June is a unique month in that its birthstone isn’t geologically formed, it is an organic gem, a pearl. Formed when an irritant gets inside a live mollusk, and that irritant gets coated in calcium carbonate to form an iridescent pearl. Pearls can vary in color, but the most common colors are white or cream-colored. In Chinese tradition, pearls were associated with wisdom, spiritual energy, and power, while Western cultures have long regarded pearls as a symbol of modesty and purity. Greek mythology believed that pearls were shed by Aphrodite, symbolizing love, and femininity. Pearls have also been associated with the moon and the different phases of the feminine that women go through different phases that women go through in their life, but also biological in their life.
Pearls only come up at a 2.5 on the Mohs hardness scale so care needs to be taken not to scratch them. With care pearl jewelry can last a lifetime. They are stable to light but are sensitive to heat and dehydration. Chemicals can also damage pearls so avoid contact with hairspray, perfume, cosmetics, and even perspiration. Pearls should never be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner. It’s safe to use warm, soapy water for occasional, thorough cleaning. If the pearls are strung, be sure the string is completely dry before wearing.
Though pearls are mostly used for jewelry, they also have been used to adorn clothing, but they can also be crushed and used in cosmetics, medications, and paint formulas. In traditional Asian medicinal systems, pearls have been used for treating ailing digestive systems, fertility issues, and heart problems. Some people believe it can also be used to treat many skin disorders such as rosacea.