June's birthstone, pearls, are extra amazing because they the only gemstones made by living creatures. Mollusks produce pearls by depositing layers of calcium carbonate, called nacre, around microscopic irritants that get lodged in their flesh. Over the course of years, layer and layers of shimmering nacre coats the intruder, creating a lustrous pearl.
Ancient civilizations had many stories to explain the origin of the pearl, such as the Greek belief that pearls were the hardened tears of joy that the goddess of love shook from her eyes as she was born from the sea. According to Arab legend, pearls were formed when oysters were lured from the depths of the ocean by the beautiful moon and then swallowed moonlit dewdrops. And the Ancient Chinese thought that these gems originated from the brains of dragons.
Naturally occurring pearls are rare, and historically were once only worn by royalty. Because these natural pearls fetched such high prices, they were gathered without restraint, becoming scarcer with each passing year. Concerned about extinction of the pearl-producing oysters, Kokichi Mikimoto embarked on his life-defining mission to grow pearls within his own oyster beds. In 1893 he successfully developed the process of culturing pearls by inserting a particle inside Akoya oysters, which were known to produce the best pearls. Today, Mikimoto pearls are still known as the finest pearls you can buy and we are proud to carry them at Fox's!
In addition to traditional white Akoya pearls, we also have gorgeous South Sea pearls, These large, white, black, or golden pearls are naturally occurring colors that are produced by different types of oysters. It can take as long as 15 years to create a strand of perfectly matched golden pearls.
Pearls have been a passion and even an obsession of people throughout the ages. They have been ground up and used in cosmetics and as a medicine to treat heart and stomach conditions. Some cultures swear by pearls as an aphrodisiac. These gems have adorned crowns, clothing, and temples, and were said to be a favorite of Cleopatra.
Only those with royal status once wore pearl jewelry, but eventually these gems were seen among all classes of people. They continue to be viewed as a mark of taste and refinement as well as a symbol of purity, and they are often given to celebrate a marriage or the birth of a child. Pearls are nature's perfect gift, suitable for all ages, and elegantly worn with everything from jeans to an evening gown.
We think this Mikimoto set of pearl stud earrings and a strand of pearls is the perfect gift for any occasion.