Alexandrite replaced the pearl as birthstone when it was believed that alexandrite was more abundant than pearls. Today that is no longer the case. High quality alexandrite is extremely rare and highly sought after. The greenish blue stone is known for its ability to change colors in incandescent light. It changes from green to red or purple. Alexandrite stones are generally up to 5-carats in weight. Larger stones are extremely hard to come by. Since this month’s birthstone can be difficult to obtain, some consider some of the birthstone options such as pearls or moonstones, or the possibility of combining alexandrite with other gems when designing their jewelry.
Pearls are different from other gemstones including their fellow June birthstones in many ways. For starters, pearls are found underwater in the humble mollusk. Found in several colors including white, off-white, pink, and black, pearls come in a range of sizes. A pearl is formed when an irritant such as a parasite or a fish makes its way into the flesh of an oyster, clam, or mussel, where nacre, a protective material is produced. Over time, layers and layers of this substance accumulate and a beautiful shiny pearl is formed. Pearls are timeless, classic jewels that never go out of style. Every jewelry box should contain at least one piece of pearl jewelry whether it is a simple strand of pearls, pearl studs, or a pearl bracelet. Tiny orange garnet side stones, make a wonderful combination for a traditional pair of pearl earrings.
The third birthstone for June is the Moonstone. It was given its name by the Roman natural historian Pliny, who wrote that moonstone’s appearance altered with the phases of the moon – a belief that held until well after the sixteenth century. A phenomenal gemstone, moonstones show a floating play of light (called adularescence) and sometimes show either a multirayed star or a cat’s eye. Considered a sacred stone in India, moonstones often are displayed on a background of yellow (a sacred color) and are believed to encapsulate within the stone a spirit whose purpose is to bring good fortune. Part of the family of minerals called feldspar, moonstone occurs in many igneous and metamorphic rocks and comes in a variety of colors such as green, blue, peach, and champagne. The most prized moonstones are from Sri Lanka; India, Australia, the United States, Mayanmar, and Madagascar are also sources.