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Pearl, Alexandrite, and Moonstone: The Rare Beauty of June's Birthstones

Only two months of the year are assigned three birthstones: December and June. The three birthstones of June are Pearl, Alexandrite, and Moonstone. But why does June have three birthstones? The main reason why some months have multiple birthstones is that various ancient stones have become too rare, so it is less likely for them to be available on the market and to satisfy consumer needs. Some attribute this to June's zodiac sign, Gemini, also known as 'The Twins.' But that doesn't explain why there are three birthstones. At best, it's a flimsy theory. Whatever the true origins of the triple birthstones are, it doesn't change that you have some lovely stones to choose from if you were born in June.

Knowing that your birth month represents three unique and beautiful gemstones is exciting, right?

Pearl: "Stone of Sincerity"

Pearls are the most well-known and traditional June birthstone. Unlike other gems, it does not require any actual mining, cutting, or polishing because it is formed inside a living organism rather than in sediment. Mollusks create pearls by depositing layers of calcium carbonate around microscopic irritants that become lodged in their shells, commonly thought to be a grain of sand. While any mollusk with a shell can develop a pearl, only two kinds of bivalve mollusks (or clams) use mother-of-pearl to create the highly prized "nacreous" pearls.

15KT Yellow Gold Pearl Bracelet. Photo Credit: IO Collective

Natural pearls made in the wild without human intervention are the rarest and most expensive pearls. Most pearls sold today are cultured or farmed by implanting a grafted piece of shell (and sometimes a round bead) into freshwater pearl mussels or pearl oysters. Pearls are incredibly soft, with Mohs hardness ratings ranging from 2.5 to 4.5. As a result, they are sensitive to high temperatures and acids. In fact, calcium carbonate is so acid-sensitive that genuine pearls will dissolve in vinegar.

June is one of the most popular months for weddings. In many cultures, pearls symbolize innocence and purity, which explains why it's traditional for brides to wear white pearls on their wedding day. Pearls are said to bring marital bliss and have been used to accent wedding gowns and bridal wear for hundreds of years.

Where Can You Find The Pearl?

Mollusks create pearls by covering a sand particle that enters their shell with a material known as nacre. Specialists implant a mother of pearl shell bead into a host mollusk to create cultured pearls on pearl farms. The mollusk, typically an oyster or a mussel, wraps the irritant with nacre, much like a natural pearl. Over-harvesting has devastated mollusk beds where natural pearls grow; thus, most of the pearls sold today are from pearl farms.

Many countries worldwide have pearl farms, including Japan, China, the Philippines, and Southeast Asia. Pearls are well-known for their white and off-white hues, but these elegant gemstones are also available in chocolate, black, blue, lavender, pink, and champagne.

Photo Credit: Puerto Princesa City Hall

Did you know that the world's largest known pearl, "Pearl of Puerto," was discovered in the Philippines? Despite being found in 1996, the pearl was not shared with the rest of the world until nearly a decade later. The Filipino fisherman who discovered the giant natural pearl kept it hidden under his bed for ten years as a good luck charm. In fact, the pearl weighs in at 34 kilograms or approximately 75 pounds. The pearl was only revealed when it was placed in the care of a relative, Aileen Cynthia Maggay-Amurao, a tourism officer in Puerto Princesa, Philippines.

The 75-pound pearl is currently exhibited at the City Hall in Puerto Princesa. For the record, a pearl weighing 75 pounds would be 170,000 carats.

In 2018, Sotheby’s auctioned a natural pearl pendant that once was owned by the French Queen Marie Antoinette for $32 million. Photo Credit: Michael Bowles/Getty Images.

Alexandrite: "Emerald by Day, Ruby by Night"

Alexandrite is a member of the chrysoberyl stone family, one of the rarest stones, and is the most expensive color-changing stone. Alexandrite can change from green to purplish-red depending on the time of day or the type of light it is exposed to. The stone is named after Alexander II of Russia, who happened to be born on the same day the gemstone was discovered. Alexandrite was found in an emerald mine in Russia's Ural Mountains on the prince's birthday in 1839.

It is currently found primarily in Sri Lanka, but it has also been discovered in Brazil, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Myanmar (Burma). Synthetic Alexandrite, which is lab-created has the same optical and physical properties as its naturally mined counterparts. They are grown with the same chemical ingredients under the same condition as natural mined at an accelerated rate resulting in that beautiful color shift properties that everyone loves.

The Mystical Powers of Alexandrite

Alexandrite is believed to bring balance in the interaction between the manifest physical world and the unmanifest spiritual or astral world. It opens the crown chakra, bringing one access to the universe's warm, healing energy and love. Alexandrite encourages romance and is also said to strengthen intuition, creativity, and imagination. The stone reminds us of our life's purpose and origin. It gives hope to those who are down on their luck. It gives them courage and constantly reminds them of the light. Its changing color reminds us that life is not always as it appears.

Alexandrite's Physical Attributes

Alexandrite's main property changes color when exposed to a light source rich in red rays. Pleochroism is the name given to this metamorphosis. The stone turns red or reddish when exposed to such light as candlelight or artificial light. This noticeable color shift is highly valued. The most valuable alexandrites are brilliant green and change to a fiery red when exposed to sunlight. As if you were watching a traffic light change color, the most dramatic color changes are the most desirable. Typically, there is color bleed-through from one color to the next, or there is too much impurity, to begin with, to allow for such a drastic color change. Therefore, alexandrites from Brazil are the most valuable because they change color completely. Because of this color shift, the stone has been dubbed "emerald by day, ruby by night." This color change also occurs in sapphire and tourmaline, but Alexandrite exhibits the most dramatic change.

America's Got Talent Judge, Heidi Klum in her Halo-Set Alexandrite Engagement Ring. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Moonstone: “Magic of Moonbeam”

The third and final June birthstone is Moonstone. It is an opalescent mineral in the feldspar family. As the name implies, Moonstone has a distinct sheen or shimmer that has captivated humanity for thousands of years. These stones are named after the bluish-white spots within them and project a silvery shade similar to moonlight when held up to the light. When moonstones are moved, their rays appear to bounce around, identical to how moonbeams catch bodies of water.

14KT Moonstone Ring. Photo Credit: IO Collective

A Glimpse of Moonstone's History

Since ancient civilizations, Moonstone has been used as a beautiful adornment and a powerful talisman. The Romans admired it because they thought it was made of moonbeams. Moonstone was associated with their lunar deities by both the Romans and the Greeks. Pliny, a Roman natural historian, coined the name Moonstone when he wrote that Moonstone's shimmery appearance changed with the moon's phases. This belief persisted until well after the 16th century. Designers used Moonstone in custom jewelry when Art Nouveau was popular between 1890 and 1910. In the latter half of the 19th century, it was also used in handcrafted silver items during the Arts and Crafts era. Moonstone remained popular with hippies in the 1960s and designers in the 1990s New Age movement.

Even though Moonstone is not naturally found in Florida or on the moon, Florida adopted it as its official state gemstone in 1970 to commemorate the Apollo 11 moon landing and other spaceflights launched from the state. As a result, Moonstone has been valued for centuries and is still widely available today. In parts of the world, such as Germany and Scandinavia, it is preferred over pearl and Alexandrite as the June birthstone.

Moonstone's Beaming Symbolization

Diana, the Roman goddess of the moon, was thought to be encased within this June birthstone, and thus anyone who wore the Moonstone would enjoy good health, victory, and wisdom. Moonstones are considered sacred in India. They are frequently displayed on a yellow cloth, also regarded as sacred. Moonstone is commonly associated with love, passion, and fertility, and it is also thought to bring good fortune due to the presence of a spirit within the stone.

First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the Democratic National Convention in Peach Moonstone and Diamond Earrings by Jewelry Designer Kimberly McDonald. Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Choosing a Pearl, Alexandrite, or Moonstone

The three gemstones we covered today are unmistakably beautiful and multifaceted. It can be tough to choose between pearl, alexandrite, and moonstone. Each of these three gemstones is unique and gorgeous in its own way. As a result, the decision will be based on personal desire and budget. Moonstone and pearls are far more reasonable than alexandrite in terms of price.

When it comes to personal preferences, though, everyone's tastes differ. One person may favor an opaque moonstone, but another may prefer black Tahitian pearls. Moonstone and alexandrite come in a range of colors and clarity. The higher the price, the deeper the colors and the clearer the stone. Pearls are available in nearly every color, making them highly versatile, but white is the most common.

The bottom line? These gemstones offer a wide array of luxury and beauty so that every individual can find one to suit their style and temperament.

Now you know all about the June birthstones, you can choose the one that best suits you or the person you're gifting them to – or you can go with both! Also, please contact us if you are interested in customizing your birthstone as jewelry.


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