Birthstone for June
The birthstone for June is the pearl, an organic gemstone produced in oysters and mussels. There are two types of pearl – the saltwater pearl found in the Margaritaferae species of oyster and the freshwater pearl, commonly found in the Unionidae species of freshwater mussel.
Freshwater pearls are farmed in lakes and rivers in China and Japan. The cultivation of these pearls has led to a more successful survival rate because of better control over growing conditions and a wider selection of the bi-valve species. This makes freshwater pearls easier to produce and therefore less expensive.
Chinese and Japanese pearl farmers have experimented with different species and implantation methods, resulting in freshwater pearls rivalling the quality of Akoya pearls.
Pearls should be stored separately from other jewellery to avoid being scratched. They are also affected by chemicals, cosmetics and even perspiration. Pearls should be wiped with a damp cloth after use, both to clean and re-hydrate the jewellery.
See my Web-site for a selection of freshwater pearls: www.redorchidjewellery.com.au