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Pearls for June

People have coveted natural pearls as a symbols of wealth and status for thousands of years. A Chinese historian recorded the oldest written mention of natural pearls in 2206 BCE. The spherical shape of some pearls led many cultures to associate this gem with the moon. In ancient China, pearls were believed to guarantee protection from fire and fire-breathing dragons. In Europe, they symbolized modesty, chastity and purity.

Pearl colors vary by the type of mollusk it is formed in. Although white pearls are the most traditional, other colors are very popular. The main bodycolor of a pearl is often modified by additional colors called overtones, which are typically pink, green, purple or blue. Some pearls also show the iridescent phenomenon known as orient that adds to the overall color.

Alexandrite is a very rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl that changes color in different light sources. Discovered in 1830 by miners in the Ural Mountains of Russia, these red to green color changing stones resembled the colors of Imperial Russia’s national military. The find was named “alexandrite” after the Emperor Alexander II. its extraordinary ability to change color takes place when it is viewed under different lighting conditions. For this reason, the color-change phenomenon is called “the alexandrite effect.”

The most prized alexandrite’s show a vivid green to bluish green in daylight and fluorescent light, and an intense red to purplish red in incandescent light. They have medium to medium-dark tone and moderately strong saturation. This color change created the phrase, “emerald by day, ruby by night.” A change in hue is what makes this stone unique. Other examples of color change can be green to purple and yellowish green to purplish brown.

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