June Focus: Pearls

Pearl is the gemstone for the month of June. This is a classic gemstone that women of all ages and cultures love. Pearls are created inside a saltwater or freshwater mollusk when a secretion called nacre is formed around an irritation inside the shell. Cultured pearls occur in the same way but the irritant is introduced with human assistance. Many of today’s pearls are cultured and natural pearls, due to its nature, is rare and expensive.


Pearls are considered to be associated with innocence and sweetness, humility and purity. They are traditionally given as wedding gifts. Pearls are associated as well with long life and prosperity and can aid in digestion. In ancient Chinese medicine, pearl powder aids in improved eyesight and can help with hemorrhages. Today, pearl powders are used mainly in skincare. As a supplement, pearl powder contains eight essential amino acids.

Pearls can be found in many places around the world, but the mollusks require unpolluted waters. Cultured pearl farms have also been set up throughout Asia, usually in remote areas. Black Tahitian pearls are cultured in the French Polynesian islands.  

Black pearls come from the black lip oyster. The lighter Akoya pearls can be dyed black but they are not as dramatic as the Tahitian pearls, which come in an array of colors. The color of the pearls is determined by the color of the host shell and can also be influenced by the bead placed inside the shell. How to tell the difference between a dyed or natural black pearl? Usually, a uniformity of color suggests dying. Also, look at the drill holes where the dye pools and shows slightly darker. Black pearls are rarer than the white pearls as they can be found only in the islands of Polynesia and each black lip oyster can produce only one pearl at a time over several years. Black pearls are thought to symbolize knowledge and wisdom. They are thought to bring good luck and protection.

Because of their softness, store your pearls separate from your other jewelry to prevent scratching. Best to use a cloth bag rather than a plastic bag which can damage your pearls. Use a soft damp cloth and wipe them down after each use. Use hairspray or perfume before you put your pearls on.