June isn’t satisfied with just a birthstone or two and has claimed three for herself. There were only two – pearl and moonstone – until 2016, when alexandrite became the birthstone for June 3rd.
Pearl has long been popular as a gemstone, although it is fundamentally different from most other crystal-based gemstones and semi-precious stones. Moonstone has been a part of gemstone use for millennia. The Romans believe that it was formed from solidified moon rays. In stark contrast, alexandrite was first mined less than 200 years ago.
What are the birthstones for June?
From left to right: pearl, alexandrite and moonstone
The birthstones for June are pearl, moonstone, and alexandrite.
The pearl is the most popular birthstone for those who work the month stone into jewelry. Alexandrite is the most popular birthstone to be placed in a ring.
Moonstone is not very popular, but those who love moonstone are usually very passionate about it.
Myths about pearl, moonstone and alexandrite
pearl has always been associated with calming the mind and body and healing stomach ailments. Japanese folklore says that pearls come from the tears of mermaids. Legend has them meanwhile as drops of dew that fell from the moon into the sea.
Moonstonecan bring magical and beautiful dreams, according to mythology. In other cultures it was used as a cure for insomnia and sleepwalking.
alexandriteWithout a long story like the others, there is no associated mythology of any kind. Ironically, due to its unique properties, it has been around much longer. Had it been discovered, it would likely have linked a whole range of magical powers to its legend.
June birthstone mining sites
A very rare natural pearl and diamond necklace from our collection
pearl is unique among gemstones as it is one Product of a living being. In theory, any mollusk can produce a pearl, but very few can produce examples of gem quality. Many pearls are now grown by stimulating the host mollusc to secrete the mother-of-pearl solution that is needed to build the pearl layers. These are cheaper than natural pearls and are called cultured pearls.
Moonstone occurs in a variety of locations around the world. These include the USA, Myanmar, the Austrian Alps and Armenia. Madagascar, the legendary island of gemstones, also has small deposits of moonstone.
alexandrite occurs in very few places compared to many semi-precious stones. Originally confused with emerald from a source in Russia, it has since been found in India, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka. Since then, it has been a very popular center stone for engagement rings.
How pearl, moonstone and alexandrite are made
It takes between 6 months and 2 years for natural pearls to form in the host mollusc. Cultured pearls have a core injected into the shell, which forces a reaction from the mollusc that coats the penetrating object with mother-of-pearl. This allows a pearl of suitable size and quality to be harvested much earlier.
Rare antique pearl tiara sold by Sotheby’s
Natural gem quality pearls are only found in 1 in 70,000 molluscs. This means that real natural pearls are incredibly rare. This also means that the price is usually way above other pearls, however good an example may be.
Click here to learn more about the difference between saltwater pearls and freshwater pearls.
Moonstone crystals form when two other minerals have mixed. The combination of two elements with different densities and physical properties gives the moonstone its unique light scattering properties.
Alexandrite requires a unique series of very precise actions before the crystals grow. If a single trace element is missing or added, it is a different type of crystal that does not show different colors in different lighting conditions, as is the case with alexandrite.
Physical characteristics of the birthstone in June
Pearls are quite fragile creations. according to gemstone standards. They measure just 2.5 to 4 on the Mohs hardness scale and take damage easily. This includes the mild acids in our sweat.
Cultured pearls form in the same way, but introducing a foreign object to form the pearl core promotes faster growth. This significantly shortens the time it takes to produce a finished bead.
Moonstone Crystals are formed from two types of mineral feldspar. When they combine and cool, they form a separate layer in the crystal stacks. It is light that falls between the layers and gives the moonstone its unique ethereal glow.
alexandrite is a type of chrysoberyl. Although the name includes beryl and is often an emerald-like color, the two are not related. Chrysoberyl crystals contain traces of aluminum. For it to be alexandrite, some aluminum ions have to be replaced with chromium. This causes the absorption of light in the yellow spectrum. Alexandrite appears green in daylight because our eyes are more sensitive to green light. In incandescent lamps, alexandrite appears red due to the small amount of green light that is present. It is this shift in light that makes alexandrite almost unique and is responsible for its great desirability.
June birthstones in jewelry
Rare pair of Art Deco Birthstone and Sapphire earrings from our collection
Pearl makes spectacular jewelry, of course. Natural pearls and their rarity mean that they are hard to find in the open market without paying a heavy price. If natural pearls are available, they are unlikely to be really round. The natural formation often means that they are slightly round. A … have natural pearl that is also round is one of life’s great privileges. Click on the article to learn more about natural pearls.
It is very rare to find a moonstone that is cut with facets like other semi-precious stones. Instead, it is polished as a cabochon when it is cut for use in jewelry. Cabochons are rounded instead of faceted. See the picture of the earrings above.
Alexandrite is very rare and is usually found in stones under 3 carats. Jewelry containing alexandrite is often requested from an owner of a stone. It is not common to see ready-made alexandrite jewelry for sale.
The three June birthstones require very different approaches to buying.
Pearls have a quality that, when seen at their best, is hard to beat. The problem is that many have suffered neglect, which makes it difficult to find high-ranking pearls.
When buying a pearl necklace, watch out for damage to the hole through which the silk cord is threaded. Also, watch out for wear and tear as the beads rubbed against each other on the string. It is the quality of the luster that determines the price of a pearl rather than its weight.
Rub natural or cultured pearls against your teeth if you want to feel the graininess. Imitation pearls and mother-of-pearl do not have this.
Moonstone should ideally be almost transparent and have a blue sheen. Other colors, from orange to green, are available at lower prices and are suitable for all budgets. Blue moonstones rarely occur above 15 carats, but white moonstones appear in individual gemstones weighing hundreds of carats. Each color has its own charm, so you should consider the setting.
If you can find it at all, alexandrite is likely more expensive than the equivalent diamond, ruby, emerald, or sapphire. Most of the stones are in the hands of collectors, and the few stones for sale are not available for long. If you are lucky, the degree of color change is the most important factor. The lighter the colors and the more dramatic the change, the better.
Care for your June Birthstone Jewelry
You should always wipe pearls with a damp cloth after wearing them to remove sweat or other substances that damage the outer layer of the mother-of-pearl. Wash moonstone and alexandrite with warm water and mild soap before drying with a clean, lint-free cloth.
Important NOTE: Pearls are very sensitive to even mild soaps. Clean only at room temperature
Learn more about the other birthstones
There is a fascinating birthstone (or birthstones) associated with each month. Click the links below to learn more about each month.