Happy birthday June babies! Your month has 2 birthstones – Moonstone & Alexandrite.
Having more than one birthstone, Alexandrite & Moonstone, June's birthstones are as unique as it comes. Extremely rare and having "colour-changing" abilities, the Alexandrite is green in daylight and changes to a purple-red hue in incandescent or artificial light.
June birthstone, alexandrite was discovered in Russian emerald mines in more modern times, around 1834. Legend suggests that its discovery fell on the same day that the future Russian Czar Alexander II came of age, which makes sense, given the stone's name.
It was first mistook for emerald because of its green colour until the stone was held in a different light source and changed to a purplish red, earning the reputation as "Emerald by day, Ruby by night" and the honour of Imperial Russia's official gemstone (Russia's national colours are green and red).
Alexandrite is a rare stone, and is that explains why it’s very expensive. It is mainly found in Sri Lanka, and has also been found in Myanmar, Tanzania, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Madagascar. Synthetic alexandrite has been manufactured but its qualities are not similar to that of the natural Alexandrite, especially the color changes.
June's third birthstone, moonstone, was named by the Roman natural historian Pliny for just that: its shimmery, milky appearance resembling the different phases of the moon. Ancient civilizations believed that the stone was directly connected to the natural rhythms of the moon, which helps explain why much of its magic ties to lunar mysteries and treating night-time ailments. The moonstone is purported to treat insomnia and sleepwalking, ward off nightmares, and encourage vivid dreams.
In colours ranging from colourless to gray, brown, yellow, green, or pink and clarity that goes from transparent to translucent. The best Moonstone has a blue sheen, perfect clarity, and a colourless body colour. Found in India and Madagascar, rainbow Moonstone has a variety of colours, from pink to yellow, to peach, purple, and blue.
MOONSTONE BIRTHSTONE MEANING & HISTORY
Moonstone is the best-known gem of the feldspar group of minerals. It is renowned for its adularescence, the light that appears to billow across a gemstone, giving it a special glow. The finest moonstones show a blue sheen against a colorless background. This June birthstone has been associated with both the Roman and Greek lunar deities. Hindu mythology claims that it is made of solidified moonbeams. Moonstone is often associated with love, passion and fertility; it is believed to bring great luck.
Great designers of the Art Nouveau era (1890s–1910s), such as René Lalique and Louis Comfort Tiffany, featured moonstone in their fine jewelry. The moonstone birthstone came to the forefront again during the 1960s “flower child” movement and with New Age designers of the 1990s.
WHERE IS MOONSTONE FOUND?
Moonstone can be found in a wide variety of places. This includes parts of the United States, such as New Mexico, North Carolina and Virginia. The most important world locations for the moonstone birthstone are India and Sri Lanka, but sources also include Brazil, India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Myanmar and Tanzania.
SMining for moonstone in Sri Lanaka. Photo: Afsaneh Tazari/GIA
Rough moonstone found in Sri Lanka. Photo: Vincent Pardieu
MOONSTONE BIRTHSTONE CARE & CLEANING
Moonstone is a 6–6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness and has poor toughness. It may crack when exposed to high heat. Therefore, ultrasonic and steam cleaners should not be used on your moonstone. The best option for cleaning is warm, soapy water with a soft brush.
ALEXANDRITE BIRTHSTONE MEANING & HISTORY
Alexandrite is the rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl that changes color in different lighting. Most prized are those alexandrite birthstones that show a vivid green to bluish green in daylight or fluorescent light, and an intense red to purplish red in incandescent light. Major alexandrite deposits were first discovered in 1830 in Russia’s Ural Mountains. The gem was named after the young Alexander II (1818–1881), heir apparent to the throne. Alexandrite caught the country’s attention because its red and green colors mirrored the national military colors of imperial Russia.
When certain types of long, thin inclusions are oriented parallel to each other in this June birthstone, they can create another phenomenon, called chatoyancy or the cat’s-eye effect. Few gems are as fascinating – or as stunning – as cat’s-eye alexandrite.
WHERE IS ALEXANDRITE FOUND?
The spectacular Ural Mountain deposits were eventually mined out, and now most alexandrite comes from Brazil, Sri Lanka and East Africa. The newer deposits contain some fine-quality stones, but many display less-precise color change and muddier hues than the 19th century Russian alexandrites. Because of its scarcity, especially in larger sizes, fine-quality alexandrite is one of the more expensive colored gems.
Chrysoberyl mining at corrego do Fogo near Malacacheta, Brazil. Courtesy: ICA
ALEXANDRITE BIRTHSTONE CARE & CLEANING
This June birthstone is relatively hard—8.5 on the Mohs scale. It has excellent toughness and no cleavage, which is a tendency to break when struck. This makes it a good choice for rings and other mountings subject to daily wear. An alexandrite engagement ring would be a unique gift for a bride-to-be born in June. Although it is best to clean your June birthstone in warm, soapy water, ultrasonic and steam cleaners are usually safe as well.
une is a month for celebrations, be it weddings, anniversaries, graduations or birthdays. And what better way to celebrate than with a June birthstone. Those who were born in June are lucky to have three gorgeous birthstones to choose from. Now you know how to pick one of these June birthstones for yourself or a loved one born in the month of June.