Whatever your personal tastes in jewelry are, the June birthstone has you covered; one of the few months that actually has three different birthstone options, June babies get to pick between pearls, moonstones, and alexandrites. From a jewel that's been used for millennia to a stone only recently discovered in the past 200 years, June birthstones are known for their delicate, otherworldly affects and powerful properties. Take a closer look at these three stones and see which one speaks to you the most.
Original June Birthstone - Pearl
Pearls have been considered the birthstone for the month of June since 1912, when the National Association of Jewelers released an official list of the twelve birthstones. These small, white gemstones naturally occur in mollusks when they release a nacre, and it surrounds an irritant that's entered the mollusk's shell. Unfortunately, the natural pearl beds have mostly been decimated by thousands of years of harvesting pearls, forcing the development of a cultured pearl industry. While these gems come in a few different varieties, their most popular color is the original milky white. Given that pearls rank incredibly low on the Mohs hardness scale (2.5-3.0), pearl jewelry isn't meant to be worn in an everyday context, which is why many people save wearing pearls for special occasions like weddings, anniversaries, and funerals.
Pearl Properties and Symbology
Pearls have historically been linked to ideas about purity and innocence, claims that are substantiated by their use in purity ceremonies like marriages. However, pearls weren't only worn by historic populations; rather, they were also ground up and used as medicinal ingredients to help alleviate various ailments. The natural gem's silky texture and bright white luster have caused it to also become associated with bringing a sense of calm to the wearer.
Prices of Pearl Jewelry
Prices for pearls can vary wildly, with naturally-occurring pearls being worth far more than cultured pearls. Freshwater pearls are the cheapest on the market, due in larger part to their irregular shapes, and can cost as little as $50. Meanwhile, South Sea pearls - the largest species of pearl - can cost as much as $100,000 because of their size and beauty. One of the most famous natural pearls was gifted to Elizabeth Taylor by her husband, Richard Burton, in 1969 and rounds out at almost 51 carats. This La Peregrina necklace sold for $11.8 million in 2011.
Secondary June Birthstone - Moonstone
The moonstone was the first secondary gemstone attributed to June and is best known for its adularescence, which describes the unique bluish flash of light that dances across the otherwise colorless stone. Originating from the feldspar family, moonstones recently saw a resurgence in popularity among the New Age movement in the late 20th century and has since been adopted by many modern practitioners of witchcraft as insightful tokens and talismans. With a medium hardness of 6-6.5 on the Mohs scale, moonstones don't make for great additions to jewelry that you intend to wear every day and are most often featured in large pendants for whimsical necklaces.
Moonstone Properties and Symbology
With ancient ties to lunar deities, these stones were said to have captured the moonbeams within them and were used for healing various diseases. Similarly, they've come to be associated with luck and fertility, and modern interpretations enjoy the sense of tranquility and balance that they provide as well as their massive healing properties.
Prices of Moonstone Jewelry
Moonstones are a highly affordable alternative to either of June's other birthstones, with a single uncut carat costing as little as $20. In addition to being a low-cost birthstone, moonstone's unique coloring has made it popular with modern jewelers, so that there's a lot of customized, inventive looking pieces of jewelry you can find available. Similarly, there are many independent crafters who've taken to making their own moonstone jewelry and selling them on websites like Etsy; in fact, many of the most contemporary looking pieces come from these individual crafters.
Secondary June Birthstone - Alexandrite
Recently added to the birthstone list in 1952, alexandrite is an incredibly unusual gemstone. Discovered by Nils Gustaf Nordenskold in 1830 at the base of the Ural Mountains, the stone was first mistaken to be an emerald before further testing proved that it was a new stone entirely. It was quickly named in honor of the heir to the Russian empire, Alexander II, and is best known for the way that it glows a deep red/purple color when placed under incandescent light. These stones are incredibly rare, making them expensive. However, their 8.5 hardness on the Mohs scale makes them for a perfect choice to use in jewelry that you intend to wear every day.
Alexandrite Properties and Symbology
As with June's other birthstones, alexandrite is intricately linked with harmonization and increasing emotional balance within the wearer. It's said that alexandrite will serve to help bring a sense of levity to those struggling with too much self-discipline, and unlike its counterparts, alexandrite is focused on emotional, rather than physical, healing.
Prices of Alexandrite Jewelry
Due to both its rarity and its unusual color-changing metamorphosing, alexandrite jewelry competes with diamond jewelry in terms of expenses. Alexandrites with less than one carat can cost upwards of $15,000, with larger stones selling for $50,000 to $70,000 each. This makes alexandrite a very exclusive birthstone that most people can't afford to purchase.
Cleaning June Birthstone Jewelry
In terms of care and cleaning, pearls and moonstones are not to be cleaned using ultrasonic or steam cleaners because of their softer hardness and heat treatments. However, alexandrites are rather sturdy stones and can be cleaned using those methods. Yet, to clean your jewels in a pinch just combine a mild soap with water and gently wash your jewelry. Make sure to be particularly careful when manipulating your pearls because they scratch and dent incredibly easily. Alexandrite and moonstone jewelry can be stored with other stones, though it's best to keep your pearls stored by themselves in a velvet bag or box to protect them from damage.
Triple the Fun With June's Birthstones
No matter your price range, there's a June birthstone that you can love and afford. Thankfully, having three different options gives everybody the chance to represent their birth month with pride in the way that they prefer.