The pearl is the June birthstone.
Pearls, unlike other jewels discovered on Earth, have a biological origin. They form within the shells of some oyster and clam species. Some pearls are found naturally in mollusks that live in saltwater or freshwater environments such as rivers. Today, however, many pearls are cultured-raised in oyster farms, which support a robust pearl business. Pearls are largely formed of aragonite, a somewhat soft carbonate mineral (CaCO3) that also makes up mollusc shells.
When a very little bit of rock, a sand grain, or a parasite penetrates the mollusk’s shell, it becomes a pearl. It irritates the oyster or clam, so it coats the foreign substance with layer upon layer of shell material. Pearls generated on the interior of the shell are often uneven in shape and of little economic worth. Those developed inside the mollusk’s tissue, on the other hand, are either spherical or pear-shaped and are highly sought for jewelry.
Pearls have a beautiful translucence and brightness that distinguishes them as one of the most valuable jewels. The color of the pearl is heavily influenced by the kind of mollusc that created it as well as its surroundings. White is the most well-known and often used color. Pearls, on the other hand, come in a variety of delicate colors such as black, cream, gray, blue, yellow, purple, green, and mauve. Black pearls may be discovered in the Gulf of Mexico and the seas off several Pacific Ocean islands. The Persian Gulf and Sri Lanka are famous for their stunning cream-colored pearls known as Orientals. Natural saltwater pearls may also be found in the seas off the Indonesian island of Celebes, the Gulf of California, and the Pacific coast of Mexico. Freshwater mussels that produce pearls may be found in the Mississippi River and woodland streams in Bavaria, Germany.
Japan is well-known for its cultivated pearls. Mikimoto pearls, named after the industry’s founder, Kokichi Mikimoto, are well-known in the jewelry world. Large oyster beds in Japanese seas are used to breed cultured pearls. An “irritant,” such as a small mother-of-pearl piece, is injected into the fleshy region of two- to three-year-old oysters. The oysters are then raised in mesh bags immersed in water and fed on a daily basis for up to seven to nine years before being picked to extract their pearls. Cultured pearl industries are also practiced in Australia and the Pacific equatorial islands.
The world’s biggest pearl is estimated to be three inches long and two inches broad, weighing one-third of a pound (.13 kg). The Taj Mahal, also known as the Pearl of Asia, was a gift from Shah Jahan of India to his favorite wife, Mumtaz, in whose memory the Taj Mahal was erected.
Many experts believe that La Peregrina (the Wanderer) is the most exquisite pearl. It was supposed to have been discovered in the 1500s by a slave in Panama who handed it up in exchange for his freedom. The pearl was handed to King Philip II of Spain by the area’s colonial lord in 1570. This 1 1/2-inch-long pear-shaped white pearl hangs from a platinum mount set with diamonds. The pearl was handed down down the generations, first to Mary I of England and then to Prince Louis Napoleon of France. He sold it to the British Marquis of Abercorn, whose family retained it until 1969, when it was auctioned off at Sotheby’s. It was purchased by actor Richard Burton for his wife, Elizabeth Taylor.
The history of pearls
Pearls were dewdrops from heaven that dropped into the sea, according to South Asian folklore. They were grabbed by shellfish at a full moon phase, in the first rays of the rising sun. Warriors of India adorned their swords with pearls to represent the grief and anguish that a blade delivers.
Until the 17th century, pearls were also commonly utilized as medicine in Europe. It was thought to be a treatment for a variety of ailments, including insanity, by Arabs and Persians. Pearls were also utilized as medicine in China as early as 2000 B.C., when they were thought to symbolise prosperity, power, and longevity. Even now, in Asia, the lowest-grade pearls are crushed for use as medication.