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JUNE BIRTHSTONE

ALEXANDRITE

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.

As legend goes, a miner was collecting emeralds in the mountains and upon viewing his treasures by the campfire at night, the stones appeared to be a vibrant shade of red. When morning came, the stones again appeared green in the daylight. Because these changing colors matched the Old Imperial Russia’s military colors, the stone officially received the name Alexandrite and eventually became one of the most sought-after gemstones by the aristocrats of Russia.

Russia soon mined nearly all of the alexandrite it had to offer before more deposits were discovered in the island south of India and what is now known as Sri Lanka. 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.

Hardness: 8.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness

Care: It is best to clean your June birthstone in warm, soapy water, but ultrasonic and steam cleaners are usually safe as well.



ALTERNATIVE BIRTHSTONE

PEARL

Pearls are timeless wardrobe staples, beloved by women of all ages. Pearls have long been associated with purity, humility and innocence. So it may be said that the June birthstone meaning is "sweet simplicity." As such, pearls were traditionally given as a wedding gift.

Warm waters… clear skies… dramatic scenery – it sounds like a dream beach vacation, don’t you think? It’s also an accurate description of where you'll often find these pearl birthstones. Pearl-bearing mollusks fail to thrive in polluted waters, so pearl farms are usually located far from civilization – and often in breathtaking settings.

Saltwater cultured pearls are grown in many areas around the world. Akoya cultured pearl farms are primarily found in Japan and China, especially along the southern coasts of Guangdong and Guangxi provinces. South Sea cultured pearls are farmed from the northern coast of Australia through Indonesia to the southern coast of Southeast Asia, with large operations in the Philippines as well. The Gambier Islands and the Tuamotu Archipelago, both part of French Polynesia, are two locales where the rich black Tahitian pearls are cultured. China is the dominant source of freshwater cultured pearls.

Hardness: 2.5-3 on the Mohs scale of hardness

Care: Because pearls are a soft gem they require special care. Store them separately from other gemstones and metal jewelry to prevent scratching. Never store your pearl birthstones in a plastic bag — plastic can emit a chemical that will damage their surface. Always apply perfume, hair products and cosmetics before putting on your pearl jewelry. The best way to clean your June birthstone: Use a soft, damp cloth, ideally after each time the pearls are worn.



ALTERNATIVE BIRTHSTONE

MOONSTONE

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.

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.

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.


Hardness: 6-6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness

Care: Because a moonstone is a relatively soft stone, 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.

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