Throughout their long and rich history, pearls have been associated with money and status, love and marriage, and purity and innocence. Ancient Egyptians were buried with them; medieval knights wore them into battle to protect them from harm; Greeks gave them to newlyweds to promote harmony. In the 13th and 14th centuries many European nations had laws dictating who could not wear them. (Legend has it rich Roman women wore pearls to bed so that when they awoke, they were instantly reminded of their wealth.) Thankfully, times have changed, and anyone can don June’s birthstone—the only organic gem valuable enough to earn a place on the classic list.