June’s birthstone is pearl. Learn a little about the history of this classic, sophisticated and timeless gemstone.

Pearls, known as the “Queen of Gems” have been admired for centuries and are known officially as the worlds oldest gem.

pearls

In history, dating back to 420BC a fragment of pearl jewellery once belonging to a Persian Princess was discovered in her stone coffin.
In Ancient Rome pearl jewellery was considered as the ultimate status symbol and so precious that Julius Caesar proposed a law limiting the wearing of pearls only to the ruling classes.
Since Roman times pearls have played an important part in the trade commodity and the later discovery of pearls in Central and South America in the 15th and 16th century led to the so-called “Pearl Age”.

Demand grew for the lustrous spheres, especially in Western Europe where noble woman and royalty wore elaborate pieces such as necklaces, earring, bracelets and brooches and by the 19th century the demand was so high that Oyster supplies began to dwindle.

bridal set

Today, pearls symbolise the birth month of June and honour the celebration of the 30th wedding anniversary making pearl jewellery an ideal gift to present to your loved one.

Pearl jewellery is often worn by brides on their wedding day, as they represented purity, much like a white dress. Tradition says wearing pearls on your wedding day will ensure your marriage is happy.

Here at W.E. Clark and Son we stock brands such as Jersey Pearl and Yoko Pearl as well as our own collection.

yoko earrings  yoko necklace

A natural pearl is unlike other gemstones that are mined, they are created when an irritant such as a parasite or piece of shell is naturally lodged inside of an oyster’s soft inner body creating a crystalline product known as “nacre” which builds up around the irritant in layers forming a Pearl.

Freshwater natural pearls were easier to gather as they lived in shallow rivers and streams but due to demand these were reserved for harvesting by royalty.

A cultured pearl is created by the same process, with the only difference being that the irritant is implanted purposely into the oyster rather than it being a natural occurrence or by chance.

Today there are very little natural pearls and are only very infrequently found in the seas off Bahrain and Australia.

Almost all of the jewellery sold currently and as seen in our window displays, are made using pearls which have been cultivated and farmed and are still increasingly desired.

 

jersey pearl necklacejersey pearl ring

We also offer a pearl re-stringing and cleaning service so your pearls continuingly look they’re best.