June is so special ... it has three birthstones!
The month of June is blessed with having not one, not two, but three birthstones! Only two other months in the year have three birthstones assigned to that month, so it is quite an honour!
(If you are wondering, the other two months having three birthstones are the August birthstones and December).
Not only that but June can boast to having three tremendously beautiful stones to signify its birth month.
The first of the June birthstones is the elegant Pearl, the second is the colour-changing magical Alexandrite and the last, but certainly not the least, is the mystical Moonstone.
What more can a girl want?
Pearl’s suit everyone. Young or old, with a cool-toned complexion or warm, pearls seem to suit and flatter anyone who wears them.
Pearls have been used in jewellery for centuries, although it was only nobility that used to wear them in past times because of their rarity.
The development of cultured pearls in more recent times means that nowadays real pearls are affordable enough so that anyone can wear the real thing.
There are many styles of jewellery set with pearls, from more traditional pieces to contemporary jewellery.
How a Pearl is Made
A pearl is made within a mollusc’s shell, by an irritant causing the body of the mollusc to secrete a substance in ‘defence’.
Once the foreign particle enters the shell, the body of the creature, called the mantle, secretes a shell-like material, in layers, as a protective measure over and around the foreign particle.
The layers that are formed in response to the irritant decide the iridescence of the pearl. The thinner the layers, the more translucent. The more numerous the layers, and the thinner, so too the lustre is increased. The most prized pearls have a mirror-like quality to them.
Pearls are normally grown in two types of molluscs. The oyster shell which lives in salt-water and these are known as Oriental Pearls. The other are in the freshwater Pearl mussels.
Most of the pearls you see being sold today are cultured freshwater pearls. They are cultivated on Pearl Farms by planting a bead or a Mother-of-Pearl within a nacre-producing mollusc and leaving it in salt or freshwater for between 6 months to 2 years, to allow the layers of pearl to be laid down by the mollusc and a pearl to is formed. This is carried out on a mass scale.
All pearls have iridescence or nacre although it is said the iridescence is not the same in cultured pearls as natural pearls.
The colour of a pearl can even be adjusted, depending on which sea they came from. Pearls can range in colour from white, cream, yellow, blue, green, lavender and mauve.
Indian rose-tinted pearls are particularly prized.
These are rarely true black but often purple, aubergine, brown, green, blue and sometimes a mixture of colours in which they are called ‘Peacock pearls’.
A black-lip shell, which is a mollusc which produces black Mother-of-Pearl will also produce black pearls.
A fascinating gemstone which actually changes colour from pink/red to green depending on what light it is subjected to.
A modern stone, it was discovered in 1830, near the Ural mountains in Russia, reportedly on the Tsar Alexander II birthday – hence the stone was named after him. Miners, looking for emeralds, took the gemstone back to camp where they were startled to see that it glowed red/pink near the firelight. In the morning, in daylight, the stone reverted to its green colour again. It was then that the miners realised that they had discovered a new gemstone.
Russian aristocracy couldn’t get enough of the gemstone and it was eventually depleted from their reserves. Chief gem-cutter of Tiffany & Co was reported to have travelled to Russia and bought up large quantities of the gemstone and, consequently, cornered the market for a time until new deposits were found in the 1980’s and 1990’s in different parts of the world.
Despite recent discoveries, it remains a rare and expensive stone.
In Russia Alexandrite is a very good omen, bringing luck and fortune and love into one’s life. It soothes and helps those in despair.
Spiritual Attributes to Alexandrite
It is said to connect the physical to the spiritual and therefore works on the crown chakra, allowing the universal energy to flow and increase intuition.
Another gorgeous June Birthstone is Moonstone.
Moonstone is so named because of its moon-like appearance. The Roman’s loved the stone and believed it was solidified moons rays!
Considered to be a very healing stone, it is said by the esoteric world to channel the moon!
Indeed the state of Florida in the USA designated this stone their State Gemstone in 1970 to commemorate the moon landings, which took off from Kennedy Space Center.
In continental Europe, Moonstone is actually favoured as the June birthstone over Pearl or Alexandrite.
In India Moonstone is considered a sacred stone where it is often presented as a wedding gift.
It’s a very beautiful stone and relatively inexpensive so is often used in jewellery making. We regularly stock numerous items with moonstone
Moonstone is a Feldspar stone and is mainly seen as an opaque stone with a definite lustrous sheen called adularescence (named after Mount Adular, the Swiss mountain where it was mined), otherwise called an opalescence or an iridescence of a blue and white sheen. This sheen is known as a ‘shiller’.
In the main Moonstones occur in jewellery as cabouchons because this is what reveals the blue sheen – it is much more unusual to see them faceted.
If a piece of Rainbow Moonstone is left open and uncovered at the back, it appears milky white. If the back of the stone is covered (ie with silver or blackened out) all of the blue light is reflected out of it and the stone appears blue, hence Blue Rainbow Moonstone – this is the same stone but appearing to be a different colour.
Rene Lalique, the French goldsmith whose pieces are often now kept in museums, regularly used moonstone in his jewellery creations.
Spiritual Associations with Moonstone
Moonstone is supposed to help us tap into our intuition and harness our feminine side. Helping connect us to our nurturing side, it is therefore said to be beneficial in motherhood.
A great protector also of emotions – for those who have to shut off their emotions for one reason or another (maybe for those who work in emotionally challenging jobs or situations), it can help ‘hold’ them and prevent them from closing up or hardening over time, but allowing them to open up with compassion and empathy when it is safe to do so.
It has held special significance for lovers not only in India but also in Europe and was said to help reunite lovers or for young love affairs and to help when a lover must be kept a secret! It was said that if lovers placed a piece of moonstone in their mouth at a time of full moon then their futures would be revealed.
Moonstone supposedly ignited Kundalini energy and helps in infertility, therefore it was believed to be beneficial to fertility, it was believed that wearing a pendant containing moonstone whilst making love at the time of the full moon would result in increased fertility.
It was called the Travellers Stone, maybe because of it’s connection to the moon, and supposedly helped guide travellers and protect them particularly at night. It has been recommended to carry on boats, cars and in your pocket whilst travelling for extra protection. Perhaps because of its strong association with the moon, moonstone is a stone to help with women’s hormones, during menstruation (which is so affected by the moon), childbirth and menopause.
It is a great sleep enhancer and is believed to increase dreams and guidance in a dream.
For more information you can read our more in-depth blogs on the individual gemstones – pearl, moonstone or alexandrite.