irritation

  • Pearls ~ The Birthstone for June!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The month of June marks the official start of summer -- and folks that are born in the month of June are very fortunate to have the beautiful pearl designated as their birthstone. There are two other acceptable birthstones for June as well, alexandrite and moonstone. Since pearl is the most commonly used birthstone and there is so much interesting information about them we are just going to focus on those.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    What is a Pearl?

     

    A pearl is produced when an irritant is lodged within the tissue of a live shelled mollusk. A pearl is naturally produced when an irritant such as a piece of sand or a tiny bug gets into the mollusk’s shell. The mollusk then secretes layer upon layer of nacre (calcium carbonate) which covers the irritant and over time produces a pearl. Most pearls on the market today are cultured, which means a person actually puts the irritant – usually a piece of mother of pearl - into the mollusk’s shell, instead of it spontaneously ending up in there.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Types of Pearls

     

    There are many different types of pearls. Each is unique and special in its own way.

     

    Natural -- a natural pearl is one that occurs spontaneously in nature. an irritant makes it's way into the shell of a mollusk which then begins to secrete nacre and a pearl is formed.

    Cultured -- a cultured pearl is one in which a person puts an irritant (usually mother of pearl) into a mollusks shell to facilitate the creation of a pearl and the mollusk still does the rest.

    Freshwater -- freshwater pearls can be found in mollusks living in rivers, lakes, ponds, etc. and other unsalted waters.

    Saltwater -- saltwater pearls are found in mollusks living in the salty oceans or other salty sources.

    Tahitian --  these pearls are sometimes referred to as black pearls and are typically 8mm-14mm in size. They are produced by a black lipped oyster. These oysters produce pearls in varying dark colors with hints of pink, blue and green.

    South Sea --  are grown in warm waters and similar to Tahitian pearls. They range in size from 9mm-20mm. While they are typically white, they may include hues of gold, silver, or pink.

     

    Pearls are graded and priced based on their luster, size, shape, markings (blemishes) and color.

     

    Care

    You must be very careful with your pearl birthstone jewelry. If the pearls come in contact with chemicals - even those found in hairspray, perfume, cleaning products, chlorine, etc. - it can dull the luster and even wear away the nacre. Always put your pearls on last, right before heading out the door and only clean them with a very soft cloth and warm water.

     

    If you know someone who was born this month get them their birthstone. Don't forget, pearls are also perfect for weddings!!!

     

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