The Folklore of Pearls

Pearl folklore spans centuries. This June birthstone’s iridescent beauty has inspired many stories.

Chains of pearls

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 had to be slain to claim the pearls, which symbolized wisdom. The phrase “pearls of wisdom” is still used today.

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.

Some ancient legends described pearls as tears cried by gods. It was believed that Eve cried pearls when she was exiled from Eden.

Pearls have also been symbols of wealth, purity, and fertility. Pearl jewelry is often worn by brides during weddings in Asia and in Western cultures.

Some cultures believed that pearls were bad luck, since the gemstones were ripped from living creatures. To counteract this, pearl jewelry had to be given out of love, without jealousy and malice.

If you’re looking for pearl jewelry for yourself or for someone with a June birthday, find an American Gem Society jeweler near you.

NOTE: The above is intended to educate on the myth, legend and historical lore of pearls and is not meant to be interpreted as fact.

The Folklore of Alexandrite

Alexandrite was discovered in fairly modern times. Since it was found in the early 1800s in Russia, not much lore has built up around this incredibly rare gemstone.

Alexandrite ring sitting on a rock by the sea

When this gemstone was first discovered in emerald mines in the Ural Mountains, they assumed it was emerald. However, the mineralogist who found it later noticed that the gemstone changed colors depending on the type of light it was in.

Often described as “emerald by day, ruby by night,” alexandrite is a rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl that changes from bluish green in daylight to purplish red under incandescent light. The shifting colors are the result of alexandrite’s uncommon chemical composition that includes traces of chromium, the same coloring agent found in emerald.

According to legend, alexandrite was named for Alexander II because it was discovered on the future czar’s birthday. Because alexandrite’s red and green hues matched Russia’s military colors, it became the official gemstone of Imperial Russia’s Tsardom.

Since its discovery, people have felt this June birthstone brought good luck and abundance. Some have even believed it brought happiness and love into their lives.

Associated with concentration and learning, alexandrite is believed to strengthen intuition, aid creativity and inspire imagination, bringing good omens to anyone who wears it.

If you’re looking for alexandrite jewelry for yourself or for someone with a June birthday, find an American Gem Society jeweler near you.

NOTE: The above is intended to educate on the myth, legend and historical lore of alexandrite and is not meant to be interpreted as fact.

The Folklore of Moonstone

Throughout time, moonstone has been connected to the Earth’s moon. This mysterious stone—which looks like a moonlit night—has been the object of lore across the world.

For two thousand years, Romans used moonstone in jewelry. They linked the stone to the Moon Goddess Diana and believed that wearing moonstone would bring love, wealth, and success.

In Asia, there was a myth that every 21 years, blue moonstones were brought in by the tide. In India, it was believed that this gem was good luck and allowed romantic partners to read their future, if they placed the moonstone in their mouth during a full moon. Moonstone is one of India’s traditional wedding gifts. They also felt that the stone’s luster grew and weakened as the moon transitioned from a full moon to a new moon.

Hindu mythology also told that moonstone was made from the moon’s ethereal light. Legend portrayed it as a sacred and magical “dream stone” that could bring serene and beautiful dreams at night.

Legends have claimed that moonstone could help the wearer have clear visions and prophecies. If someone was continuously angry, the stone would lose its beautiful luster. It was also known as the “Traveler’s Stone,” as it was believed that it would protect people who wore it while traveling at night.

Current lore revolves around moonstone’s ability to help wearers go with the flow, similar to the moon affecting the tides.

This dreamy stone is gorgeous no matter how you feel about it.

If you’re looking for moonstone jewelry for yourself or a friend or someone with a June birthday, find an American Gem Society jeweler near you.

NOTE: The above is intended to educate on the myth, legend and historical lore of moonstone and is not meant to be interpreted as fact.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Every Dad

By Robin Skibicki

Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 19. If you haven’t thought about a gift for your dear Dad, we have a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Just like Mom, Dad appreciates a gift of quality that will last a lifetime. Styles and trends may come and go, so be sure to find something that fits your Dad’s personality and lifestyle.

The Fun & Funky Father

This is the Dad who always has a fun story to share, a silly joke to tell, and got a kick out of embarrassing you when you were a kid! The Triangle Puzzle Ring by Mark Schneider matches this fun personality. Its two-tone 14k white and yellow gold with 0.205ctw diamonds.

Triangle Puzzle Ring - 14317-markschneider

Looking for something different and slightly exotic? The Legends Naga Dragon Head bracelet by John Hardy is sterling silver and 18K bonded gold. The eyes are set with African rubies.

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The Fan-atic Father

If your Dad is a sports fan, he’ll cheer for these two sporty styles by Lashbrook Designs. Die-hard baseball fan? Go with the cobalt chrome 8mm band with baseball “stitching.” Dedicated basketball fan? Pick the titanium 8mm domed band with the basketball pattern.

The Fit Father

For men who live a very active lifestyle, purchase titanium jewelry. It’s the hardest of the metals, therefore more scratch, dent and bend resistant. Hearts On Fire designed this durable yet lightweight gray titanium ring. It’s highlighted by a cable rope running through the center, and one small, single diamond.

Commanding-Grey-Titanium-Band-with-Cable-Band-1-HOF

 

The Factual Father

He likes to keep things simple. John Hardy designed a reversible, flat chain bracelet that’s sterling silver on one side and bronze on the other. Who doesn’t appreciate the versatility and convenience of reversible jewelry?

BM99795RVOZ_Main-JohnHardy

Two-toned designs are very popular because they work with any look. The Grand Signature Bracelet by Ed Levin Jewelry is sporty, comfortable, classic and bold. No fuss, no muss.

br26742w_silver-and-gold-bracelet-EdLevin

The Formal Father

The French cuff, whether worn with a business suit or a tux, always lends a formal feel to any look. Add a pair of stylish cufflinks, like these sterling silver and genuine onyx links by Stuller, for a finished touch!

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Dad deserves some bling, too! This design by Unique Settings of New York is timeless and stylish, with just the right amount of sparkle.

UniqueSettings

The Futuristic Father

He’s all about technology. The car, the appliances, the gadgets—all must be wired into something…and each other! Whether you understand it or not, show your support for his love of innovation.

Royal Asscher carries a unique design collection called Stars of Africa. They have encased their exquisite diamonds and colored gems inside a dome, giving them freedom to move and sparkle. Dad ought to be fascinated with these sterling silver cufflinks housing blue sapphires.

RoyalAsscher

Dad is going to think this is cool! Steven Kretchmer designed a tri-band ring using Polarium™, their magnetic platinum alloy. The three 7.5mm magnetic bands have a matte finish with rounded edges, with the middle component featuring a stripe of 24k crystallized gold inlay.

steven-kretchmer-tri-band

Need some more ideas? Use our online Find a Jeweler search to locate an AGS credentialed jeweler near you. Our highly trained and educated jewelers will help guide you through the buying process and answer any questions you may have. Enjoy celebrating this day dedicated to Dad!

June Hits the Birthstone Trifecta

By Robin Skibicki

Those born in June celebrate their special month with three beautiful birthstones: the luminous pearl, enchanting alexandrite and magical moonstone.

June-Trifecta-hz

Pearls

Pearls are the only gemstone in the world that comes from a living organism, and can be found in both saltwater and freshwater. Whether natural or cultured, a pearl forms when a mollusk produces layers of nacre (pronounced NAY-kur) around any type of irritant inside its shell. In natural pearls, the irritant may be another organism from the water. In cultured pearls, a mother-of-pearl bead or a piece of tissue is inserted (by man) into the mollusk to start the process. There are also different types of mollusks that produce very different looking pearls.

For centuries, pearls have been a symbol of beauty and purity. Today, they are regarded as both classic and contemporary, coming in many more fashionable styles than your grandmother’s traditional strand of pearls.

 

Honora pearl and rock crystal

Sterling silver necklace with five rows of white baroque coin freshwater cultured pearls and rock crystal, by Honora.

 

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Mastoloni designed a 16.3mm Tahitian pearl set in 18kt white gold adorned with diamonds on each side.

 

Shogun Pearl e241

Natural golden South Sea cultured pearl and diamond earrings in 18kt gold, by Shogun Pearl.

 

Alexandrite

This variety of color change chrysoberyl is extremely rare, placing the alexandrite in its own mineral group. When this remarkable stone is viewed in daylight or fluorescent light, it appears green or blueish green. When seen under incandescent lighting, it morphs to a purplish red.

Due to its rarity, some jewelers stock synthetic versions of this chameleon-like gemstone. Synthetic gemstones are man-made alternatives to the natural material, possessing the same physical, optical, and chemical properties as the natural gemstone.

Alexandrite is a relatively modern gem, first discovered in Russia around 1831 during the reign of its namesake, Czar Alexander II. Although alexandrite has a short history, it is has been associated with good fortune, enhanced creativity and focus.

The photos below are key examples of the incredible color-changing properties of the alexandrite. OMI Privé‘s, Niveet Nagpal, designed this bewitching brooch named “Alexis.” Each photo shows the same brooch under both color phases.

Alexis-duo

The lizard’s body is 18K white gold, and the back is made up of 6.06 ctw of alexandrite rough. The eyes are tsavorite, the mouth is ruby, and the entire piece is accented with diamonds, alexandrites and black diamonds. A work of art!

AG Gems Alexandrite

A natural, oval-cut Alexandrite ring by AG Gems is flanked by two half-moon cut diamonds and accented by 42 round brilliant cut diamonds.

 

Moonstone

A phenomenal gemstone, moonstones show a floating play of light (called adularescence) and occasionally show either a multi-rayed star or a cat’s eye. They are part of the family of minerals called feldspar and occur in many igneous and metamorphic rocks. Moonstone is a translucent stone that comes in a variety of colors, such as white, gray, green, blue, peach and champagne. The most popular is the rainbow moonstone, which is an iridescent white or gray displaying a blue sheen in the light. To enhance the adularescence, moonstone is often cut into a smooth cabochon shape.

Moonstone lore appears in varying cultures over the centuries, each associating its mesmerizing properties with goddesses, psychic abilities, femininity and motherhood, calming, protection, health and good fortune. Here are some exquisite designs featuring the magnificent moonstone.

 

Moonstone LikaBehar-1

The Pompei Pendant by Lika Behar Collection features a tear drop rainbow moonstone framed by 24k gold and oxidized sterling silver.

 

Moonstone yael-earrings

Yael Designs‘ Moonrise earrings are set in 18k white gold, and feature moonstones and blue sapphires, accented with ideal cut diamonds.

 

Moonstone-peach Ritani

A round, peach moonstone pendant by Ritani is set in 18kt yellow gold with a beaded edge finish.

 

If you’re in search of pearl, alexandrite or moonstone jewelry, visit our Find a Jeweler search for an AGS credentialed jeweler near you.

Pearls of Wisdom for June 2015

By Amanda L Colborn

Happy birthday to all the June babies out there!

You’re all very lucky in that you have three very unique birthstones commemorating this special month! Unfortunately, I am not creative enough to also be able to work “Alexandrite” and “Moonstone” into this blog’s title.

But, let’s jump right into pearls!

PEARLS

Historically, pearls have been used as an adornment for centuries.  They were one of the favorite gems of the Roman Empire. Later, during the Tudor period in England, the 1500’s were known as the Pearl Age.

Pearls are unique as they are the only gems from living sea creatures and require no faceting or polishing to reveal their natural beauty. In the early 1900s, the first successful commercial culturing of round saltwater pearls began. Since the 1920s, cultured pearls have almost completely replaced natural pearls in the market though we are seeing a strong revival of natural pearls.

Natural Pearl Necklace from Matoloni Pearls

Natural Pearl Necklace from Matoloni Pearls

Pearl Necklace from Mastoloni Pearls

Pearl Necklace from Mastoloni Pearls

ALEXANDRITE

A relatively modern gem, Alexandrite, was first discovered in Russia in 1831 during the reign of its namesake, Czar Alexander II, and is an extremely rare Chrysoberyl, with chameleon-like qualities.

Its color is a lovely green in both daylight and fluorescent light; it changes color to a purplish red in incandescent light.  Due to its rarity, some jewelers stock synthetic versions of this enchanting gemstone.  (Synthetic gemstones are man-made alternatives to the natural material, possessing the same physical, optical, and chemical properties as the natural gemstone.)

Here we have a video featuring a rare 6 carat Alexandrite ring from AG Gems:

A close-up of an Alexandrite Ring from AG Gems

A close-up of an Alexandrite Ring from AG Gems

MOONSTONE

The third birthstone for June is the Moonstone.  It was given its name by the Roman natural historian Pliny, who wrote that moonstone’s appearance altered with the phases of the moon — a belief that held until well after the sixteenth century.

A phenomenal gemstone, moonstones show a floating play of light (called adularescence) and sometimes show either a multirayed star or a cat’s eye. Considered a sacred stone in India, moonstones often are displayed on a background of yellow (a sacred color) and are believed to encapsulate within the stone a spirit whose purpose is to bring good fortune.

Part of the family of minerals called feldspar, moonstone occurs in many igneous and metamorphic rocks and comes in a variety of colors such as green, blue, peach, and champagne. The most prized moonstones are from Sri Lanka; India, Australia, the United States, Mayanmar, and Madagascar are also sources.

Moonstone

Moonstone

On behalf of everyone at the American Gem Society — we wish you a very happy June, full of joy and jewels!