No, we're not talking about birthstones. We're talking about gemstones you can enjoy no matter when you were born! And for our first ever gemstone of the month, we decided on... pearls!
Which also happens to be the June birthstone… but we consider that a happy coincidence. So, without further ado, our top three reasons why pearls are wonderful:
- They come in a wide array of colors and shapes.
Naturally, pearls can range from white to gold to peach to black and can be round or baroque, which is the name used for any pearl that is not spherical. Baroque pearls can be drops, ovoids, and other imperfect and irregular shapes.
Freshwater pearls are created by several different species of freshwater mussels and naturally come in warm hues. They are generally less glossy and lustrous than their saltwater counterparts, but there is a much wider variety of shapes available.
Saltwater pearls are created by mollusks in the Pteriidae family, the pearl oysters. They are usually round, which is the most in demand shape, and can be as large as a grape when harvested. Saltwater pearls generally feature a sleek, lustrous appearance and can exhibit white, golden, platinum, and dark orient, which is actually quite a rare occurrence in pearls.
In addition, any pearl can be dyed and retain its luster. This is very commonly done with lower quality freshwater pearls which makes for uniquely colorful pieces of jewelry.
- They can be used in a variety of pieces, styles, and craft types.
Maybe you want your pearls strung with silk and a traditional gold clasp... or perhaps you'd like a pearl as the centerpiece of a sterling silver ring... or you might prefer drop pearls dangling from a set of earrings... There is truly a plethora of options for these versatile gems within the jewelry realm. They are also incorporated into a variety of other crafts.
Pearls have been known to adorn clothing, be inlaid into furniture and décor, create unique textures for accessories, and even is used for its healing properties. It seems the possibilities with pearls are endless, especially since imperfect cultured pearls weigh in at such an affordable price point.
- They're eco-friendly.
Pearls are the only organic gem produced by a living source and the industry is sustainable. In general oysters need to be happy to make pearls, so we have to provide them with a healthy ecosystem to get these beautiful gems in the first place! After harvest, the Mother of Pearl oyster shells can be used in a variety of ways: cut for table inlay, buttons, jewelry, and other artisan craft. Thankfully, there is no mining damage to the planet as a result of harvesting pearls. In contrast, mining other natural gems causes a variety of serious environmental and social issues. All in all, pearls are a beautiful and sustainable choice!
Want to learn more about pearls? Geralyn Sheridan is not only a designer-maker of fine jewelry, she is also a GIA Graduate Gemologist. Reach out to us directly with questions and she will be happy to share her knowledge.