Today, pearl is the primary birthstone for the month of June. It is also the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 3rd and 30th years of marriage.
A pearl is the product of an oyster's defense mechanism. When a foreign irritant is introduced either by man (cultured) or naturally, the oyster immediately surrounds it with layers of a substance called nacre. This forms the exquisite gemstone know as pearl.
Pearls come in a wide range of colors; both natural and dyed colors. Since pearls are porous, they can be readily dyed and the colors are permanent. They should be relatively free from skin blemishes. The more perfectly round the shape the better. The higher the luster, or "orient", the more valuable the specimen. The larger the pearl, the greater the value.
Besides the popular round shape, there are stylish mabe (large hemispherical cultured pearls), fresh water (elongated in interesting shapes and colors), and South Sea (large cultured pearls 10mm and up from Australia's and Indonesia's waters), to name a few.
Pearls have been recognized as the emblem of modesty, chastity and purity. They have come to symbolize a happy marriage.
Pearls are an organic gemstone. Pearls are formed in shellfish especially oysters. Long ago, pearls were important financial assets, comparable in price to real estate, as thousands of oysters had to be searched for just one pearl. They were rare because they were created only by chance. Pearls vary in color from white, to pinkish white, brown and black depending upon the type of water. They are sensitive to acids, dryness and humidity and so are less durable. The quality of pearls is judged by the orient, which is the soft iridescence caused by the refraction of light by the layers of nacre, and luster, the reflectivity and shine of the surface. Fine pearls do not have any flaws or spots in the nacre; it has an even, smooth texture. Other factors which affect value are the regularity of the shape, size, and color: rose tints are the most favored.
Cultured and natural pearls can be distinguished from imitation ones by a very simple test. Take the pearl and rub it (gently!) against the edge of a tooth.
Cultured and natural pearls will feel slightly rough, like fine sandpaper, because of the texture of natural nacre. Imitations will feel as smooth as glass because the surface is moulded or painted on a smooth bead. Natural pearls have been harvested from Persian Gulf and Red sea for thousands of years. Today pearls are cultured by Man. Shell beads are placed inside an oyster and the oyster is returned to the water. When the pearls are later harvested, the oyster has covered the bead with layers of nacre. Most cultured pearls are produced in Japan. In the warmer waters of the South Pacific, larger oysters produce South Sea cultured pearls and Tahitian black cultured pearls, which are larger in size. Freshwater pearls are cultured in mussels, mostly in China. Pearls were once thought to be the tears of the gods.
Because pearls are an organic gem, please avoid household chemicals, cosmetics, hair sprays, and perfumes. Don't use ultrasonic cleaners. Wash with mild soap and water and store in a protective chamois pouch or tissue paper.
Never put perfume or cologne on directly where the pearls will be in contact on the neck. The same holds true for your pearl earrings. In my opinion said scents should be applied to the throat and/or cleavage or wrist unless you are wearing a pearl bracelet. The alcohol will destroy the luster of the pearls.
Also if you wear your pearl necklace on average once a week you should have it restrung once a year. Or when the pearls slip over the knots and get sloppy.
Alexandrite the traditional birthstone for June is a beautiful, but very rare gemstone. It is very difficult to find natural alexandrite. Most Alexandrite on the market are synthetic or created. Alexandrite rings are very beautiful. If Alexandrite is set in a ring, the wearer can watch the color change from green to red, mauve or brown in incandescent light. Alexandrite has a hardness rating of 8.5.
Care should be taken to protect it from scratches, sharp blows, harsh chemicals and extreme temperatures.
Alexandrite has been found in Brazil, Madagascar, Myanmar, Russia, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.
Moonstone is a translucent gemstone that has a shimmering phenomenon known as adularescence and comes in various tones of colorless, white, yellow, orange, and gray. It always has a white or blue sheen. It is sometimes used as an alternative gem by those born in June since it physically resembles some pearls.
Moonstone Care: Moonstone has a hardness of 6 and therefore can be easily scratched.
Moonstone is found in Brazil, European Alps, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and USA (Pennsylvania and Virginia). Sri Lanka has the highest quality moonstones.