June: Alexandrite, Pearl, Moonstone
Alexandrite is what’s known as a “phenomenal” gemstone. This means that the gem displays certain
optical characteristics that allow it to have two different colors. Alexandrite is green in natural daylight, but
is reddish-purple in artificial light!
This rare and beautiful
stone was discovered in 1830 in Russia,
and was named after Czar Alexander II as a birthday gift for the young
boy. Russian mines in the Ural Mountains ran out of Alexandrite after twenty years
of production. Since then, Alexandrite
has been found in Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Brazil, and India. Each mine produces Alexandrite of slightly
varying colors and intensities.
Even with a few mines producing Alexandrite, this is an
extremely rare stone in the gem world. Due
to the rarity and expense of natural Alexandrite, most June birthstone jewelry
is made from synthetic materials. Many
jewelry stores do not carry natural Alexandrite items in stock, because there
is a very small demand for such a difficult-to-find and costly stone.
Pearls are an alternate birthstone for June. Ever since the Han Dynasty in China
(206 B.C. - 220 A.D.), people have been diving into the oceans for pearls. Today, seen as a classic symbol of
femininity, pearls are a wonderful gift for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries,
and other special occasions.
Pearls come in many
shapes, sizes and colors—too many to count, in fact! Natural pearls are grown within the soft
tissue in the mantle of a mollusk (specifically clams, mussels, and
oysters). A pearl starts to form when a
bit of sand or other small particle is lodged inside of the mollusk. The foreign object acts as an irritant, so
the mollusk secretes a hard substance called nacre to smooth it over.
This secretion happens many times and eventually forms a pearl. Natural pearls are generally perceived as
accidents, and therefore, are quite rare (and expensive). Therefore, the majority of pearls sold in
today’s market are called “Cultured” pearls.
These pearls are still grown in mollusks, but they are given a helping
hand by humans. Because of cultivation
for all types of pearls, there is certainly no shortage of pearls in the
Moonstone is yet another
birthstone option for June. These
iridescent, shimmering silver-blue stones are absolutely mesmerizing. Moonstones are from the feldspar family of minerals, which constitute two-thirds of the
rocks present on earth. Uncut, you would
never guess the potential beauty that lies within!
The moonstone is said to symbolize our being in its
entirety. They also stand for the true
joys of love, intuition, capacity for understanding, dreams, and
fertility. Some cultures view this as a
holy, magical stone.
Traditionally, the Moonstone is found in Sri
Lanka, but has also been found in the United States, Brazil,
Madagascar, Australia, and Myanmar. Moonstone itself is not rare, nor is it
particularly expensive. However, the
more intensely blue, large and transparent the Moonstone, the more rare and
expensive it is. Since this type is a
rarity, it’s more likely that you will find the opaque, silver kind.