June Birthstone Meaning: The History & Symbolism of the Pearl

June Birthstone Meaning: The History & Symbolism of the Pearl

Feb 21, 2023

Like every other month, June has a special stone to symbolize the people born during this time of year. Unlike other months, however, the June birthstone is extra special because it’s not actually a rock! Instead, this month is symbolized by the pearl, a truly unique gem used in fine jewelry that’s created in the depths of the ocean by mollusks.

So how else do pearls stand out as June’s birthstone? Check out our overview of pearl symbolism and this June birthstone’s meaning to learn more!

How Are Pearls Made?

Instead of being mined from the earth, like other gemstones, pearls are made by mollusks. When a grain of sand or foreign material gets into their shell, they wrap it in layers of nacre to prevent it from irritating their body. The resulting pearl can range in size, shape, and color. You can shop natural pearls extracted by free divers or find cultured pearls purposely created by humans who tend to large mollusk farms.

There are many different types of pearls, including Akoya, Tahitian, and South Sea pearls, that come in a variety of shades that range from pure white and pale pink to deep grey and purple. You can find pearls in both salt and fresh water, including oceans, lakes, and rivers around the world. Because of their uniqueness and variety, it’s no surprise that pearl symbolism is also distinctive and unusual.

Pearl Birthstone Meaning

Pearls have long been a timeless and classic wardrobe staple — a beloved choice for women from ancient times to the modern world. Because of their intriguing origins, many cultures have myths and stories that explain where pearls come from and this June birthstone meaning.

In the Middle East, ancient cultures believed that pearls were tears that had fallen from heaven, while ancient Chinese cultures thought that pearls could only be found in the brains of dragons. Regardless of the stories from each culture, nearly all of them had the same symbolism. Pearl birthstone meanings include purity, innocence, and humility. Because of these beliefs, pearls were often given as wedding gifts.

Many cultures also believe in the healing power of the gem, which goes far beyond basic pearl symbolism. Hindus thought pearls bestowed longer life and prosperity. Asian cultures believe that pearls can help with all sorts of ailments, from basic indigestion to severe hemorrhages. Even educated physicians in the Ottoman empire attributed improved eyesight and anti-anxiety effects to consuming pearl powder. The symbolism of this gem was especially powerful during the Middle Ages when the powder was used to attempt to cure nearly every ailment.

Pearl History in Fashion

yellow gold pearl necklace

Many historians consider pearls the oldest usable gemstone known to man, as they don’t require any cutting or shaping. Pearls are always used in their natural shape for jewelry and adornment. The earliest reference to pearls comes from Homer’s poem, Iliad, where he described the goddess Juno’s jewelry — three pearl teardrops in each ear. There is also archeological evidence of pearls used in jewelry as far back as the 4th century BC — a triple-strand pearl necklace with 216 individual pearls found in the ruins of Susa in Iran.

There is evidence of pearls used in fashion for centuries all across the world, from India and the Far East to Europe, Greece, and Rome. Even Cleopatra had pearl jewelry, as described by Pliny, the Roman philosopher.

Men and women wore pearls during the Renaissance and through the Edwardian and Victorian eras. The pearl’s symbolism made it a powerful choice for those who wanted to associate the pearl birthstone's meanings with themselves.

Pearls Today

In modern times, pearls are just as popular as they always have been — worn by Southern belles, wild flappers, and modest housewives alike. A pearl necklace adds a modicum of decorum and classic appeal to every occasion. 

Even today, a set of pearl jewelry is considered a timeless choice that can be worn by women of every age. Whether it’s a pair of drop earrings or a chic bracelet, pearl symbolism and meaning are unconsciously at the forefront of everyone’s mind when they see these beautiful stones.

Pearls at Pompeii3

pearl and diamond stud earrings

At Pompeii3, we have a beautiful selection of pearl jewelry. In addition to standalone pieces that only utilize pearls and precious metals, we’ve also combined this gem with diamonds and other gemstones to create unique, modern designs. Explore rings, pendants, necklaces, and so much more when you browse our collection today!

Looking for other birthstone collections? We have gemstone jewelry for every month — from January garnets through December topaz. You might even find some of June’s alternate gemstones in our collection, including moonstone and alexandrite. Shop our entire store today to find the perfect pieces for you!