PEARLS, THE BIRTHSTONE FOR JUNE
Pearls have been symbols of wealth, status and religious belief since antiquity. Almost 6,000 years ago in the Persian Gulf area, people were sometimes buried with a pearl in their right hand.
In Renaissance Europe, Lisbon and Seville were the centers of the pearl trade. The shops had massive amounts of pearls gathered from India, the Persian Gulf and the Caribbean. Pearls were worn by the powerful and the wealthy. Irregularly shaped, or baroque, pearls were especially admired.
When cultured pearls came on the international 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 a staple of every day wear.
Pictured is the Aphrodite Pin from the sanctuary of Aphrodite in Cyprus, Dating from 300 BC, it is one of the oldest objects containing pearls. It is at the British Museum in London.