Pearls have been a classic jewelry choice for centuries, with their simplistic yet eye-catching beauty. The pearl’s popularity should come as no surprise—its pure, timeless presence proceeds it! The pearl is truly the queen of all gemstones. Pearls are not your average birthstone—they are truly the queen of gemstones. Check out the following facts to learn a few unexpected truths about June’s beautiful birthstone:
1. Pearls are the world’s oldest gem!
2. It takes five years for an oyster to produce a single pearl.
3. Pearls are the only gem produced by a living creature.
4. Saltwater pearls (also known as Akoya pearls) are the product of oysters, whereas Freshwater pearls are the product of mussels—however a wide variety of mollusks are able to produce pearls.
5. The word “Pearl” is derived from the word “pirum”, the Latin word for “pear”, chosen to reflect the unique shape of the pearl—which vary from tear drop-shaped to perfectly round.
6. Pearls are one of the only gems that do not need to be cut or polished before being used in jewelry.
7. The two most popular types of pearls are South Sea pearls—known for their rich, golden color and Tahitian pearls, infamous for their deep, black allure.
8. Some cultured pearls are even more scarce than a flawless diamond.
9. Natural pearls of considerable size and high quality are highly valued by jewelry and gem collectors around the world.
10. A pearl’s value is based on its size, which is measured in millimeters—the larger the pearl, the more valuable it is .
11. Even the modern dictionary, “pearl” is defined as a precious item that is considered the best or a high-value.
12. Some of the world’s most famous jewels are pearls, including the Big Pink Pearl (est. value: $4.7 million), the Baroda Pearl Necklace (est. value: $7.1 million), La Peregrina Pearl (est. value: $11.8 million), and the ‘Beauty of Ocean’ Pearl (est. value: $139 million).
13. Pearls have historically been considered the gift of love.
14. Pearls are commonly given as anniversaries gifts on a couple’s 1st, 12th and 30th wedding anniversary.
15. A pearl’s color, also known as body color, is primarily determined by the individual gem’s selective absorption of specific wavelengths of light.
16. A pearl’s color is also based on the type of oyster or mussel the pearl comes from, along with the gem’s location of origin.
17. There are three primary components that describe pearl body color—hue, tone and saturation. Hue indicates the overall tint or tone of the pearl, Tone describes the light or darkness of the pearl’s color, and Saturation indicates the intensity of the pearl’s color (which ranges from dull, to strong, to vivid).
18. Pearls are also a symbol of health, longevity and wisdom.
19. Ancient Greeks considered pearls to be the rarest resource in the entire world.
20. In the Middle Ages, Knights often wore pearls into battle for protection.
21. In 1916, the infamous jeweler Cartier traded a double-strand natural pearl necklace for a mansion on 5th Avenue when he opened Cartier’s flagship store in New York City.
22. Natural pearls are continually increasing in value, as they are a nearly exhausted natural resource.
23. Pearl farming, also known as Periculture, accounts for approximately 95% of harvested pearls. Pearls are either cultured or cultivated.
24. Low-grade pearls are often crushed into a fine, shimmery power for use in make-up.
25. Like snowflakes, no two pearls are exactly alike!