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For those of you who are born in June, you should be very happy to hear that your birthstone is Pearl. Pearls are iconic and classic showpieces, whether that be necklaces, earrings or bracelets. They are somewhat timeless and go with many kinds of outfits. They can be embedded in simple, minimalistic jewellery or can be bold, large and flashy. And the amazing thing about them? They are the natural jewels of the freshwater lakes and the sea.
How are pearls made?
Pearls form when a foreign body, like a grain of sand, enters an oyster, mollusc or clam. To protect itself from the irritation, these underwater creatures produce nacre, which is a mineral substance that coats the invader continuously until pearls are made! This can also be achieved in a controlled farm environment utilising these types of water loving creatures.
What do pearls represent?
The pearl is a symbol of perfection and incorruptibility and of longevity and fertility, and because of its lustre it is often considered a moon symbol. Buried within the creature's shell, the pearl represents hidden knowledge, and it is highly feminine.
What colours are pearls?
Pearls can be found in a range of colours, from the classic white and cream to range of black and green colours (usually called Tahitian Pearls). You can also buy dyed pearls which can be of any colour. For a more in depth understanding of pearl colours, click here.
Types of pearls
Pearls are labelled as where they came from or what organism they grew out of. Most freshwater pearls come from farms in China and have deep, neutral colouring, whereas others come from different oceans such as the South Sea. Akoya pearls are the most common in western markets and are saltwater pearls cultured from Akoya oysters. They have a bright, shiny lustre with a neutral colour. Other types of pearls can be found here.
Care and maintenance
Pearls are delicate gems and can be easily scratched, so it's best to store them away from other jewellery in their own container. Since pearls originate in the water, they benefit from being stored with a damp cloth or surface, and leaving them in a dry storage box may even cause them to crack. Avoid any contact with chemicals, as this could result in discolouration and dullness and can even cause them to dissolve. To clean pearls, gently go over them with a soft cloth.