Birthstone of the Month: Pearl and Moonstone
A birthstone is associated with each month of the year. Various myths and legends refer to the birthstones’ healing powers and therapeutic effects. However in modern times, it makes the selection of jewellery much simpler when personalizing a gift.
For those born in June, there are two very distinct choices of birthstone – pearl and moonstone.
First is, pearl, considered to be a gemstone, although pearls are produced by mollusks and other shellfish. Mollusks deposit layers of carbonate around microscopic irritants that get lodged in their shells, grow and become pearls.
The name pearl comes from the French word “perle”.
Today, the majority of pearls available to consumers are cultured or farmed, which means the rarest and most valuable pearls are naturally made in the wild. Superior pearls feature a reflective lustre, which makes them appear rich creamy white with opalescent sheen.
Due to the popularity and mass farming of pearls, there is plenty of choice on the market. Cultured pearls can be dyed black, brown, blue, green, pink, and the texture varies depending upon the farming process.
Since ancient times, pearls symbolize purity, innocence and unblemished beauty. Traditionally pearls are worn by a bride on her wedding day, as well as being the traditional gift to celebrate 30 years of marriage.
The second gemstone option for June is moonstone.
Most commonly recognized in the form of an almost colourless transparency with a blue shimmer, moonstone comes in a variety of colours ranging from pink, green, gray, yellow, brown and orange, sometimes displaying a star or cat’s eye.
The more transparent the stone and the bluer its lustre, the value of the moonstone increases.
As the name moonstone suggests, lunar mystery and magic surrounds this gemstone. Its calming powers are associated with treating insomnia and sleepwalking and inducing sound sleep.
Like diamonds, moonstones are judged by using the 4 C’s of colour, cut, clarity, and carat weight. Moonstones tend to be cut as cabochons to accentuate the vibrant colours.
Not as durable as most gemstones, moonstones are considered weak and prone to stress, so it is advisable to select a moonstone to be featured as a pendant or earrings, as opposed to a ring or bracelet.
Sources: geology.com, americangemsociety.org