PEARLS, THE BIRTHSTONE FOR JUNE
Pearls have been symbols of wealth, status and religious belief for thousands of years. For thousands of years, the principal oyster beds were in the Persian Gulf, along the coasts of India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and in the Red Sea. Chinese pearls came mainly from freshwater rivers and ponds, but Japanese pearls were found near the coast in salt water.
When cultured pearls came on the market in the 1930s, pearls became more available and affordable. By the 1950s, it became a custom to gift girls in their teens with a strand of white pearls as well as tradition for pearls to be worn by brides. White, round pearls were the ones in high demand. We have come full circle to valuing all shapes and colors of pearls in recent years. Today pearls have gone from being something worn on special occasions to something we wear all the time.
Pictured is La Peregrina, one of the most famous pearls in the world. It has been worn by royalty for 500 years, from European kings and queens to a movie queen, Elizabeth Taylor. It was sold by Christie’s in 2011 for $11.8 million.