September 08, 2023

With multiple birthstone options, those born in June are fortunate to have beautiful gem choices. The three traditional June birthstones span the spectrum from organic pearl, to the mysterious glow of moonstone, to rare color-changing alexandrite. Each gem has its own rich history and styling versatility to embrace.

Pearl: The Organic June Birthstone

Of June's three birthstones, pearl is the classic. Understated yet elegant, pearls gracefully complement any style.

What are Pearls?

Pearls are unique as the only gems grown organically inside a living creature – an oyster or mussel mollusk. They originate in saltwater and freshwater sources.

Natural pearls form when an irritant like a parasite or sand grain gets lodged inside the mollusk's shell. To ease irritation and isolate the foreign object, the mollusk secretes shiny, translucent layers of a mineral called nacre around the irritant. Over years, these layers build up to become a lustrous pearl.

Cultured pearls undergo a similar process, but with human intervention. Technicians surgically implant beads or bits of mantle tissue inside farmed mollusks to intentionally start pearl growth. China dominates freshwater cultured pearl production, while Japan and Australia lead in saltwater pearls.

Pearl History & Lore

The luminous beauty of pearls has fascinated humans for millennia. In ancient Vedic texts, pearls were said to bring enlightenment. Chinese legends told of pearls originating from the brains of dragons.

During medieval Europe, knights wore pearls as a symbol of honor and purity. Royals coveted them as status symbols; Queen Elizabeth I had a famous pearl collection.

Pearls became a traditional gift for royal weddings due to their association with purity. They remain the modern June birthstone, as well as the gem for 1st and 3rd wedding anniversaries.

Where are Pearls Found?

Saltwater Akoya Pearls: China, Japan

Saltwater South Sea Pearls: Australia, Philippines, Indonesia

Saltwater Tahitian Pearls: French Polynesia

Freshwater Pearls: China, United States

Japan pioneered cultured pearl farming and still produces top-quality akoya pearls with white and pinkish hues. Lustrous white and golden South Sea pearls come from Australia and Southeast Asia. Tahiti provides exotic black pearls. China dominates global freshwater pearl production.

Pearl Buying Tips

  • Seek thick nacre for durability and luster. Test by rubbing pearls against each other or your teeth. The grittier they feel, the thinner the nacre.
  • Look for clean surface luster without spots or dull areas.
  • Evaluate pearl shape, from round and symmetrical to exotic baroques.
  • Judge color. White, black, and rose are most valued. But personal preference rules.
  • Larger sizes (9mm+) are rare in akoya pearls. South Seas can reach 20mm.
  • Freshwater and Tahitian pearls offer exotic colors like purple, green and peacock.
  • Ask about pearl treatment like bleaching or dyeing to enhance color.

Caring for Pearl Jewelry

With a soft hardness of 2.5-3, pearls require gentle care:

  • Store them separately from other gems and metals to avoid scratches.
  • Avoid chemicals, perfumes, and heat which can damage pearl nacre.
  • Clean using a soft damp cloth to simply wipe them down.
  • Re-knot pearl strands annually to ensure secure stringing, since silk threads can fray.
  • Have pearls checked each year by a jeweler to make sure settings remain prong tight.

Styling Pearls: The Organic June Birthstone

From timeless classics to on-trend interpretations, pearls offer ageless versatility:

Classic Looks

  • Strand necklaces and bracelets showcasing lustrous spheres
  • Diamond and pearl earrings, rings, and pendants
  • Tahitian or South Sea pearl studs
  • Multi-strand chokers mixing white and golden hues
  • Vintage brooches framing bouquet-like pearl clusters

Modern Twists

  • Rose gold vine drop earrings with contrasting baroque freshwater pearls
  • South Sea or Tahitian pearls in bold cocktail rings
  • Mismatched earrings pairing assorted pearl shapes
  • Delicate anklets with petite freshwater pearls
  • Bracelets mixing pearl shapes, sizes, and colors

Styling Tips

  • Pair pearls with romantic lace, vintage fabrics, jeans, or business attire
  • Combine pearls with sterling silver, platinum, gold, and gemstones
  • Add organic contrast by mixing pearls with carved jade or rough diamonds
  • Embrace baroque and keshi pearls for a modern freeform aesthetic

Subtle yet sophisticated, pearls offer timeless beauty to embrace June's traditional birthstone.

Moonstone: The Adularescent June Birthstone

Mysterious moonstone emanates an otherworldly glow unlike any other gem. Its dreamy, ethereal quality beautifully captures the flower child spirit.

What is Moonstone?

Moonstone belongs to the mineral family feldspar. It exhibits a phenomenon called adularescence, which makes it appear illuminated from within.

Light entering moonstone reflects and scatters off interior crystal layers, creating a billowy, moonlit sheen that shifts with the viewing angle. The most valued are transparent moonstones with blue adularescence.

Deposits contain layers with different adhesive qualities. Skilled cutters orient and carve moonstone to accentuate the optical phenomenon. Cabochons or convex faceting maximize adularescence's visibility.

Rainbow moonstone is a popular transparent variety displaying a spectrum of iridescent colors, without a bluish cast.

Moonstone History & Legend

In ancient Rome and Greece, moonstone was beloved for its association with lunar gods and goddesses. According to Hindu lore, moonstone was made of solidified moonbeams.

The mystical June birthstone was popular during the Art Nouveau era around the turn of the 20th century. Moonstone enjoyed renewed attention during the New Age and flower child trends of the 1960s and '70s.

Throughout history, moonstone has been connected to passion, fertility, and great luck in love. It remains a quintessential bohemian crystal, believed to attune one to their emotional needs.

Where is Moonstone Found?

  • Sri Lanka: Known for blue sheen stones
  • India: Major producer of rainbow moonstone
  • Brazil: Key source for adularescent material
  • United States: Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina
  • Tanzania: New supplier of natural blue moonstones

Other sources include Australia, Myanmar, Madagascar, and parts of Asia. Different areas are prized for certain moonstone varieties.

Moonstone Buying Tips

  • Seek transparent cabochons and rounds to best display adularescence
  • Bluish body color enhances the blue sheen
  • Judge clarity: visible inclusions detract from moonstone's delicacy
  • Cut quality affects adularescent light reflection
  • Well-saturated rainbow moonstone will show stronger iridescence
  • Buy the moonstone variety and colors calling to you

Caring for Moonstone Jewelry

With a hardness of 6-6.5 and poor toughness, moonstone requires gentle care:

  • Store moonstone separately from other gems to prevent scratches
  • Avoid exposure to high heat which can cause cracking
  • Ultrasonic or steam cleaners are not recommended
  • Clean using a soft brush with warm soapy water only

Styling the Adularescent June Birthstone Moonstone

Dreamy moonstone is perfect for bohemian and nature-inspired looks:

  • Oval or marquise moonstone pendants showcasing blue glow
  • Vintage-style rings with carved moonstone moons and stars
  • Wrap moonstone cabochons wire-wrapped in sterling silver
  • Rainbow moonstone slices in bold cocktail rings
  • Adularescent stud earrings surrounded by small diamonds
  • Dramatic cuff bracelets pairing blue moonstone with yellow sapphires
  • Layer rainbow moonstone beads between gold rondelle spacers
  • Accent with natural textures like leather, linen, wood, or lace

Embrace the magical glow of moonstone to celebrate June's most mystical birthstone.

Alexandrite: The Rare Color Change June Birthstone

Alexandrite brings awe-inspiring drama as June's rarest and most valuable birthstone. Its chameleon-like color change makes alexandrite uniquely captivating.

What is Alexandrite?

Alexandrite belongs to the mineral family chrysoberyl. It displays an exceptional color change from green in daylight to red under incandescent light. The more intense the change, the higher its value.

Small amounts of chromium cause alexandrite's color change. Chromium absorbs yellow and blue light. So the stone looks green under cooler light but turns red under warmer, yellowish light.

With a hardness of 8.5, the durable June birthstone is ideal for jewelry. The finest alexandrites are transparent with vivid green and red hues.

Cat's eye alexandrite exhibits an optical effect called chatoyancy. Parallel inclusions reflect light like a thin band of white light across the stone.

Alexandrite History & Lore

Alexandrite was discovered in Russia's Ural Mountains in the 1830s. The vibrant new gem's green and red colors matched the Russian imperial military colors. It was named after the future Russian Czar Alexander II.

For centuries, Russian alexandrite was considered the finest due to its sharp color change. Russia's supply is now depleted, making fine alexandrite extremely rare and valuable.

The metaphysical properties of alexandrite symbolize hope, vitality, and regeneration. The dramatic color change evokes magic and creativity.

Where is Alexandrite Found?

Historic Russian deposits are exhausted, so today alexandrite mainly comes from:

  • Brazil: Most production, but lighter colors
  • Sri Lanka: Smaller stones, more affordable
  • East Africa: Tanzania, Malawi, and Madagascar
  • India: Fine alexandrites in small sizes
  • Myanmar: Small quantities of Russian-quality gems
  • Southern Hemisphere sources tend to produce alexandrite with a more blueish green hue. But with few commercial deposits, any source can yield fine alexandrite.

Alexandrite Buying Tips

  • Vivid bluish green to red color change commands highest value
  • Prefer stones under one carat – larger stones often lack vivid change
  • Judge the change under both light sources, not just daylight
  • Minor inclusions expected, but avoid visible flaws in small sizes
  • Cat's eye effect is intriguing but very rare, be wary of treatment
  • Synthetic alexandrite offers color change at more affordable prices

Caring for Alexandrite Jewelry

  • Hardness of 8.5 makes alexandrite suitable for all jewelry types
  • Use warm soapy water with soft brush to safely clean
  • Can withstand steam cleaning and ultrasonic treatment
  • Annually inspect settings to ensure they remain secure

Styling the Color Change June Birthstone Alexandrite

Alexandrite steals the show in modern to vintage-inspired designs:

Modern Looks

  • Solitaire rings showcasing color change in different lighting
  • Alexandrite bracelets with round drilled beads in platinum
  • Geometric earrings with kite-shaped alexandrite and diamonds
  • Alexandrite slices bordered by sapphires in statement rings
  • Pendants on yellow gold chains surrounded by green tsavorites

Vintage Styles

  • Antique floral motifs using alexandrite accents
  • Filigree diamond halos around oval alexandrite gems
  • Alexandrite and pearl necklaces evoking the early 1900s
  • Art Deco cocktail rings featuring emerald cut stones
  • Retro bar brooches with round bezel set alexandrites

Rare alexandrite makes color change magic come alive as June's most phenomenal birthstone.

Discover Your Perfect June Birthstone

June offers a spectrum of birthstones, each with its own distinctive appeal:

  • Pearls evoke classic elegance perfect for all ages
  • Moonstone's ethereal glow channels bohemian spirit
  • Alexandrite displays awe-inspiring color change

The selections span organic, mysterious, and rare so those born in June can find the perfect birthstone aligning with their personal taste and style preferences.

Whether you're shopping for a June birthday or anniversary, discover the wondrous qualities of these phenomenal June gems. Let their natural beauty inspire you as you explore their heritage and styling potential to make a deeply meaningful and personalized jewelry selection.

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