The pearl is also the 3rd and 30th year anniversary stone. Alternate gemstones for the month of June are Alexandrite (a color-change gemstone), and Moonstone, a popular semi-precious gemstone used in fashion jewelry.
Throughout time and across different religions and cultures, pearls have always held a unique allure. As the first known gems, natural pearls were thought to bestow mythical powers on the ones who possessed them. Indeed, ancient cultures considered pearls to be the "Tears of God".
Occupying different regions of the world, there are three main types of pearl-producing oysters used in jewelry today: freshwater, Akoya, and South Sea (respectively producing white, black and golden pearls). By implanting a shell bead (known as a nucleus) into an oyster, the near-surgical procedure's efforts would hopefully yield a beautiful pearl after a few years.
Fresh Water Pearls, Hyriopsis Cumings, are produced commercially in China. They range in shape from baroque (irregular, or asymmetrically shaped) to mostly round. Over the last decade, Chinese pearl farmers have improved enough to rival Akoya pearls and South Sea cultured pearls in all qualities and most varieties.
Akoya pearls are harvested from Japanese waters after an eight-month growth period. The product of the smallest commercially-farmed oyster (Pinetada Fucata), these pearls are mostly round, but they can produce baroque and keshi (free-form) pearls. Akoya pearls are more valuable in comparable size and quality to Chinese oyster pearls.
South Sea cultured pearls (Pinetada Maxima) are found in the warm waters as far north as the Philippines, to as far south as Western Australia. Varying between black and white in color, and 8.00 to 20.00 mm in size, the baroque form far outnumber the preferred round form. That, combined with their three to six year growth time, make the South Sea pearl a special gem. Found in the waters of the Indian Ocean, Myanmar, Thailand, and Sri Lanka, the Golden-Tipped oyster's famous Golden South Sea Pearls are a radiant example of the pearl kingdom's offerings.
Tahitian pearls from the Pinetada Margaritifera oyster are mostly black, but can also be white to light gray. With the rainbow of colors called “orient,” these black pearls really come alive!
Pearls are a unique gift from the sea. They remain a time-honored gem, which will only grow stronger and more desirable as time goes on.