Pearls are gemstones but not minerals as pearls are formed by living organisms, mollusks. A mollusk will form a pearl if there is a nucleus to start, sometimes an individual grain of sand. The mollusk will then corm layers of calcium carbonate around that sand grain sequentially over time. Actually, the mollusk does this because the grain is an irritant and this is the reaction to ease that irritant by adding a smooth coating around it.
The majority of pearls you find in the marketplace today are actually cultured in a pearl farm where people artificially induce creation of a pearl through insertion of an irritant into the mollusks shell. Most pearls come from southern China, Indonesia, Philippines, and Australia.
It is a timeless wardrobe staple, beloved by women of all ages. The origin of pearls fascinated our forebears. Ancients from the Middle East believed that pearls were teardrops fallen from heaven. The Chinese fancied that the June birthstone came from the brain of a dragon. Christopher Columbus and his contemporaries thought that mollusks formed pearls from dew drops.
Pearls have long been associated with purity, humility and innocence. So it may be said that the June birthstone meaning is “sweet simplicity.” As such, pearls were traditionally given as a wedding gift.
The pearl birthstone was also thought to have beneficial properties. In the ancient Sanskrit text the Atharvaveda, pearls were said to bestow long life and prosperity. In Asia, pearls were believed to help alleviate indigestion and hemorrhages. Some 19th century Arab physicians maintained that pearl powder improved eyesight, quieted nervous tremors and eased depression.