Pearls, the Birthstone for June, Gratify All the Senses

Pearls are the most sensuous, the most glorious, the most feminine of all gemstones. Other gems have to be fashioned in some way, but a pearl is perfect just as it is. They’re exquisite water-borne gifts of seas, lakes, and rivers.

ABOVE: Oyster with black pearl, Manihi, Tuamotu archipelago, French Polynesia (overseas territory of the French Republic). (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

The pearl is an appropriate birthstone choice for one of the most luscious months of the year. Breezes scented with flowers and damp soil. Morning skies delicately colored like pearls. The soft touch of blossoms like the skin of pearls. A pearl gratifies all the senses.

This freshwater pearl bracelet, “Nightlife II,” combining white and peach pearls of different shapes, shows just how varied pearls are. Accented with round white Akoya pearls, an oval peridot, an oval pink tourmaline, and a 14k yellow gold clasp. Photo by Matthew Arden, courtesy Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, Evanston, Illinois.

This freshwater pearl bracelet, “Nightlife II,” combining white and peach pearls of different shapes, shows just how varied the pearl can be. Accented with round white Akoyas, an oval peridot, an oval pink tourmaline, and a 14k yellow gold clasp. Photo by Matthew Arden, courtesy Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, Evanston, Illinois.

Pearls just glow. They’re not flashy, like faceted gemstones. They’re simply quietly commanding. In the white to cream-colored oceanic oyster pearl most of us are familiar with, there is a translucency, a sense that you can almost, but not quite, see into them. This is especially true of natural pearls, like the exceedingly rare gems that were found in the mollusks of the Indian Ocean. I’ve only been lucky enough to see these as tiny seed pearls in antique jewelry. And perhaps it was because of their tiny size, but they seemed to hold light inside of them, like the nacre surface was just a shell surrounding tiny candles.

How Do Pearls Sound?

The sound of a strand of pearls as they move or as you play with them, can be hypnotic. The soft, sibilant clicking as they touch each other. A delicate reminder of the preciousness of the ancient gemstones you’re wearing.

A strand of graduated, round cultured Tahitian chocolate pearls with 18 karat white gold, diamond-set clasp. Photo by Matthew Arden, courtesy Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, Evanston, Illinois.

A strand of graduated, round cultured Tahitian chocolate pearls with 18 karat white gold, diamond-set clasp. Photo by Matthew Arden, courtesy Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, Evanston, Illinois.

And play with them you will. The touch of pearls is truly like silk. Like warm soft skin. A pearl demands to be touched. Held. Fondled. A pearl strand is an elegant and erotic toy. Maybe that is why seduction can effectively involve pearls, teeth, and sultry looks.

As for taste: the strand of chocolate-colored Tahitian pearls from Eve J. Alfillé’s Gallery & Studio in Evanston, Illinois, look good enough to eat.

I have to admit that pearls do not have a scent. Unless, of course, you are the one to open the oyster and find the treasure.

Happy June.


Sharon Elaine Thompson is a GG and FGA who has been writing about gemstones and jewelry for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 1987. She also writes a line of birthstone romance novels under the name Liz Hartley.


Learn how to make more pearl jewelry with these resources!