When I think of June, I think of the song, “By the Light of the Silvery Moon”, which is appropriate for a month that has both moonstone and pearl as its birthstones. Both stones have a long history of being associated with the moon and all of its mystical beauty. Both also make stunning jewelry, especially with silver, which is also associated with the moon. (Hmm, I see a theme…)
Moonstone has been used for jewelry for thousands of years, going back to Roman times and even farther in Asia. In India, moonstone was a traditional wedding gift, believed to bring harmony to a marriage. In more recent times, moonstone was a popular choice for Art Nouveau jewelry- have a look online or through books to see some stunning examples.
Moonstone is a stone for the crown chakra. It is believed that holding a moonstone in the mouth during the full moon will reveal one’s future. Moonstones can also help men get in touch with their feminine side, encouraging wholeness. Above all, it is the stone of the Goddess, a channel through which women can connect to their own power and psychic abilities. It is a stone of inner journeys and is very useful to meditate with to discover the lost parts of ourselves that we need to re-integrate into our souls.
Down to the nitty-gritty: moonstone is an orthoclase feldspar with a hardness of 6-6.5 on the Mohs scale. It comes in a variety of colours: white, peach, gray and of course, rainbow. All are beautiful choices, with rainbow being the most popular. The term for the play of colour is schiller and when you are choosing or setting a moonstone, pay careful attention to the direction of the schiller, so it can be shown off to the best advantage. The internal layers that produce this effect can make moonstones prone to cracking, so do be careful when setting them. Earrings and necklaces are the safest bet for these stones as they don’t seem to get banged up as much. However, don’t let that stop you from making a fabulous ring or bracelet. Moonstones are still fairly robust and as a bonus are reasonably priced. That means that you can make a lot of beautiful jewelry without paying a fortune!
Pearls have also long been associated with the Goddess in all Her forms in many ancient mythologies, including Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Indian. They have been used to promote fertility,( pearl growing inside an oyster-do I need to spell it out?), and to attract money. At one point, it was believed that pearls were created when oysters swallowed raindrops. In ancient China, it was thought that pearls rained from the sky when dragons fought. They have certainly inspired their fair share of myths and are a favourite of many jewellery makers and wearers today. A classic strand of pearls can be worn with anything from an LBD to jeans and look great no matter what.
Pearls are created by oysters (and other shellfish such as mussels and even snails) when an irritant such as a grain of sand gets into a sensitive spot. The oyster secretes a substance called nacre in layers around the the irritant to make it smooth and much less irritating. (Wish I could do that with some people I know. I would have a LOT of pearls!) The end result is a beautiful shimmering pearl. Most pearls today are cultured, meaning that something is deliberately inserted into the oyster by humans, who harvest the pearls at a later date. Natural pearls are very rare and expensive due to the over fishing of oyster beds in the past, but the cultivated ones are very affordable. Pearls are only 2.5-3 on the Mohs scale and must be handled with care. The layers of nacre can wear down over time with constant wearing and can be damaged by substances such as perfume and hairspray.
Why not try a different approach to pearls by setting them in watercast silver pieces? These have a wonderfully organic look, as if they actually did develop from raindrops. Each piece is so unique and beautiful and the pearls are well-protected in their lovely silver cups. You can join several together for a pendant or pin, (put the pearls in after!) or leave them single for a perfect pair of earrings to wear with anything.
Check out our Watercast Class HERE and consider making your own beautiful Pendant or Earrings with Pearls. We offer this class every few months, so if this one is full, please check back for the next one – Thanks!!
So whether you wear moonstones, pearls or both, I’ll meet you under the full moon this month to dance in the moonlight!