Were you born in May or June? If so, welcome to your part in the J.H. Young birthstone jewelry journey!
While many of us tend to obsess over our monthly horoscopes and zodiac signs, birthstones have always remained somewhat of a mystery. They aren’t just a symbol. They are a physical gem that contains stories dating back hundreds and even thousands of years.
Well today, we’re going to dive into those mysteries as we tell the stories of May and June’s birthstones while giving you some tips to not only finding these beautiful and unique gems but also purchasing them whether for yourself or a loved one.
May’s Birthstone: Emerald
Have you ever noticed the connection between the green colours of emerald that just so happen to be found throughout the month of May as the world reawakens? The variations of this rich green colour bonds itself to those same hues found in lush gardens making this birthstone the perfect pair for welcoming the spring season.
Where Emerald is Found
The main source for the world’s finest emeralds comes from Colombia which is why these are the emeralds that all others are measured against. Ranging in colours from dark, pure green emeralds to ones that are lighter in tone and even slightly bluish-green, they can be found throughout the various mines across the country.
Emerald mines can also be found in communities throughout Brazil, Pakistan, Afghanistan and even Africa by independent miners and small-scale operations.
History and Lore of Emerald
Commonly associated with royalty, (hey Cleopatra!), the green gemstone has been scientifically proven to help relieve stress and eye strain as the soft, green colour is known to be comforting.
It was also said that the emerald contains various magical powers including the ability to see into the future if you place the stone under your tongue. Just be cautious not to choke on the gemstone!
How to Buy Emerald
More vulnerable to scratch than a diamond, emerald gemstones are a 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness which is why this enchanted beauty is often treated to improve its colour or clarity.
It’s no secret that the most mesmerizing and desirable emeralds are those that are pure green with darker tones, but not too dark. That is why the colour of an emerald is the most important quality when choosing one.
When the colour is evenly distributed it makes for a highly transparent, and highly wanted, gemstone.
When we refer to clarity within an emerald, we’re referring to the inclusions found within the stone.
Consumers should understand and accept that many emeralds will have inclusions and that’s why emeralds that are eye-clean are so rare and valuable.
Due to its association with crystals, the emerald cut is one of the most popular shapes across all jewelry pieces.
Stones that are well-cut maximize the beauty of the colour while simultaneously minimizing any flaws.
Emerald Carat Weight
These gemstones come in a variety of sizes from tiny emeralds that weigh fractions of a carat to stones that weigh hundreds of carats that be found in museums and private collections.
As you can assume, the bigger the emerald size, the more expensive it is.
June’s Birthstone: Pearl
A timeless wardrobe staple that will forever be one our favourite birthstones is the pearl. Associated with purity, humility and innocence, this classic birthstone is a must-have for anyone born in the month of June.
Where Pearl is Found
The captivating June birthstone can only be found underwater from oceans, lakes and rivers. The further away from civilization the better for these beautiful pieces to truly take shape.
Pearls need the tissue of a living saltwater or freshwater mollusk in order to grow, such as an oyster or mussel.
Saltwater cultured pearl farms can be found all over the world including Japan, China, Australia, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines just to name a few. Natural pearls can be found along the Arabian Gulf, within the Red Sea.
History and Lore of Pearl
A classic gemstone, the pearl has been associated with being given as a traditional wedding gift. Beloved by women of all ages, the Chinese believed the June birthstone came from the brain of a dragon while Ancients from the Middle East believed pearls were teardrops fallen from heaven. We prefer to side with the Middle East on this one.
La Peregrina is one of the most famous natural pearls weighing 50.56 carat which is about the size of a pigeon’s egg. It was discovered in the Gulf of Panama in the 1500s and immediately become European royalty.
Now embedded in a Cartier necklace, the pearl was auctioned off in 2011 for $11.8 million!
How to Buy Pearl
With 7 factors to look for when purchasing this birthstone, it’s important to keep in mind that pearls come in a dazzling array of sizes, colours and shapes. Pearls fall between 2.5 and 3.0 on the Mohs scale of hardness making them a much softer gem.
Luster refers to the sharp, bright reflections that you can see on a pearl’s surface. The clearer the reflection, the higher luster the stone has making it more valuable.
Pearl Surface Quality
As with any gemstone, the number of blemishes on the pearl’s surface is used when determining the quality of the stone.
Pearls come in both spherical and symmetrical, teardrop shapes.
While spherical pearls are known to be more valuable, the teardrop shape is just as sought after.
The classic pearl colour is white, however, there are pearls out there that have more unusual, natural colours such as beige and brown.
Pearl Nacre Thickness
The nacre thickness of a pearl is evaluated to make sure that cultured pearls are not only beautiful but also durable.
Ranging in diameter from 2-16 mm, pearls come in a variety of sizes depending on the mollusk used to form the stone.
Many of us like to wear pearl earrings or we have a necklace that is made up of a strand of pearls. How well those pearls mix and match can greatly affect their value as a whole product.
Whether you’re a May or June baby, we hope you enjoyed these stories as much as we did and that these tips will help you pick out your next favourite J.H. Young jewelry piece.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or want to learn more about a specific birthstone, you can always consult with our staff at J.H. Young in Brantford. We’re happy to help with your birthstone jewelry journey.
Visit our store today to view our selection and get started.