Summer is Here!!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUNE!
It’s June, which means it’s time for pool days, backyard barbecues, and vacations! It also means it’s time for us to learn about some more birthstones. Here are a few fun facts about one of this month’s birthstones, Pearl!
- Pearls are the birthstone for June, as well as the traditional gem of the 3rd and 30th anniversaries.
- Pearl ranks as 2.5 on the Mohs hardness scale.
- Pearls were first written about in 2206 BC by a Chinese historian.
- In China, pearls were believed to protect the wearer from fire and fire-breathing dragons.
- In Europe, pearls were once a symbol of purity, modesty, and innocence.
- In the mid-1910s, Pierre Cartier couldn’t afford to buy a building, so he traded a double strand of natural pearls for a mansion on Fifth Avenue in NYC.
- Pearls are formed in mollusks, usually around a small irritant. If the irritant is placed there by a person, the pearls are “cultured.” If there is no human help, they are considered natural pearls.
- The first pearl was successfully cultured in 1893 by Kokichi Mikimoto.
- There are four main types of cultured pearls: Akoya, South Sea, Tahitian, and Freshwater.
- Many cultures associated pearls with the moon.
- Most people think of pearls as white and cream but there are many other colors! Black, gray, and silver pearls are all common but pearls can be found in every hue.
HOW DO OYSTERS MAKE PEARLS?
Pearls are made by marine oysters and freshwater mussels as a natural defence against an irritant such as a parasite entering their shell or damage to their fragile body.
The oyster or mussel slowly secretes layers of aragonite and conchiolin, materials that also make up its shell. This creates a material called nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl, which encases the irritant and protects the mollusc from it.
When pearls are cultured commercially an irritant is manually inserted into a mollusc to promote the production of mother-of-pearl.
Nacre can form naturally around almost any irritant that gets inside the shell, creating some very unique and precious pearls.
THE MOST FAMOUS PEARL
La Peregrina is the most famous pearl in the world. Its history spans almost 500 years. In recent history it belonged to actress Elizabeth Taylor.
The original weight of this pear-shaped pearl was 55.95 carats, 11.2 g. At the time of its discovery, it was the largest pearl ever found.
Discovered in Panama in the 1500s by an African slave diving off Panama’s Pearl Islands, La Peregrina is the most famous pearl in the world.
Soon after its discovery, the white pear-shaped pearl was taken to Spain where it became part of the crown jewel collection. Around 1554, Phillip II of Spain gave the pearl to Queen Mary I of England as an engagement present. When Bloody Mary died in 1558, it was returned to Spain and worn by a succession of Spanish queens over the next 250 years.
In 1808, Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Spain and took the pearl with him back to France. Years later, Napoleon III, who was exiled in England and facing financial difficulties, sold La Peregina to the Marquis of Abercorn.
In 1969, Welsh actor Richard Burton spent $37,000 at a Sotheby’s auction to buy La Peregrina from the Duke of Abercrombie as a gift for his wife Elizabeth Taylor.
In December 2011, the pearl sold for a record price of more than $11 million (£7.1m). La Peregrina was sold as part of Elizabeth Taylor’s collection, which was being auctioned at Christie’s in New York. It was sold mounted on the diamond Cartier necklace. Its value had been estimated at $3 million, but the bidding vastly exceeded the estimate and reached $10.5 million – increasing to more than $11 million once the various fees were factored in.
BLACK TAHITIAN PEARLS
The Tahitian pearl (or black pearl) is an organic gem formed from the black lip oyster. These pearls derive their name from the fact that they are primarily cultivated around the islands of French Polynesia, around Tahiti. They are the only natural colored pearls.
Tahitian pearls come in a range of colors from white to black. They can contain various undertones and overtones of green, pink, blue, silver and yellow. The most valuable of these are of the darker variety, as the naturally dark tones of the Tahitian pearls is a unique quality among pearls. A true black Tahitian pearl is extremely rare, and largely considered one of the most beautiful kinds of pearls in the world. Most Tahitian pearls that are identified as “black” are actually charcoal grey, silver, or dark green. An advantage of the Tahitian pearl is that the oyster inside of which they grow is quite large, sometimes weighing as much as ten pounds. This means that a Tahitian pearl can more easily grow to a larger-than-average size.
The cultured Tahitian pearl comes in various shapes, sizes, and colors; shapes include round, semi-round, button, circle, oval, teardrop, semi-baroque and baroque. Because of their darker hues, Tahitian pearls are commonly known as “black pearls”. However, Tahitian pearls have the ability to contain various undertones and overtones of green, pink, blue, silver and yellow. All (or any combination) of these colors may be seen in a cultured Tahitian pearl. Due to the variety of shapes and colors of the Tahitian pearl, it has been known to fit in any jewelry setting. The versatility and mixture of color give it its value.
SOME SUMMIT PEARLS FOR YOU
June is one of the few months that has more than one birthstone. Here are some fun facts about June’s other birthstone, Alexandrite!
- Alexandrite is one of the birthstones for June and the gemstone for the 55th anniversary.
- Alexandrite is ranked as an 8.5 on the Mohs scale.
- Alexandrite is a rare form of the mineral chrysoberyl. As a result of the gem’s complex absorption of light, alexandrite changes color in different environments.
- In sunlight or fluorescent light, the gem will appear green. In dimmer or incandescent light, alexandrite usually appears purple or as a purplish red. This color-changing effect is why alexandrite is sometimes said to be an “emerald by day, ruby by night.”
- Alexandrite was first discovered in the 1830s in the Ural Mountains of Russia.
- The original deposits were abundant and included fine quality gemstones with vivid hues and dramatic color-changing qualities.
- The newly-discovered gem was named after Alexander II, who would eventually become emperor.
- Imperial Russia was fascinated by the new gemstone, especially because its red and green hues mirrored the country’s military colors.
- Alexandrite is rarer and more expensive than many precious gemstones, including sapphire, ruby, and emerald.
- Natural alexandrite is rarely treated, making it even more treasured.
- Most natural alexandrites are very small. Alexandrites that weigh one-carat or more are incredibly rare and can sell for as much as $70,000 per carat!
- Alexandrites are found today in Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil. High-quality varieties, however, are extremely rare, especially in larger sizes.
- Today, lab-created alexandrites make up the majority of alexandrite jewelry.
- The largest-ever faceted alexandrite is owned by the Smithsonian Institute. It weighs 66 carats and is valued at over $4 million!
Along with the pearl and alexandrite, moonstone is a birthstone for June. There are a lot of interesting facts about the stone, which is a variety of the feldspar-group mineral orthoclase, and tons of beautiful moonstone jewelry pieces to choose from for an out of this world look.
Moonstone’s glow is caused by light scattering between microscopic layers of feldspar. The minerals orthoclase and albite are first combined and then, as the newly formed mineral cools, the two minerals separate into stacked, alternating layers. The stacked layers diffract light, creating moonstone’s adularescence, which is the light that appears across a gemstone, giving its surface a glowing appearance.
The minerals in the feldspar family make up more than half of the Earth’s crust. Pick up a rock anywhere in the world, and you’re bound to find that it contains a mineral from the feldspar group.
Make sure that you stop by hand-select that special gemstone you have been always wanting. You won’t believe all that we have to offer!
SATURDAY JULY 15TH FROM 10 AM TO 4 PM
STOP IN AND PURCHASE YOUR RAFFLE TICKET FOR $10 FOR YOUR CHOICE OF THE DIAMOND STAR NECKLACE, YELLOW GOLD RUBY NECKLACE, OR BLUE SAPPHIRE NECKLACE*
WHILE IN THE SHOP, ENJOY REFRESHMENTS AND A FLASH SALE UP TO 50% OFF. ALSO, COME IN AND START YOUR CHRISTMAS WISH LIST!!!
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