratory grown” Alexandrite has the same color changing properties and beauty of the real gem stone, but at a fraction of the price.
The name Alexandrite is derived from Prince Alexander of Russia. The first Alexandrite was discovered in an Emerald mine in Russia, supposedly on the Prince’s birthday, hence the gem stone was named after him.
Where can Alexandrite be found?
The original locality for alexandrite is Russia. Some Alexandrite can still be found in Sri Lanka while small quantities are also found in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Burma, Madagascar, India and Brazil.
How Does Alexandrite Change Color?
Natural Alexandrite ranges in color: by day a green hue with blue or brown shading to a violet to reddish color under fluorescent light. And while this color change has never been duplicated by man, we have found a synthetic Alexandrite that does change color from a violet color in day light to a shade of light blue under fluorescent light.
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Moonstone gem name comes from the interesting resemblance with moon’s shape and different colors.
Moonstone has been used in jewelry for millennia, including ancient civilizations. The Romans admired moonstone, as they believed it was derived from solidified rays of the Moon.
Both the Romans and Greeks associated moonstone with their lunar deities. In more recent history, moonstone became popular during the Art Nouveau period; French goldsmith René Lalique and many others created a large quantity of jewelry using this stone.
Where can moonstone be found?
Polished moonstone cabochon
Deposits of moonstone occur in Australia, Armenia, the Austrian Alps, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar, Norway, Poland, India, Sri Lanka and the United States.
In popular culture
The moonstone is the Florida State Gemstone; it was designated as such in 1970 to commemorate the Moon landings, which took off from Kennedy Space Center. Despite it being the Florida State Gemstone, it does not naturally occur in the state.