An elegant summer accessory, the pearl is the modern birthstone for the month of June. Considered a symbol of modesty and purity, the pristine gemstone is also said to promote long and successful marriages, and is often given as a gift for the 1st, 3rd, 12th, and 30th wedding anniversaries.
According to an old Indian legend, pearls were formed from dew drops that fell from the heavens into the ocean. Nature’s only organic gem, the pearl is actually derived from the husks of mollusks and oysters. Most are found in the Persian Gulf, on the coast of Japan, in Northern Australia, and off the coast of California.
While the rarest and most precious pearls are pure white, they also occur naturally in a myriad of other shades. Freshwater pearls can be found in cream, pink, yellow, lilac, silver, and gold, and Tahitian pearls are often black. Many others are dyed to produce more variety. When selecting a pearl color, consider the wearer’s skin tone and style preference.
The quality of a pearl is judged by evaluating several different factors:
Luster: This characteristic refers to the intensity of light that is reflected from the surface of the pearl, just as “fire” is emitted from a diamond. Pearls with a higher luster will have a glossier, mirror-like surface, while lower-luster pearls will take on a more opaque matte appearance.
Size: As a general rule, larger pearls have a higher market value because they are cultivated longer in the mollusk. Most freshwater pearls range from 3mm to 12mm in diameter, while Tahitian pearls can measure in at 18mm or larger.
Shape: While the rarest and most valuable pearls are perfectly round, most natural stones are found in near-round, button, oval, drop, or baroque shapes.
Surface:Unmarked pearls with no blemishes or inclusions are extremely rare and command the highest prices. The more marks on a pearl’s surface, the less its value. When evaluating a natural pearl, carefully examine its surface for quality, keeping in mind that small blemishes attest to its natural formation.
Available at Brilliance, classic pearl jewelry includes pearl studs, pearl necklaces, pearl bracelets, and solitaire pearl pendants. These pieces can be worn with casual or formal attire and are much desired gifts. For those seeking a light, versatile piece to add to their fine jewelry collection, the June birthstone is an ideal choice.