September feels like a month of new beginnings. That might be my former teacher life showing through…but now that my boys are Jr. High & High School (WHAT?!?!) I swear our schedules are jam-packed as the school year starts. September is definitely feeling like a big old “switch” in our lives and schedules. So here’s to new beginnings and a little bit of history on the gorgeous sapphire – the beautiful birthstone of this new month.
Sapphires have been adored for centuries, and prominent figures throughout history have worn them often. In the Middle Ages, bishops and other top members of the clergy wore sapphires, which they associated with Heaven. The British royal family has also worn sapphires frequently. One of the most famous sapphires in the world, St. Edward’s Sapphire, is set into the Imperial State Crown. And of course, Princess Diana’s ♥ engagement work, worn now by Duchess Catherine Middleton, features a sapphire surrounded by diamonds. You don’t have to be a queen or princess to wear sapphires, but they may just make you feel like royalty.
While sapphires come in a beautiful array of colors, blue sapphires range in color from a very light blue to a very dark navy, and some stones have hints of green or purple. The gemstones I use in handcrafting jewelry are a natural light blue shade, similar to a clear sky just as it starts to darken at dusk. If you’d like a darker, deeper stone, I also have dyed sapphires available. I think that both shades look absolutely beautiful when paired with pearls; the white complements the blue color perfectly.
If you or a special little girl in your life was born in September, you have a great excuse to wear sapphires. Even if September isn’t your birthstone, though, you don’t need an excuse. Sapphires are simply beautiful stones that always look lovely and elegant.
Aquamarine, the birthstone for March, has my favorite origin story. Legend says that the first aquamarine gemstone was found in the treasure chest of a beautiful mermaid. After just one look at an aquamarine stone, that’s no surprise; it seems to capture the essence of the sea. Depending on the stone’s color, it might remind you of the stormy Atlantic or breezy tropical waters. In fact, aquamarine has been associated with the ocean for centuries. Sailors carried them as lucky stones to protect them while at sea. Or maybe they were hoping they’d catch a glimpse of a mermaid who wanted her treasure back.
Aquamarine is known for being an even-toned stone with a vibrant shine. It’s one of the clearest gemstones, which means that it catches the light particularly well. It also has a strong hardness, which helps to prevent scratches. These qualities, combined with its beautiful color, have made aquamarine one of the most popular gemstones.
When I look at an aquamarine stone, it reminds me of tranquil Caribbean water with the sun shining through it. The natural gemstones I use have a lovely VERY pale, translucent color. This gives aquamarine jewelry a very subtle, pretty look. I love the way aquamarine looks with silver, and because it has an understated color, it also looks beautiful with colored pearls, such as pink or peach. For any little girl who loves the ocean or dreams of being a mermaid, a piece of aquamarine jewelry is sure to be a beloved gift.
They are given as gifts for all sorts of special occasions, from weddings and graduations to christenings and anniversaries. Ancient mythology holds that they are connected directly with the moon. Some have been found that are over 7,000 years old.
What are we talking about? Pearls, of course!
Today we recognize pearls as unique accessories that make the perfect complement to outfits for many occasions, from school days to wedding ceremonies. But pearls are much more than just beautiful jewelry. They have a long and interesting history that has developed in step with human culture. Throughout history, civilizations all over the world have added their own contributions to the legacy of the pearl, making it one of the most storied gemstones in the world.
A Brief History of Pearls
To truly understand the meaning behind the pearl, we must look into the history of this precious stone. Though researchers once believed that the oldest pearls came from Asia, in 2012 a pearl was found in the United Arab Emirates with an estimated date of origin between 5550 BC and 5200 BC. Archaeologists believe that this pearl is roughly 7,500 years old, making it the oldest ever found.
In the early days, before the advent of cultured pearls made the gem more common, natural pearls were rare and expensive. In Ancient Rome, pearls were a sign of upper-class nobility commonly worn by society’s elite. Legend has it that the gems were so expensive in the Roman Republic that the general Vitellius was able to finance an entire military campaign simply by selling one of his mother’s pearl earrings.
To prove to the Roman ruler Mark Antony that she could host the most lavish and expensive dinner in history, the pharaoh Cleopatra is said to have dissolved a pearl from her ear into a cup of vinegar, which she then drank in front of the astonished Roman leader.
During the Age of Discovery, explorers and trade companies found North America’s rivers ripe with natural pearls and quickly began exporting them back to Europe, where they became hugely popular with the aristocracy. In 1612, the Duke of the Saxon Kingdom of Germany enacted a law declaring that only members of the royal court had the right to wear pearls.
The Invention of Cultured Pearls
The world of pearls was changed forever at the beginning of the 20th century. Japanese pearl farmer Kokichi Mikimoto and his wife invented a method of making oysters produce pearls on demand by inserting a small piece of membrane into the shell. The oyster then secretes a nacre coating known as mother of pearl over the membrane, creating a pearl.
Two other men in Japan came up with methods of culturing pearls independently of Mikimoto: a government researcher by the name of Tokichi Nishikawa and a carpenter named Tatsuhei Mise. During the early 1900s, each of these three men received patents for their methods of culturing pearls.
These developments in pearl culturing techniques made pearls much more available to the mainstream. Thanks to the efforts of these men, pearls today can be found in a variety of styles and colors.
Savvy pearl buyers understand that the cultural importance of a set of pearls depends on many things, including its color.
Pearl Colors and their Meanings
Pearls can come in dozens of different colors, but some of the more popular varieties are:
White: probably the most common pearl color, a white pearl signifies innocence and purity. They also indicate a new beginning, which is why they are worn by brides or given as a gift to newborns.
Pink: this pearl color symbolizes love, passion and romance. Pink is a popular color for pearls given to a spouse or romantic partner.
Blue: blue pearls represent dedication. These pearls are considered a symbol of eternity and longevity.
Black: black pearls are extremely rare. They are said to bring good luck and protection from evil forces.
Like the people who wear them, each pearl is different: in fact, the Latin word for pearl is literally translated as “unique.” Choosing a pearl for a special someone can be challenging, which is why I’d love to help you choose a pearl that perfectly conveys your feelings about a mother, daughter, sister, or your beautiful bride!
About Little Girl’s Pearls
I have been helping people choose quality freshwater pearls for themselves and their loved ones for over twelve years. My passion for pearls comes not just from their elegant sheen, but from their significance to the wearer. Our pearls are precious keepsakes that are tied to some of the most treasured memories in a woman’s life.
Everyone who wears a pearl has a small part of cultural history with them, but they also have a precious stone that is significant in a very special and unique way. I love helping new brides, mothers of newborns, and spouses with their efforts to choose the perfect pearl, one that will help remind them of their special bond for the rest of time.
Whether you’re giving them as a gift or plan on wearing them yourself, I hope you’ll let me help you add your own personal chapter to the story of pearls and their meaning!
You lucky duckies, your birthstones are classic pearls and gorgeous moonstones! What a beautiful combination.
I can’t help but love June—that magical time of year simply bursting at the seams with weddings, anniversaries and graduations. Why not make an impression as dazzling as the summer sunshine with this month’s official birthstone: the simple, chic and always classy pearl!
It makes perfect sense the especially social-centric month of June is associated with the pearl. As Jackie Kennedy, former First Lady and legendary fashonista icon, so eloquently put: “Pearls are always appropriate.” Needless to say, I wholeheartedly agree with Jackie! And thanks to a recent resurgence of popularity in mainstream fashion, thanks to stars such as Coco Chanel to Sarah Jessica Parker, they continue to remain fashionable, elegant and unique keepsakes cherished by runway models and casual dressers alike. Throughout history, pearls have been associated with love, innocence and purity, making them an ideal gift to symbolize a “new beginning” in life such as a birth, romance, anniversary, wedding or graduation. No other gem conveys the promise, depth and gravitas of eternal love in the subtle, yet elegant way that a pearl does.
Pearls are distinctly versatile. Their multitude of colors, sizes and styles make pearls adaptable to any occasion—both as a gift and as an accessory. From the romantic nuances of the pink pearl immaculately expressing the everlasting passion and ultimate commitment to your significant other on an anniversary or engagement, to the bold, extremely rare black pearl long believed to bring good luck and protection from evil that makes it a superb gift for new grads facing the challenges of adult life—I can assist you in creating the impeccable ensemble for your unique occasion.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all pearls are the same! Little Girl’s Pearls has over a decade of experience creating personalized and unique gifts that will be cherished by you and your loved ones for years to come. I love helping you choose the perfect gem—whether you’re looking for the perfect gift to memorialize that special person’s important life event with a thoughtful, lasting keepsake. From brides and flower girls to new mothers and grandmothers to recent grads (the possibilities are endless!), or you’re searching for just the right accessory to accentuate your outfit, be it a classic “Southern Belle” look or an elegant appearance that would look right at home on the red carpet, you really can’t go wrong with pearls!