Three Birthstones, One Month

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Children of June get their choice of three birthstones

Unlike the other months, June has three traditional birthstones:  Pearl, Moonstone and Alexanderite.

Pearls:

 

South Sea Pearl Ring
South Sea Pearl Ring

Most gemstones are found inside the earth, but pearls have an organic origin.  They are created inside the shells of certain species of oysters and clams.  Some pearls are found naturally in the mollusks that inhabit the see or freshwater rivers.  Many pearls today are cultured raided in oyster farms.

Pearls are made mostly of aragonite, a relatively soft carbonate mineral that also makes up the shells of the mollusks.

A pearl is created when a very small fragment of rock or a grain of sand enters the mollusk’s shell.  It irritates the oyster or clam, which responds by coating the foreign material with layer after layer of shell material.  Pearls formed inside of the shell have very little commercial value.  However, those formed inside the tissue of the mollusk are either spherical or pear shaped, and are highly sought out in jewelry.

The color of pearls depends much on the species of mollusk that produced it, and it’s environment.  White is the best know and most common.  However, pearls also come in delicate shades of black, cream, gray, blue, yellow, lavender, green and mauve.

Pearls, according to South Asia mythology, were dew drops from heaven that fell into the sea.  In India, warriors encrusted their swords with pearls to symbolize the tears and sorrow that a sword brings.

Pearls were also widely used as medicine in Europe until the 17th century.  Pearls were believed to represent wealth, power and longevity.  Even to this day, lowest grade pearls are ground for use as medicine in Asia.

Moonstone:

Moonstone and Diamond Ring
Moonstone and Diamond Ring

June’s second birthstone is Moonstone.  They are believed to be named for the bluish white spots within them, that when held up to light, projects a silvery play of color much like moonlight.  When the stone is moved back and forth it appears to move about like moonbeams on water.

This gemstone belongs to the family of minerals called feldspar , which is commonly  formed in rock.  About half of the earth’s crust is composed of feldspar.

Rare geologic conditions produce gem varieties of feldspar such as moonstone.

The ancient Roman historian Pliny said the moonstone changed appearance with the phases of the moon.  The ancient Romans also believed the moonstone had the power to bring victory, health and wisdom to any who wore it.

In India the moonstone is considered a sacred stone and often displayed with their sacred color of yellow.  They believe the stone brings good fortune, brought by the spirit that lives within the stone.

Alexandrite:

Alexandrite and Diamond Ring
Alexandrite and Diamond Ring

Alexandrite is June’s third birthstone, a more modern gem.  Alexandrite possesses an enchanting chameleon like trait.  In daylight it appears a beautiful green with a bluish or brownish tint.  However, under artificial lighting the stone turns, reddish-violet to violet color.

Alexandrite belongs to the chrysoberyl family.  Alexandrite is an uncommon stone, and since it is it can be very expensive.  Sri Lanke is the main source today.

The stone is named after Prince Alexander of Russia.  Discovered on the Prince’s birthday in the emerald mine in Russia in 1839.

Since it’s a relatively a recent discovery, there has been little time for myth and superstition to build around the stone.  It is a very popular stone in Russia as it represents the national colors and was believed to bring good luck.

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