June Birthstones | Pearl History and Lore

JUNE BIRTHSTONES

Pearl

Pearl History and Lore



Pearls have been used as adornment for centuries, at least as far back as ancient Greece, where they believed pearls were the tears of the gods. The oldest known pearl jewelry was discovered in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess who died in 520 B.C.

Ancient Japanese folktales told that pearls were created from the tears of mythical creatures like mermaids and nymphs. Early Chinese civilizations believed that dragons carried pearls between their teeth and the dragon must be slain to claim the pearls, which symbolized wisdom.

Other cultures associated pearls with the moon, calling them "teardrops of the moon." Hindu folklore explained that dewdrops fell from the moon into the sea, and Krishna picked one for his daughter on her wedding day.

Because natural pearls were so rare throughout history, only the richest nobles could afford them. During the Byzantine Empire, rules dictated that only the emperor was allowed to wear these treasured gemstones. Ancient Egyptians were often buried with their prized pearls.

Tudor England was known as the Pearl Age because of the stone’s popularity with the upper class during the sixteenth century. Portraits showed royals wearing pearl jewelry and clothing adorned with pearls.

Pearls became more accessible in the early 1900s when the first commercial culturing of saltwater pearls began in Asia. Since the 1920s, cultured pearls have almost completely replaced natural pearls in the market, making this classic gemstone affordable for nearly any budget.

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The American Gem Society (AGS) is a nonprofit trade association of fine jewelry professionals dedicated to setting, maintaining and promoting the highest standards of ethical conduct and professional behavior through education, accreditation, recertification of its membership, gemological standards, and gemological research.

The Society is committed to providing educational products to inform and protect the consumer and to contributing to the betterment of the trade by creating industry standards to protect the jewelry-buying public and the fine jewelry industry as a whole.

AGS Laboratories, founded to support the AGS mission, is a nonprofit diamond grading laboratory with a mission of consumer protection. Adhering to the AGS Diamond Grading Standards, AGS Laboratories is dedicated to offering diamond grading reports that provide consistency and accuracy based on science.

American Gem Society

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