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June: A Three-Birthstone Month

Only two months can claim three birthstones: June and December. Sometimes alternate birthstones are chosen because the ancient birthstone has become rare, but it isn’t really clear why June has so many; perhaps it’s related to June’s zodiac sign, Gemini, the twins. Whatever the reason, those born in June can choose the pearl, Alexandrite, or moonstone as their birthstone.

Who comes with summer to this earth

And owes to June her hour of birth,

A pearl should wear against her skin

Whose innocence many a heart shall win.

~ Anonymous

Pearl - June Birth Stone

The pearl is the traditional birthstone of June. Mythology claims pearls are the teardrops of mythical creatures such as mermaids or angels, or perhaps drops of the moon that fell into the sea, or perhaps they dropped from Aphrodite as she emerged from the sea. The pearl is unique among gems because it does not require any cutting or polishing after harvesting. It is also created by a living organism, not extracted from lifeless rock. Perhaps that is why the pearl is imbued with the qualities of health, longevity, purity, and beauty.

June is the most popular month for weddings, and pearls have the added bonus of promising marital bliss, which is why they adorn so many wedding gowns, veils, and the brides themselves. The Greeks believed pearls would at least keep new brides from crying.

The other accepted birthstone of June is quite suited to its Zodiac sign, Gemini, The Twins. Alexandrite is described as an extremely rare chrysoberyl with chameleon-like qualities. The best description is “Emerald by day, ruby by night.”

Yes, this is the same stone under different lighting. Few stones carry such a broad spectrum in such rich tones. Alexandrite, first discovered in the Ural Mountains in the 1830s, is named for the Russian czar Alexander II. It was a very popular gem in Russia because its red and green hues mirrored the Russian imperial colors. Though substantial deposits have been discovered in Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil, stones from those areas are not as vibrant and pure as the Russian gems.

 

The third accepted birthstone is Moonstone, which shares characteristics of the other two stones: it has the shimmer of pearl, and, while not as dramatic, some color-changing properties of Alexandrite.  The floating play of light, or adularescence, shrouds the gem in magical and mystical lore; ancient Romans thought it was made of solidified moon beams, while the Greeks identified it with the lunar gods and goddesses such as Pheobe and Artemis.

Moonstone is held sacred in India, and in Arabic countries it is a symbol of fertility, often sewn into the garments of women. In many cultures it is thought to bring good fortune. Moonstone was  very popular with Art Nouveau jewelers and can be seen in many pieces from that era.

If you have a June birthday, enjoy your very different choices in birthstones. And happy birthday!

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