There are three birthstones associated with the month of June! They are pearls, moonstone and alexandrite. I decided to focus on the pearl for now. Here are some factoids that are sure to delight the nerd in us all.
A pearl is produced within the soft tissue of a living shelled mollusk or another animal, such as a conulariid.
Naturally occurring pearls are extremely rare these days.
Pearls can be found in saltwater and freshwater, but remember, they are farmed, not naturally occurring.
The pearl is the result of a defense mechanism! When an irritant (that classic example: a grain of sand) makes its way inside the oyster, clam or mussel, a fluid is produced to coat the invader. Layer upon layer is deposited. The substance is called “nacre” and it gives pearls that beautiful luster.
Nacre is also known as mother of pearl. This nacre is also an inner shell layer for some mollusks.
Farmed, saltwater pearls are created by inserting a “bead nucleus” that acts as that irritant so the mollusk will start producing nacre to coat it. Farmed freshwater pearls often use a piece of tissue rather than a bead nucleus and they produce pearls with a thicker nacre.
Pearls come in many colors and shapes.
The shape of the irritant determines the shape of the pearl.
Imitation pearls are usually beads coated in glass.
The color of the pearl is influenced by the outer color of the mollusk’s shell. The color of pearls can also be altered by bleaching or dyeing or a combination of these techniques.
Inspired? Check out some of these KBeau originals here, here and here for some pearl options.