June gets the unique honor of having not one, not two, but THREE birthstones!
June is one of those months that has three birthstones associated with it, giving the lucky people born in June a choice of gemstones between pearl, alexandrite, and moonstone.
June’s birthstones range from creamy-colored opalescent pearl and moonstone to the rare color-changing alexandrite. Pearls are thought of as the primary birthstone for the month. On the other hand, moonstone and alexandrite are considered alternative June gemstones.
We say all of them are beautiful in their own way. They also offer their own symbolic meaning.
Pearls and moonstones have a long history linked to them, while alexandrite is a more recently discovered gem. In fact, it has begun to get more attention in the past couple of decades.
With this spectrum of price points and color options, people with June birthdays can choose a beautiful gemstone to fit any mood or budget. All three are remarkable gemstones with their distinct histories, colors, shapes, and meanings.
Let us have a closer look at these together.
Pearls: the stunning variety
Pearls, undoubtedly one of the earth’s most unique stones, are the only gemstones to come from a living creature. These include mollusks such as oysters, and also, clams that come from specific oceans and rivers located in different parts of the world.
Mollusks produce pearls by depositing layers of calcium carbonate around microscopic irritants that get lodged in their shells—usually not a grain of sand, as commonly believed.
There are four pearl types: Freshwater, Akoya, Handama, Tahitian, and South Sea. Each features distinct characteristics that vary in the qualities and also, in size and value.
Additionally, they all come from different geographic locations.
Found in lakes and rivers in China, Freshwater pearls are one of the most popular types of pearls. From white to pink, cream, and lavender, Freshwater pearls come in a wide variety of stunning colors.
Japanese Akoya pearls were one of the first types of pearls to get cultivated. Not only do they feature perfectly spherical shapes, but also very high luster. A white Akoya pearl necklace is considered one of the most classic and timeless pieces of jewelry that money can buy.
Despite their name, Tahitian pearls don’t only come from Tahiti. Instead, you can find them on the coast of many islands that make up French Polynesia. These pearls are unlike any other. Most notable is their irresistible black hue, while others include a peacock green, silver blue, and eggplant.
There are two variations of South Sea pearls: white and golden. White South Sea pearls are found on the coast of Australia. Meanwhile, Golden South Sea pearls come from the Philippines. Both feature pearls that are larger than any of the other types. They’re perfect for someone looking for a set of bold, lavish pearls.
Out of the five pearl types, freshwater pearls are arguably the most popular today, primarily because of their affordability. People also love that they’re available in a variety of incredible colors, which each offer something different stylistically.
For example, white pearls feature a traditional and elegant appeal, pink pearls have a feminine and chic aesthetic, while multi-colored pearls offer a unique and modern look. By layering different colored freshwater pearl jewelry, you can always create a dazzling look that can add style and sophistication to any outfit.
The fragile beauty
The pearl is unique among gems because it does not require any cutting or polishing after harvesting. It is also created by a living organism, not extracted from the lifeless rock. Perhaps that is why the pearl is imbued with the qualities of health, longevity, purity, and beauty.
Pearls have long been associated with honesty, humility, calmness, and innocence. So it may be said that the June birthstone meaning is "sweet simplicity."
The finest pearls have a reflective luster, making them appear creamy white with an iridescent sheen that casts many colorful hues.
While color and shape are both important qualities of a pearl, many would say that a pearl’s luster is its defining characteristic. This luster comes from the quality of the nacre that a mollusk uses to create the pearl. The luster is the reason why the gemstone reflects the light in such a way as though if it’s glowing from the inside.
Pearls are very soft, ranging between 2.5 and 4.5 on the Moh’s scale. They are sensitive to extreme heat and acidity; in fact, calcium carbonate is so susceptible to acid that pearls will dissolve in vinegar.
Cultured pearls are especially vulnerable. Experts say that, when getting dressed, your cultured pearls should be the last item you put on and the first item you take off. Makeup, hair spray, perfume and other chemicals are very harmful to cultured pearls. Also, ultrasonic cleaners, which are great for cleaning some jewelry, is not recommended for pearls.
Considered a classic in the jewelry world, pearls are an elegant and timeless natural wonder. A pearl possesses a unique iridescent quality unlike any other stone or gem.
The magic of alexandrite
Unlike pearls, with an origin dating back to 520 B.C., the second June birthstone, alexandrite was discovered in Russian emerald mines in more modern times – around 1830s.
The history of alexandrite is quite controversial. It is said that the stone was named after the Russian tsar, Alexander II, even though it was actually discovered by a Finnish mineralist Nils Gustaf Nordenskiöld.
When Nordenskiöld first detected alexandrite in 1834, it was initially thought to be an emerald, because he found it in emerald mines located in Russia's Ural region.
Legends claim that the discovery of alexandrite was made on the very day the future tsar of Russia became of age. Inevitably, the red and green color change stone was to be declared the official gemstone of Imperial Russia's Tsardom.
The original source for alexandrite was in the Urals mountains of Russia, but these mines have long been depleted. For quite some time, those worked out mines were thought to have been the only source for large alexandrite stones, specifically specimens weighing 5 carats or more.
But very recently, in 1987, large specimens were discovered in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Other sources for alexandrite today include Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Tanzania, India (Andhra Pradesh) and Madagascar.
Alexandrite has always been extremely valuable because it has the unique ability to change colors depending on the light source. For instance, during the day, alexandrite can take on a green hue. In incandescent light, it can change to a purplish red. It can also display emerald green, red, orange and yellow colors depending on which angle the stone is viewed from.
This chameleon-like behavior is the result of its uncommon chemical composition—which includes traces of chromium, the same coloring agent found in emerald. The unlikelihood of these elements combining under the right conditions makes alexandrite one of the rarest, costliest gemstones.
Alexandrite is actually the rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl that changes color in different lighting. Most prized are those alexandrite birthstones that show a vivid green to bluish-green in daylight or fluorescent light, and an intense red to purplish red in incandescent light.
With a hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs scale, alexandrite is softer than sapphire and harder than garnet—the other gemstones that can change color. However, due to its scarcity, alexandrite is more valuable than most gemstones, even rubies and diamonds.
Associated with concentration and learning, alexandrite is believed to strengthen intuition, aid creativity and inspire imagination—bringing good omens to anyone who wears it.
Alexandrite is thought to bring harmony and good fortune to the wearer. It is also perceived to have the power to influence positivity and good, particularly when it comes to one's health.
When certain types of long, thin inclusions are oriented parallel to each other in this June birthstone, they can create another phenomenon, called chatoyancy or the cat’s-eye effect. Few gems are as fascinating – or as stunning – as cat’s-eye alexandrite.
The charming moonstone
June’s third birthstone, the moonstone, belongs to the large mineral family of feldspars. It is an opalescent stone which can range from colorless to blue, peach, green, pink, yellow, brown or gray with a silvery sheen. Clarity ranges from transparent to translucent.
Moonstone was used in jewelry as early as by the ancient Romans, who believed that the stone was formed from the light of the moon. In India nowadays, moonstone is considered a sacred stone. Hindu mythology claims that it is made of solidified moonbeams. Indians believe it to bring good fortune, to enhance passion, and balance the yin and yang, and is said to protect women and children.
This mysteriously-looking gem is found in Brazil, Germany, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and the United States. Indian gemstones are brown, green or orange in color, and are generally more affordable than the blue shimmery ones.
Moonstone is actually composed of thin layers of feldspar, which scatters light to produce the strangely beautiful and wonderful effect of light flowing through the stone, comparable to the moonlight shining upon a body of water.
In addition to promoting peaceful sleep and dreaming at night, the calming and balancing energies of the moonstone are also tied to natural biological rhythms, making it a fitting crystal for nurturing love and rekindling old passions.
Great designers of the Art Nouveau era (1890s–1910s), such as René Lalique and Louis Comfort Tiffany, featured moonstone in their fine jewelry. The moonstone birthstone came to the forefront again during the 1960s “flower child” movement and with New Age designers of the 1990s.
To honor its celestial ties to the moon, Florida adopted moonstone in 1970 as its official state gem to commemorate the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Moonstone is a 6–6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness and has poor toughness. It may crack when exposed to high heat. Therefore, ultrasonic and steam cleaners should not be used on your moonstone. The best option for cleaning is warm, soapy water with a soft brush.
If you have a June birthday, enjoy your very different choices in birthstones. You can also explore our collection to find out the one that appeals to you the most. And…we wish you a happy birthday and many returnings of the day!