The Birthstones of May: Pearl, Alexandrite, and Moonstone
June is one of three months that has three birthstones! The month of June is known to have three birthstones, which are Pearl, Alexandrite, and Moonstone. Each of these gemstones together gives any person born in June a wide variety of options to choose from. However, one does claim the title of June’s traditional birthstone, and another takes the novel modern birthstone name. We’ll dive deep into all these gemstone’s histories and features, so take notes if you’re planning on buying birthstone jewelry for yourself, or a loved one born in June!
Why does June have three different birthstones?
Some months do have multiple birthstones, only three of them having three gemstones associated its month just like June, with the other months being August and December.
There are different types of birthstones: modern and traditional. Modern birthstones are usually the more common of the two types, which were officially named by the Jewelers of America in the 1950’s. Traditional birthstones are the gemstones that were more commonly associated with its respective month in the early 20th century and even beyond. To simply put, many of these traditional birthstones have become too rare and are not as available on the market in this day and age, and therefore some months have modern birthstones that differ from its traditional associations.
The Perfection of Pearls
Features of Pearls
The traditional birthstone of June is the Pearl. The English name of this gemstone “pearl” comes from the French word “perle,” which was originally derived from the Latin word “perna.” This Latin word means “leg,” which is referencing the shape of an open mollusk shell.
But did you also know that the scientific name for the pearl-bearing oysters is “Margaritiferidae,” which comes from “margarita,” which is the Old Persian word for pearl? If your name is Margaret, then this is where your name stems from!
The pearl gemstone comes from many body of waters globally, including oceans, lakes, and rivers. These organic gems grow from the inside the tissue of living creatures either in saltwater or freshwater. These creatures, known as mollusk, could either be an oyster or a mussel, and their pearls are formed from a substance called nacre that is secreted when an irritant, such as sand or a parasite, invades its shell.
Pearls are probably the most unique of all birthstones, as they are the only gemstones that are made a living organism.
There are also two general different types of pearls: natural and cultured. The process of human-cultured pearls is similar, except these pearls are grown on farms and are implanted with a piece of mantle tissue to induce the nacre secretion and eventually start the formation process. These cultured pearls account for many of the pearls that are on the market today, making natural pearls the rarest, and therefore, the most expensive.
As there are many different environments in which pearls can grow, there is a result of different pearl gemstones in various shapes, colors, and sizes! Pearls can come in colors such as white, silver, yellow, green, blue, brown, pink, purple, and black; because natural black pearls are so rare, these are mostly cultured.
The History and Symbolism of Pearls
Natural pearling can be found in the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, and freshwater cultured pearls are mostly from China. However, one of the most famous type of pearls is the Mikimoto Pearls, as Kokichi Mikimoto was the first to invent the technique of seeding an oyster with an irritant, and therefore, is the inventor of cultured pearls.
These beautiful gemstones are known to symbolize wisdom, integrity, purity, loyalty, and serenity. In ancient times, they were also associated with healing properties to promote serenity, protection, security, confidence, and enlightenment, which ties in very similarly to its current symbolism. Pearl gemstones were a sign of high status and wealth in ancient Rome, and were used as protective amulets by some knights during the crusades.
Maintaining and Caring for Your Pearls
Pearls have a hardness of 2.5 to 3.0 on the Mohs scale of hardness. To put this in perspective, quartz has a hardness of 7 – 7.5 and are present in the particles of dust seen floating in the air and settling on uncleaned objects in your home. These particles have the hardness that is able to remove the polish from your table and the finish from your car. Diamonds have a hardness of 10, which is the hardest gemstone, and the softest includes talc, which is a gemstone that even your fingernail can scratch.
These minerals can only be scratched by the hardness level above it, so pearls most definitely need special care and maintenance to keep it looking as pretty as possible. It is recommended to store pearls and pearl jewelry separately from your other jewelry to prevent scratches.
To learn more about the history and proper maintenance your pearls, visit our Ultimate Pearl Guide for more information!
Features of Alexandrites
The modern birthstone of June is Alexandrite.
This beautiful multi-colored gemstone is said to be named after Alexander II as it was discovered on his birthday in 1834, however, these gemstone deposits were first discovered in 1830 in Russia’s Ural Mountains.
The Alexandrite gemstone is the rare variety of mineral chrysoberyl, which changes colors in different lighting. The most desirable color for an alexandrite is of a gemstone that possesses a vivid green or blue during fluorescent light, and red to purple in incandescent lighting. These gemstones became popular in Russia as these intense colors of green and red were of the imperial Russian national army. Since these gemstones are quite rare, most alexandrite gemstones that are larger than a carat and have no inclusions are most likely synthetic or lab-grown.
Due to the scarcity of natural and large Alexandrites, these fine-quality gemstones are one of the most expensive colored gemstones on Earth.
This gemstone’s ability to change colors comes from its uncommon chemical composition having traces of chromium, which can also be found in the coloring of emeralds.
The History and Symbolism of Alexandrites
This astonishing gemstone can now be found in Brazel, Sri Lanka, and East Africa, as the original mines have been exhausted in the Ural Mountains.
Alexandrites symbolize luck, prosperity, joy, hope, purpose, and intellect. Being a unique gemstone, they also hold unique association, one being to the crown chakra, which leads to the association of having mystical powers that promote a strong sense of love of the universe, creativity, imagination, and intuition. On the physical ailments note, alexandrites are recommended for those who are recovering from prolonged illness, or are coming from surgery.
If you or someone you know was born in June, alexandrites are a wonderful alternative to pearls when it comes to purchasing June birthstone jewelry pieces as a gift! This gemstone is also associated to the 55th year of marriage, so if you’re looking forward to making this anniversary special, we recommend looking into this unique stone.
Maintaining and Caring for Your Alexandrites
Alexandrites have a hardness of about 8.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which is relatively hard and tough. Because of this, this gemstone is a good choice for jewelry worn on the daily.
Similar to diamonds, the care and maintenance of alexandrites is a bit easier compared to other gemstones, such as pearls, but is still crucial for those who own them. Understanding the tough property of alexandrites will help owners like you to understand how to properly clean and care for them to maintain its sparkle and brilliance. Make sure to clean your alexandrites on a regular basis, which includes warm water and soap, and a soft lint-free cloth to dry.
Features of Moonstones
The third birthstone of June is the Moonstone. This gemstone was named by the Roman natural historian Pliny, and was named after its likeness to the moon.
The stone is also known as Selenite, which comes from the Greek word “selene,” meaning moon.
The moonstone is classified as the best-known gem of the feldspar group of minerals, being a sodium potassium aluminum silicate. The special glow that this gemstone possesses comes from its adularescence, giving it a light that appears across the entire stone. Moonstones can be found in various places including the Unites States, India, Sri Lanka, Brazil, India, Madagascar, Myanmar, and Tanzania. This birthstone also comes in different shapes, sizes, and colors, including blue, green, pink, grey, white, and even rainbow!
The rarest type of moonstone is a fine moonstone of rainbow variety, which is quite rare and is becoming even rarer at this day.
The History and Symbolism of Moonstones
The history and symbolism of the moonstone all relate to the main property of its name, the moon.
Moonstones are the symbol of divine feminine energy, associated to the great power of the lunar cycle. This birthstone also represents good luck, intuition, inspiration, success, and good fortune. The power that moonstones possess is associated with the moon, evoking tranquility and can nourish and give passion to your stated feminine energies. As the property of tranquility and even calmness come from moonstones, they are often used for meditation purposes, and also is known as the lover’s stone to help restore the tranquility of love.
The moonstone is also the sacred stone of India, which was said to be embedded in the forehead of Ganesh, the four-handed god of the moon, since the beginning of time in earliest Indian traditions. In Ancient Roman times, the Romans believed that it was formed by moonlight and that this gem exhibited the image of the moon goddess, Diana. They also believed to protect those who traveled by night, and associated the name of “Travelers Stone” to this moonshine of a gem. Moonstones were also traditionally used as good luck charms and a cure to insomnia in Asian cultures; in Ancient Asia, it was also believed to contain a live spirit inside due to its moving light and glow.
Maintaining and Caring for Your Moonstones
Moonstones have a hardness of 6 – 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness and is known to have quite a poor toughness. It is sensitive to high heat and may crack, so it is recommended to just clean and care for your moonstone gemstone with warm water and soap, cleaning and drying with soft brushes and cloths. It is also popular to be set in pendants and brooches for longer durability in regards to daily wear, as rings or bracelets are more prone to damage.
Replacing Your Missing Pearl, Alexandrite, or Moonstone
Thinking about restoring a loved one’s sentimental birthstone piece? You’re in the right place to restore their precious memories.
Gemstones provide life to any piece of jewelry, yet have the highest potential to damage. Whether it be a loose, lost, or scratched-up Pearl, Alexandrite, or Moonstone, we take restoring the life of your treasures seriously. Any gem, any damage, we’ll make your jewelry sparkle as bright as the day you got it.
We have a team of specialists in place to properly source every type of gem needed for your treasured item. We understand your gemstones are unique and require specific attention. Our Professional Stone Sourcing team makes sure that all of your gems, even the ones that sometimes go unnoticed, are replaced by stones of the right caliber for your piece.
Visit our Gemstone Replacement Services page to learn more about servicing your Pearl, Alexandrite, or Moonstone.
The Ultimate Birthstone Guide
“If you were born in June, your month’s birthstones are Pearl, Alexandrite, and Moonstone.
If you didn’t already know, there are some months that have multiple birthstones, whereas some only have one. Traditional birthstones are gemstones that were most commonly associated with its respective month in the early 20th century and even beyond, with Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers associating these gemstones with the star signs. Those that are more commonly known in this day and age are the modern birthstones, which were officially named by the Jewelers of America in the 1950’s.
If you would like to learn more about birthstones in general, visit our Ultimate Birthstone Guide!“
Clean & Polish Services
“A basic clean, polish, and inspection is part of the routine care and maintenance needed to keep your jewelry looking like new. The inspection process includes looking for loose stones, bent prongs, and any damage to the metal or stones that need to be repaired.”
Stone Setting Repair
“A stone setting repair can be a simple re-tipping of a worn prong (which is considered routine care and maintenance) or the complete rebuilding/replacing of a damaged prong. In the case of severe damage, the entire head of the ring may need to be replaced.
Regardless of whether or not the prongs are compromised due to normal wear and tear or a result of accidental damage, we can provide the routine care and maintenance in order to ensure you do not lose a stone in your setting.”
Gemstone Replacement Services
“The process of a Gemstone Replacement is simple enough, yet requires trained eyes to be able to make a flawless switch. We aim to leave no trace of our work, which means not only will your setting be perfected, but the gemstone we choose will complete your jewelry piece effortlessly.”
- Pair of Loose Alexandrite Gemstones: https://commons.wikimedia.org/
- Loose Alexandrite Gemstone: https://commons.wikimedia.org/
- Alexandrite Ring: https://commons.wikimedia.org/
- Moonstone Ring: https://commons.wikimedia.org/
- Natural Blue Moonstone: https://commons.wikimedia.org/
- White Moonstone: https://www.flickr.com/
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