Tuesday 15 June 2010

Pearls, the Gem for June

I’m Anne-Marie from byAMOR and I’d like to wish a Happy Birthday to all who were born in June! Let’s celebrate your birth gem, the classy pearl, also the gem for the sun signs of Cancer and Gemini.

Though one of the oldest known ‘gemstones’, pearls are not actually stones, but organic gems, formed by oysters or mussels. When a foreign object is introduced into the mollusc, it coats the irritant with a substance called ‘nacre’ to isolate it. Layer upon layer of nacre creates a pearl, possessing a warm glow not found in other gems.

Clodagh Molloy’s eye-catching designs show how contemporary the 'oldest gem' is.

With her cute pirate princess pendant, Spiral Goddess has captured the essence of mystery, and myth that has always surrounded the pearl.
Today, wild pearls are rare and expensive, so most on the market are cultured. Owning the same properties as wild pearls, it's hard to tell the difference with the naked eye. Though sometimes colour enhanced in bright shades, they naturally come in a variety of hues, depending on factors such as the type of mollusc, diet, environment etc.

Amazing babe of Palace Gems uses soft, silky colours for a truly feminine look.

This pretty butterfly necklace from Vivienne Walsh features the popular, baroque shape.

But pearls come in various shapes including rice or oval as in this simple beauty from knighttimedesigns....

.....and potato, pear or teardrop (sold item from own shop)

These elegant earrings from Blueserendipity are made with coin pearls. The shape is achieved by inserting a coin-shaped nucleus into the mollusc. In fact all these shapes are formed according to the shape of the original irritant.

Varieties of pearl include keishi and Biwa. Keishi Pearls occur accidentally, when the mollusc rejects the nucleus or implanted irritant and grows a 'free form' pearl. So you get funky irregular shapes.

This gorgeous design from Balanced features Biwa pearls, which are like elongated sticks. They earned their name from Lake Biwa, Japan, where these stick-shaped pearls were first harvested.

This article would be incomplete without mentioning Swarovski, who have developed a quality lab pearl formed around a crystal nucleus. I have my eye on these lovely, Swarovski pearl earrings from Aboxformytreasure.

Pearls are said to be lady-like. Traditionally, they symbolised purity, feminine wisdom and decorum. The ancient Greeks believed that they promote a happy marriage and keep new brides from tears.

They are still the most popular choice for modern wedding jewellery. Lilabelledesign’s romantic hairpins are fit for a princess bride!

Pearls are also given on the 1st and 30th wedding anniversary and in some places on the 3rd or 12th. I found oodles of gorgeous pearly jewellery and gifts made by members of the Crafty Ireland Team.

Fellow crafters, if you can’t afford to nab some pearl jewellery for yourself, these colourful pearly headpins from Nicedaysupplies might cheer you up!

And if it’s a different kind of PURL you are after, maybe some hand knit might be of interest?


  1. oops - seem to have lost a paragraph about the myth and lore around pearls, so I'll add a bit of it here: legend tells that pearls were the tears of the Gods falling into the sea. Isn't that cute?

  2. Brilliant article Anne-Marie, especially for those non-jewellers in the team. Never realised the variety of pearls out there. I do love the smoky colours. Thanks for sharing!

  3. As a non-jeweller I agree with Alex - so much I never knew.... Great article Anne-Marie. Thanks

  4. Great post Anne-Marie and thank you for including my pendant :)

  5. What a great post, so much information and so well put together, well done Anne-Marie Fab !!

  6. This is a wonderful article, Anne-Marie! Very informative and thoughtfully written.

    And thanks so much for featuring my bracelet here. :)

    Beautiful items, team!

  7. Glad you liked it. Pitty I accidentally lopped off a few sentences about myth and legend...here's another one - according to Chinese lore, pearls fell from the skies when dragons fought :-)

  8. Thank you for this very informative post and for including my earrings. I'm a June baby, so have a soft spot for pearls. Judith

  9. oh happy bday this month Judith.

    And I would like to thank Ruth Crean for endless patience in helping me upload this to the blog.

  10. Ahhh Pearls...They could be a girl's best friends, couldn't they? ;)