_ The pearl, pure and fair to the eye, has been recognized since the earliest times as the emblem of modesty, chastity, and purity. There are two types of pearls available today. The natural or Oriental pearl,-the real "genuine pearl",-is considered a precious gem, since they are relatively rare in nice sizes. The other and most commonly found today is the cultured pearl from pearl farms. Pearls are produced by oysters in saltwater and by mussels in freshwater lakes and rivers.
Quality and value are determined by:
Freedom from skin blemishes (blisters, pimples, or spots)
Roundness-the more perfectly round the better
Luster-the higher the luster the better (known as Orient by some gemologists)
Tint-rose-tinted are highly desirable as are white and cream
Size-natural pearls are sold by weight measured in "grains" Cultured pearls are sold by millimeters. The larger the pearl, the greater the cost. For example, 71/2 mm to 8 mm is considered large but 9 mm to 10mm is considered very large both in size and price. The price jumps upward rapidly with each millimeter once you pass 8 mm.
When all of these factors come together in a set or stand of pearls, acquiring them may be excessively costly, but you will have the finest available. If any quality factor is lessened, the savings can be significant.
Pearls should be handled with care. It is best to keep them in a separate pouch and to exercise some caution when wearing to avoid contact with certain substances such as vinegar (when making a salad), ammonia, inks, and certain perfumes, since these can spot the pearls surface. Also frequent applications of hair spray while wearing pearls will coat them and make them very dull, but this coating can be cleaned by washing with nail polish remover.
Pearls are available in many colors including gray, black, pink, and blue. Unfortunately, the colors are often produced using surface dying techniques. A qualified gemologist should be able to detect dyed pearls.
Moonstone has a historical connection with travel. Once known as the "Traveler's Stone," it was used for protection against the perils of travel.
Moonstone is associated with all goddesses, but especially the Moon goddess. In Europe, moonstone is considered the birthstone for June, although in the United States it shares that distinction with alexandrite and pearl. Moonstone is an accepted gem for the 13th wedding anniversary.
In general, the energy of moonstone is balancing, introspective and reflective. It is a stone for wishing and hoping as well as a stone for embracing the cycles of change. Moonstone is a stone for feeling and understanding via intuition and emotional thoughts rather than intellectual reasoning. It brings flashes of insight, and stimulates intuitive recognition and helps in applying intuitive knowledge in a practical sense.
According to Hindu legend, moonstone was formed from moonbeams. At one time it was believed that if you held one in your mouth during a full moon, you can see your future. In India, moonstone is still regarded as a sacred stone and is widely believed to bring good fortune.
The ancient Romans also associated moonstone with the moon and speculated that the gem was formed from drops of moonlight. They considered the gemstones as possessing those properties traditionally associated with the moon: romance, femininity, intuition, dreams and the emotions.
George Frederick Kunz, in his famous book The Curious Lore of Precious Stones tells the story of a famous moonstone that allegedly displayed a white point that changed shape and size in accordance with the waxing and waning of the moon.
June Birthstone - Alexandrite
Alexandrite is one of the most desired and rarest gemstones. The first Alexandrite discovery occurred in Russia and was named in honor of the Czar Alexander II. Alexandrite is characterized by its mesmerizing ability to change color in relation to different light sources. Alexandrite looks bluish-green in daylight and then the colour becomes raspberry to plum if moved to artificial light. The most distinct color changes are seen in thicker stones. An included form of the jewel is even rarer, and known as Cat’s Eye Alexandrite.
Alexandrite enchants the eye and fuels the imagination. Certain legendary powers have now become associated with Alexandrite, stimulated by its dramatic color-changing ability. Mysterious and endlessly fascinating, Alexandrite purportedly will bring 'balance' into the wearer's life, improve their self -esteem and help them to experience great joy.
Alexandrite is now mainly mined in Sri Lanka and Brazil. The original deposits were discovered in the Ural Mountains in Russia in 1830, but have long since been worked out. The largest cut stone is in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and weighs an incredible 66 carats.