Pearls Part 1

June 8, 2016
Judy Gilger
oval_pearls-2Story of Pearls…June’s birthstone

The allure of the pearl has been around since the beginning of recorded history. Always regarded as one of the rarest, most valuable and symbolic of all gems. The pearl is seen as a beautiful metaphor for life. It never would have been created without adversity and struggle. The beauty and value of each pearl is determined by how well the mollusk deals with the irritation as to whether a pearl is made or not. As is life, we wonder how we will survive the stresses that are ever present and seem to overwhelm us, the pearl is a beautiful reminder that out of adversity comes something of beauty and value. Unlike other gemstones that are cut and polished the pearl’s beauty is apparent at first glance. Natural beauty given to us from a living creature.

The history of pearls goes back to ancient Chinese literature. In the sacred books, Hindus, Bible, Talmud, Koran along with the Great Roman historians all believed in the qualities associated with the pearl as purity, spirituality, virtue, wealth and love. The Greeks thought the pearls should be part of the wedding experience, they would ensure marital bliss. The pearl is considered “the wedding gem”. Artifacts have dated back at least 5,000 years as to the value pearls have played among people.

What is a natural pearl?

In the wild mollusk are invaded by an intruder, such as a tiny sea parasite which lodges inside the mollusk. Because this is an irritation if the mollusk can’t free itself of it, it begins to produce something called nacre to soothe the irritation. Layer after layer is laid down on the intruder and the pearl is formed. Each layer composed of microscopic crystal and when they align with each other a prismatic effect is created. As light travels through each layer it creates a rainbow effect.

Natural pearls have been badly depleted due to over fishing, pollution and changing weather patterns. This once noble profession of diving for pearls on the ocean’s floor is becoming increasingly rarer as are the beautiful natural pearls.

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