Hello, and welcome back to the Official Nelsen’s Fine Jewelry Birthstone Blog!
For the month of June, we have options. That’s right, most of the months in our calendar allow us but one birthstone (sometimes 2… looking at you, October) but that’s it! Here, all you June babies get three! If you were curious, the only other months with 3 birthstones are August and December. So, with the first half of 2023 already behind us, let’s look at the three stones for June: Pearl, Alexandrite and Moonstone.
First, let’s talk about Pearls. Pearls are typically the most common of the June Birthstones that most folks would identify themselves with. Although, one should never feel “obligated” to commit to one or the other - or the other. Anyone can choose which they prefer.
Pearls are also the only “living” gemstones that exist since they are found within freshwater or saltwater Mollusks. Which are, of course, living organisms. To put it short, they are more of a “gem” and less of a “stone”. Pearls are typically drilled and then strung on rope/twine/wire for a pearl strand necklace. They can also be set into mountings and worn as pendants, rings and earrings. Cultured Pearls are pearls that have been farmed from the mollusks that have been implanted with a graft of tissue to create the pearl. This graft is actually a tiny beaded pearl from a donor or sacrificial shell. Whether they be freshwater or saltwater, these are natural and their color will reflect the inner color of the Mollusk that created them.
Natural pearl colors are pink, white, black, brown, green, blue, yellow, purple etc. Pearls can also be dyed another color, often with fabric dye. Dying pearls is mostly preferential for those seeking to add a little more color to their pearl without paying the cost of a naturally colorful pearl. This does not add to the value of any existing pearl, however, since the color treatment is altering the natural state of the pearl. Akoya Pearls are a trade name for cultured pearls that are sourced from Eastern Islands in and around Japan and are commonly sold in jewelry stores, including Ours! Tahitian Pearls or Black Pearls, are more valuable and rarer than white pearls simply due to the process of creating them. Since the oyster is implanted with one grafted pearl at a time, the results for a black pearl may vary. Meaning these pearls cannot be mass produced in the same way as more common color cultured pearls.
Pictured above is a gorgeous Tahitian Pearl Strand Station Necklace that we have for sale in our store Right Now!
Now let’s move onto Moonstone. Now, before I insert some on the nose joke about how these things are really found on the moon, I better tell you, they really are found on the Moon.
Okay, they’re not. But I really couldn’t resist. The Moon-iest part of the Moonstone is all in its looks. This luminescent stone features a distinct visual characteristic called diffraction, which means that the light that touches the stone, alters the colors you’re looking at on the surface area. In the case of moonstone, it is usually represented as an opalescent blueish/white. Contrary to what I just mentioned, moonstone is not an opal, although they each bear similar qualities in terms of visual appeal.
Moonstone’s mineral structure is actually from the Orthoclase Feldspar Mineral, which was mostly mined in Switzerland, although deposits of Moonstone can be found in various parts of the world. The main deposits for mining moonstone are in Armenia, Australia, Parts of the Austrian Alps, Madagascar, India and Mexico. Evidently, the most valuable and colorful moonstones come from Sri Lanka, which is an Island Nation off the coast of India.
In the earliest depictions in the findings of these stones, history tells us that the ancient Romans and Greeks believed the moonstones to be directly associated with Lunar Deities. As such, they were under the impression that these gems were derived from solidified rays of the Moon. Which I’d totally buy into if we were still in Ancient Greece. I mean, it makes total sense to me, just look at this thing.
Now let’s talk about the final stone on this month's docket, the ever-so-unique Alexandrite.
By far, the most distinct characteristic of the alexandrite is in its ability to seemingly change colors right before our very eyes. From dazzling greens transitioning into darkened hues of translucent purples and reds, this eye-catching phenomena occurs in different ambient lighting.
There are two types of lighting that give an alexandrite its color changing capabilities. Fluorescent and Incandescent. The former of which gives the stone its greenish hues and latter providing those darker reds and purples.
Alexandrite was first discovered in Russia in the 1830’s and was named after Alexander Nikolayevich or Alexander II. It was also known to be found in certain parts of Madagascar and Brazil, which is mostly where we find natural alexandrite today - although this gem has a significant higher value due to its rarity. Because alexandrite is so valuable in higher qualities, most jewelry available for purchase usually contains synthetic/lab-grown alexandrite. This of course has no bearing on the dramatic color changing qualities of the stone as the lab-growing process allows for an almost identical outcome in the quality of the stone.
I hope you enjoyed this brief look at these 3 gorgeous gems. Maybe you learned something, maybe you decided to change your birthstone after learning about all your options - no judgment here! Whatever that stone might be, be sure to stop into Nelsen’s Fine Jewelry to see what we have. Come back next month when we’ll be taking a look at Rubies!
Works Cited in the blog contains information from the following: