June’s three official birthstones have a common theme: iridescent, mysterious and complex. The shimmering pearl is the only birthstone emerging from a living organism. Its huge range of colors & shapes can dazzle and surprise. It is both incredibly delicate and timeless.
The lesser-known moonstone captivates with its strangely hypnotic glow. Lovely alexandrite possesses the power to transform itself with a magical play of light. Which is your June gemstone soulmate?
One of the most important aspects of June’s birthstones are their delicate nature. As an organic substance, pearls form from accretions of calcium carbonate that can dissolve when exposed to highly acidic substances. They do not respond well to impact or abrasion, so keep this in mind when wearing & storing your precious pearl jewelry. As fashion gurus constantly advise, it’s important to apply beauty products before donning your pearls.
Right: Liz Taylor cherished the massive “La Peregrina” pearl, pictured here on her Cartier ruby necklace – despite the terrifying encounter it once had with her dog!
Below is a close-up view of what happens to pearls when they are exposed to hairsprays & other harsh solvents over time. Not such a pretty and lustrous sight, is it?
When cleaning is required, bring them to a jeweler for professional treatment, or gently brush with lukewarm water and mild soap. A polish with a selvet cloth is a perfect finishing touch. Older pearl strands should be re-strung periodically, and knotted properly to avoid a disastrous spill. Silk thread is used to prevent chafing at the inside of the pearls. Laying them in a soft, flat place will prevent a misshapen strand.
Overall, pearls can respond magnificently to a bit of loving care and gentle cleaning. Some pearl jewelry remains pristine for hundreds of years, making it a wonderful heirloom.
Some jewelry artisans have perfected the art of pearl carving, with spectacular results:
Moonstone’s mesmerizing iridescence relies in part on its delicately polished surface. It is a soft stone, better suited to necklaces than to rings. It should be gently cleaned by hand. Alexandrite, though a harder and more durable gem, should be inspected for fracture-filled treatments before subjecting it to ultrasonic cleaners or steamers. Avoid checmical exposure to maintain the striking optical effects at their best.