A Complete Guide To The June Birthstone

The month of June is one of the few that boasts not one, not two, but three birthstones (August and December also have three birthstones). While the traditional June birthstone is pearl, moonstone and alexandrite have been added to the list of modern birthstones.

Pearl has long been admired as a gemstone, although it is not really a stone at all given its organic origins. Moonstone was revered by the Ancient Romans, who believed it was created from solidified moonbeams. Alexandrite is a more recent discovery, with the first specimen being unearthed less than two centuries ago.

All three June birthstones are natural beauties that differ considerably in terms of their physical appearance, durability, and cost. This means that individuals born in June have a variety of gorgeous birthstones to choose from.

Keep reading to find out more about the three birthstones for June with our comprehensive guide below!

What is a Birthstone?

Birthstones are gemstones that are assigned to the months of the year or astrological signs. The tradition of assigning gemstones to the months of the year transcends cultures and originated in biblical times.

For millennia, it was common practice to wear a different piece of birthstone jewelry for each month of the year. For example, everyone would sport October birthstones in October, November birthstones in November, December birthstones in December, and so on.

Today, most people typically only wear the gem associated with their birth month. Those born in June are among the most fortunate since they have multiple birthstones to choose from. Alexandrite is an excellent option for those seeking modern June birthstone jewelry, while jewelry with pearl birthstones will appeal to those with vintage tastes.

What Are the June Birthstones?

The month of June offers a lot to look forward to: it marks the beginning of summer, is known as peak wedding season, and boasts three birthstones that are all beautiful in their own right. The three June birthstones are pearl, moonstone, and alexandrite. Each of these gems offers something unique. We will discuss each of them in more detail below.

First June Birthstone: Pearl

Origins of the Pearl Birthstone

The traditional birthstone for June, pearl has long been coveted as a gemstone. Not only is pearl a beautiful June birthstone but it is thought to possess many benefits for the body and mind. Japanese mythology says that pearls were formed from the tears of mermaids, while other legends say they were formed from dewdrops that fell from the moon into the sea.

The Ancient Greeks associated the soft round shape of saltwater pearls with the moon and Greek lunar deities. In astrology, the pearl birthstone is attributed to the planet Venus and symbolizes beauty, love, and wealth.

Types of Pearls

Natural pearls are unlike any other gemstones in that they don’t form underground. Instead, natural pearls develop in water. They are also the products of living matter rather than geological processes and events.

Natural pearls are extremely rare today due to the mass harvesting that took place in the past. As a result, natural pearl is one of the most expensive gemstones on the market.

How Are Natural Pearls Formed?

Natural pearls are made by mollusks (clams, mussels, oysters) as a natural defense against an irritant like sand entering their shell. The mollusk secretes a substance called nacre that covers the irritant, which slowly builds the pearl layers over time. In theory, any mollusk can make a pearl, but very few can make gemstone-quality specimens.

Saltwater pearls come from the sea. The oysters that produce saltwater pearls typically only make one pearl in their lifetime, making natural saltwater pearls a rare occurrence. These pearls are therefore the most expensive. The oysters that produce freshwater pearls, on the other hand, can form up to 120 pearls in their lifetime.

Cultured Pearls

A cultured pearl is the term used for a pearl that has been grown with the help of human intervention. In this process, the host mollusk is injected with an irritant, thereby stimulating the formation of a pearl. This method of propagating pearls allows jewelers to offer pearl jewelry at a fraction of the cost of natural pearls. Most pearls available on the market today are cultured pearls.

Note that cultured pearls should not be confused with imitation pearls, which are made of synthetic materials like plastic or glass.

Pearl Farms

Cultured pearls are produced by pearl farms in various saltwater and freshwater sites across the globe. Pearl farmers establish colonies of pearl-bearing mollusks in these locations by buying them from other farmers or transferring them from other areas. Another method involves injecting non-pearl-bearing mollusks with tissue from pearl-bearing ones. This method produces cultured pearls much faster than when farmers let pearls form naturally.

Generally speaking, saltwater cultured pearls are harder to harvest than freshwater cultured pearls. Freshwater cultured pearls also tend to be more lustrous than natural pearls because they have a thicker layer of nacre. While pearl farms have made pearl jewelry significantly more affordable, freshwater cultured pearls remain the most budget-friendly option.

South Sea Pearls

Some of the finest pearls that money can buy are South Sea pearls. Only harvestable from a remote location in the South Sea, the mollusks that produce these pearls bear larger specimens due to their prolonged growth period. South Sea pearls are also known for their extreme luster and appear in colors ranging from white to honey gold. A necklace adorned with these natural beauties makes for an opulent June birthstone gift.

Tahitian Black Pearls

Although cultured and imitation pearls can be dyed any color, a black pearl is a rare occurrence in nature. Rich black Tahitian pearls are, therefore, some of the most coveted gemstones known to man. Today, these pearls are being cultured on the French Polynesian island of Tahiti. While the farming of these pearls has made them easier to obtain, they are still one of the most striking and costly varieties of this June birthstone.

Pearl Properties

Pearls rank from 2.5 to 4.5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, making them very soft. They are composed of calcium carbonate, which is extremely sensitive to acidity. This means that a natural pearl will dissolve in vinegar. Cultured freshwater pearls are occasionally dyed tan and black. Ironically, cultured black pearls, aren’t black at all but rather green, blue, purple, and silver.

Second June Birthstone: Moonstone

Origins of the Moonstone

This enchanting June birthstone originates from Sri Lanka. Moonstones are instantly recognizable due to their adularescence, or white to pale blue sheen. You can also find moonstones in other countries, like India, but these typically exhibit an orange, brown, or green hue.

Today, Sri Lanka’s moonstone deposits are nearly depleted, so India, Australia, Madagascar, and the United States are now the main sources of this June birthstone.

Moonstone Symbolism

As the name suggests, moonstones were once connected with ancient Greek lunar deities. Age-old Hindu mythology believed that they were created from solidified moonbeams. Moonstone has also been attributed to the astrological sign of Gemini and the qualities of passion, love, and fertility.

Moonstone Properties

Moonstone is a relatively soft June birthstone and is rated a 6 on the Mohs hardness scale. It belongs to the feldspar mineral group and is composed of two minerals, namely orthoclase and albite.

How to Care For Your Moonstone Jewelry

Moonstones are susceptible to getting scratched and damaged because of their softness, which is the main drawback of wearing moonstone jewelry. Nevertheless, moonstone is a popular choice as a June birthstone due to its affordability. To keep your moonstone looking good as new, clean it with a mild solution of warm water, soap, and a soft brush.

Third June Birthstone: Alexandrite

Alexandrite History

Alexandrite is among the modern birthstones for June. It was first discovered less than 200 years ago in Russia’s Ural mountains. Since then, more alexandrite deposits have been found in other parts of the world, such as East Africa, Sri Lanka, and Brazil. However, alexandrite jewelry sourced from Russia remains the most highly sought-after variety due to its dramatic color change effect.

That being said, alexandrite is an extremely rare gemstone that surpasses even the diamond in terms of price. In other words, an authentic alexandrite necklace can cost even more than a diamond necklace. As a result, most alexandrite jewelry available today is synthetic alexandrite.

Alexandrite Properties

Few gems are as fascinating and unique as alexandrite. Though it may seem like an ordinary green gemstone at first glance, alexandrite has the ability to change color under incandescent light. It exhibits a bluish-green hue when exposed to sunlight, but turns purplish-red under fluorescent light. This led to the description, ’emerald by day, ruby by night’. The only other gemstones known to exhibit this color-changing ability are sapphire and garnet.

How to Care For Your Alexandrite Jewelry

With a hardness rating of around 8.5 on the Mohs scale, alexandrite is the toughest June birthstone. This makes it suitable for daily wear, with some people even opting for alexandrite engagement rings. Like all other gemstone jewelry, it is important to clean it once in a while. You can do this with warm soapy water and a soft brush.

How to Wear the June Birthstones

All three birthstones in the June birthstone range are versatile options that can be worn on their own, together, or paired with other gemstone jewelry. They also offer something to suit everyone’s tastes: if you like the traditional look choose the pearl, but if you prefer a more modern gemstone opt for alexandrite.

If you’re looking for another gemstone to pair with your June birthstone, white diamonds are an excellent all-round choice. Think pearl earrings with diamond accents or moonstones with a diamond necklace. Blue topaz is another great option to pair with moonstone, as well as any member of the quartz family.

A vivid green alexandrite, on the other hand, would look amazing with a fine emerald necklace. Gemstones belonging to the garnet family are another great choice if you’re looking for a stone to offset the purplish-red color resulting from the alexandrite’s incandescent light effect.

Pearl birthstones will complement most other gemstones given that they are available in a wide array of colors. Think pink tourmaline, blue topaz, emerald, moonstone, and alexandrite. A classic pearl necklace is considered a timeless wardrobe staple, and pearl bracelets are stunning too. Whether worn by themselves or alongside other accessories, you can never go wrong with a string of pearls.


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