Here we are halfway through the year and just past the longest day of the year, and the Summer Solstice. I have to say, I love June as it brings warmer weather to the Northern Hemisphere, along with the promise of those lazy, hazy days by the pool and the longer hours of daylight. Every season has its pluses, but summer always feels so special. Maybe because it reminds me of my childhood, running around bare footed, spending every waking hour outside playing with friends without a care in the world. So idyllic.
There is also something very special about the birthstone for June, the pearl. This is the only one of the birthstones that doesn’t come out of Mumma Earth and instead, is produced by a living organism (not that Mumma Earth isn’t alive, but you get what I mean), a mollusk. The pearl, just like all the other birthstones I have been writing about (check out my previous blog posts beginning with Amethyst), has many wonderful practical uses, as well as physical, emotional, and metaphysical healing properties. Read on to find out more!
What Are Pearls?
Pearls are made of calcium carbonate, which is the same material that makes up seashells. They are formed when an irritant, such as a grain of sand or a parasite, enters the mollusk’s shell. The mollusk then secretes layers of a substance called nacre, around the irritant. After many, many layers, a pearl is formed.
There are different types of pearls, including freshwater and saltwater, all created by the same process. There are natural pearls which as the name implies, are created naturally, and then there are cultured pearls, which involve human intervention. Cultured pearls are perhaps the most common type of pearl and are created when an irritant is surgically placed into the mollusk and allowed to form before being “harvested”. Pearls are the only gemstone that come out of their shells (so to speak) without having to be shaped or polished; the mollusk does all the work for us.
Pearls are found in a variety of colours, the most common being white, off-white and cream; however, they can also be found in brown, black, blue, and pink to name but a few.
Pearls have been used for centuries in jewelry, and at one time were associated with royalty and the wealthy. They have been used as adornment and decoration in necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, and heck, even tiaras and crowns (hello Imperial State Crown, a la Queen Elizabeth II, which includes four large pearls front and center). How many of us have memories of an old aunt, or grandma, wearing a string of pearls around her neck? I sure do.
Pearls have never truly gone out of fashion and in recent years, have lost their conservative image, becoming trendy and fashionable on both the runway and in everyday use. It is not unusual to find pearls embellishing items of clothing such as jeans, dresses, and jackets. Pearls are also sometimes used in cosmetics and skincare products because of their high calcium and mineral content, which help to rejuvenate and hydrate the skin.
From a physical healing perspective, pearls are said to be particularly beneficial for the digestive system, combating biliousness and bloating, among other things. As mentioned above, pearls are good for the skin and can also have a positive effect on the immune system. They are also said to aid with fertility issues and help ease pain during childbirth. Is it any wonder then that they are also connected with feminine sexuality and qualities.
Pearls have long been associated with purity, innocence, chastity, and femininity. They are said to be beneficial for emotional control and balance and can assist with reducing irritability. They are known to promote inner wisdom and can help calm the mind, reduce stress and anxiety, and enhance feelings of love and compassion.
Healers and Shamans have used pearls for healing in much the same way crystals can be used. Whether the pearl is worn in the form of jewelry, or placed on the body during energy work, they have a calming and centering effect on the physical, emotional and energy bodies. They are believed to enhance our intuition, creativity, and spiritual growth. They are also powerful tools for balancing the chakras and in particular, are associated with the base (1st chakra), heart (4th chakra) and the crown (7th chakra) chakras.
These wonderful and unique gems are not only beautiful to look at, but beautiful for the lesson they can teach us if we are open to learning. Our simple friend, the mollusk can teach us that what we once viewed as an irritant in our lives can be transformed through self-nurturing and self-care, into something beautiful and magical with patience, understanding and self-love.