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Welcome, June! For many of us, June is a month that brings many joys. The weather turns warm and breezy, life slows down a bit, and the official beginning of summer arrives on June 21. The month of June takes its name from the Latin Juno, the Roman mythological queen of the gods and goddess of marriage.
Those born in the month of June have the choice of two birthstones, each unique, dramatic, and full of rich history. It seems rather fitting that one of June’s birthstone is the pearl, one of the favorite gems in the Roman Empire. The other birthstone for June, the moonstone, has ties to the Roman Empire as well. Named by the Roman historian Pliny the Elder, he believed that the moon had the power to alter the appearance of the moonstone during different lunar phases. Both birthstones share a connection to the moon, making June a truly luminous month.
Birthstones commemorate a person’s birth month. Each precious gemstone offers a thrilling appearance and symbolizes specific qualities in a person. Each birthstone has meaning, significance, and healing properties. To find the birthstone that best suits you, let’s dive into these beauties to reveal their special qualities.
Known as the “Queen of Gems,” pearls have been revered for centuries. Throughout history, a pearl necklace made from perfectly matched pearls was considered the most expensive jewelry in the world. Prior to the rise of cultured pearls in the early 20th century, natural pearls were so rare that only the wealthiest people could afford them.
Highly prized during the Roman Empire, it was said that military campaigns were launched and financed by a single pearl earring. The pearl craze in the Roman Empire peaked during the first century B.C. Wealthy people sewed them into their clothing and furniture. The notorious Roman Emperor Caligula adorned his horse with a pearl necklace when he made it a consul, the highest elected political office during the Roman Republic.
Historians postulate that the earliest people to wear pearls as adornment were ancient fish-eating tribes captivated by the color and glow of the pearl, which they discovered while preparing oysters as a food source. Origin story aside, a universal reverence for pearls spread all over the globe within the next 1000 years.
Throughout history, the oyster beds in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea produced the most prized pearls. China introduced freshwater pearls harvested from rivers and ponds, while Japan found a source along its coastline. During the colonization of the New World, European explorers observed native Americans adorned with freshwater pearls from the Ohio, Mississippi, and Tennessee River basins. Quickly, the colonists began exporting the freshwater pearls, and the New World gained the reputation of “Land of Pearls.”
Pearls have the unique identity as being the only gem that comes from a living creature. They are perfect in the natural form, requiring no faceting or polishing to reveal their lustrous beauty. Natural pearls form when an irritant, like a parasite, works its way into an oyster, clam, or mussel. As a defensive move, the mollusk coats the irritant in fluid, and, as the layers increase, a pearl forms. In the early 1900s, people in Asia discovered how to build oyster farms to produce cultured pearls. By placing a small nucleus into a living oyster, a pearl forms around the nucleus. This technique made pearls more available and accessible for a larger market.
Pearls suggest purity, modesty, chastity, and stable marriage relationships. In Ancient Greece, people believed that pearls formed from the hardened tears of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. In other societies, pearls symbolized the moon and possessed magical properties. As a symbol of protection, pearls are believed to be a powerful talisman, keeping the wearer from harm, calming the mind, and warding off anger.
June is quite the month for lustrous birthstones. In addition to the pearl, June’s other birthstone is the captivating, mysterious moonstone. This incredible gemstone shows a floating play of light (called adularescence) that displays as a multi-ray star or a cat’s eye.
Moonstones occur when the two feldspar species, Orthoclase and Albite, intermingle. As the mineral cools, the intergrowth of the two species separates, creating stacked, alternating layers. When the layers are illuminated, the light scatters in many directions, resulting in adularescence.
Ancient Roman historian Pliny the Elder named a moonstone based on the belief that the gem could shift and change during lunar phases. This belief remained widespread until the sixteenth century. Considered a sacred stone in India, moonstones are believed to contain a spirit that brings good fortune. Moonstones are classified as feldspar, a family of minerals found in igneous and metamorphic rocks. Moonstones come in a wide range of colors such as green, blue, peach, champagne, and gray.
The most prized moonstones come from Sri Lanka, India, Armenia, Norway, the Austrian Alps, Australia, Myanmar, Madagascar, and the United States. Moonstones are a captivating addition to any jewelry collection. The dramatic beauty of this stone will delight day or night.
If you’re in the market for a spectacular gemstone beads, Beads of Cambay offers stunning pearl options, like freshwater pearls and moonstones in variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Through their expertise and knowledge of the bead market, Beads of Cambay sources the best available materials from trusted sources at a reasonable price to offer our clients.