nacre

  • 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!!!

     

  • June Birthstone ~ Pearl, Alexandrite and Moonstone

    People born in the month of June are fortunate enough to have three gorgeous stones to represent their birth month. Pearl is the primary birthstone.  Alexandrite and Moonstone designated as alternates. Today on the Charming Chick blog we will provide you some information about each one of these amazing stones.

    Pearls

     

    Pearls are magnificent little gems created for us by creatures of the sea. A pearl is created when an irritant - such as a piece of sand - enters a mollusk's (oyster, clam or mussell) shell. The mollusk then begins to secrete a protective substance called "nacre." Over the layers of nacre build up to create a pearl. Finding a natural pearl can be quite a challenge; which is when people started to insert an irritant -- such as a piece of mother-of-pearl into an oyster.  After several years the pearls are harvested to create beautiful jewelry. These pearls are known as cultured pearls.

    There are many types of pearls; cultured pearls, freshwater pearls, Tahitian pearls, South Sea pearls, seed pearls, dyed pearls, and many more.

    Alexandrite

     

    Alexandrite is a magnificent stone. What makes it extra special is that in order for it to be created you have to have very specific geological conditions for the stone to form. When it was first discovered in Russia 1834, it was thought to be an emerald. Alexandrite appears green or greenish-blue in daylight but in incandescent light it usually appears red or reddish purple. The more distict the color change the more rare - and more valuable - the stone. Because alexandrite is hard to come by -- most of theses gemstones you see on the market are synthetic (lab created). Purchasing a synthetic alexandrite is also much more affordable.

    Moonstone

     

    Moonstone is a very unique and stunning stone. It is transparent with a colorless, bluish, greenish or brownish tint. It has what some have discribed as a "mysterious shimmer." It is a soft stone; which means that it must be worn with care. It can get scratched and loose it's luster but it can be repolished again. The price of moonstone can vary greatly and depends upon the color and luster.

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