Birthstone: June & its pearls of beauty
Imagine being draped with strings of pearls. Pearls around your neck, pearl bangles on your hands, pearl earrings dangling from your ears; pearl headdress, pearl kamarbandh… (Ok maybe we’re letting our imagination run away like mad), but wouldn’t that be lovely? So elegant and so sophisticated. For that’s what pearls are mainly associated with, right? Sophistication!
For those born in the month of June, it’s a lucky season. For the pearl is the birthstone associated with the month:
“Who comes with summer to this earth
And owes to June her hour of birth
A pearl should wear against her skin
Who’s innocence many a heart shall win.”
The pearl is probably the only gem created from a living creature. It is also probably the only gem that needs no polishing and cutting and the like. However, it should be common knowledge that natural or ‘wild’ pearls are very hard to come by, and are also highly expensive. But there is always the option of choosing cultured pearls or farmed pearls. Pearls come in numerous shapes and sizes. Even in cultured pearls there is no guarantee to the end shape. As a result there are more baroque pearls (those with an irregular or non-spherical shape) than there are perfect and similar shaped pearls. So before you pay a bomb for that strand of round pearls, check and be sure they are the coveted wild pearls and not the cultured ones.
While the natural colour of pearls is a creamy white, cultured pearls are often dyed blue, green, black, yellow and so on. A pearl has many translucent layers that reflect and diffract light, giving it that special luster. And the thinner and more numerous the layers, the more unique will be its shine.
So what are the properties of pearls? Like the little verse above says, the pearl is associated with many metaphysical properties, some of which are friendship, faithfulness, loyalty, and integrity. It is also believed to have healing properties to cure problems related to the heart, stomach, spleen, and such.
However, if you’re not very gung-ho about wearing pearls this month, don’t worry. June has not one, but three birthstones to boast of. Even as the pearl is the traditional favourite, there’s the moonstone and the alexandrite, the modern day alternatives. This shiny stone with bluish spots is fairly translucent, has a pearly luster, and resembles the glowing moon. And so it was named the moonstone. The moonstone comes in various colours including grey, pink, green, golden, and brown. However, the deep blue ones are the most expensive. The moonstone is believed to have the powers to reconcile lovers. It is also believed to protect the wearer from harm, bring about success and luck, and even to enable the wearer to foretell the future.
Alexandrite, on the other hand, is a relatively new gemstone. It has the unique property of changing colours under various light sources. In daylight, the stone takes on a greenish or bluish hue while under incandescent lighting it turns to purplish-red. Considered to be a stone of very good omen, the alexandrite is believed to accentuate the wearer’s intuition. It is also presumed to trigger the imagination and aid in creativity. A very rare gemstone, the alexandrite is named after the Russian tsar Alexander II as the stones were discovered in the Ural mountains of Russia on the same day as the tsar came of age.