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June Birthstone: A Complete Guide

by Kamillah Khalif
Last updated on October 14, 2022

The June birthstone is actually three birthstones. June is one of just three months (there are three August and December birthstones, too) lucky enough to have three birthstones. The June birthstones are pearl, moonstone, and alexandrite.

Each June birthstone is a natural beauty, giving you a wide range of gorgeous birthstones to choose from. A June birthday can be the most attractive choice for individuals who want an heirloom stone in the same color and at an attractive rate due to its different prices and colors.

What Are Birthstones?

A birthstone is a gemstone that is assigned to a specific month of birth or zodiac sign. Assigning gemstones to the different months of the year is a tradition that transcends cultures and dates all the way back to biblical times.

For centuries, it was common to own a different piece of birthstone jewelry for each of the twelve stones and sport each during its assigned month. Everyone would wear the October birthstones in October, the November birthstones in November, the December Birthstones in December, etc.

Today, the custom has changed, and people proudly wear their birthstone all year round. Those born in June are among the luckiest of all because they have multiple birthstones to choose from. Those desiring a modern look can sport the alexandrite, which is the modern June Birthstone. At the same time, jewelry with pearl birthstones may be an excellent option for those with an appreciation for traditional stones.

What Are the June Birthstones?

June is a stellar month for many reasons. June marks the start of summer, is known to be peak wedding season, and is home to three birthstones, all gorgeous in their own right. The three June birthstones are pearls, moonstones, and alexandrites. Each of these stones has a unique origin, symbolism, and dazzling quality.

First June Birthstone: Pearl

Pearl Necklace. June Birthstone.
Pearl Necklace

The Origins of Pearl Birthstone

The pearl is the traditional June birthstone. The pearl has been a valued gemstone and source of many legends for millennia. Some legends say that the pearl represents the tears of angels in heaven, while others believe they are the tears of mermaids.

Saltwater pearls usually form in the shape of soft white orbs, and the ancient Greeks associated them with the moon and Greek lunar deities. According to astrology, pearls are associated with the planet Venus and symbolize love, beauty, and wealth.

Types of Pearls

Natural pearls are set apart from other gemstones like diamonds and emeralds because natural pearls don’t form underground. Instead, the natural pearl develops organically in the water of all places. Due to mass harvesting in the past, natural pearls became extremely rare to find, which made them all the more sought after. Today, the popularity of cultured pearls has made buying and gifting pearl jewelry much more common.

How Natural Pearls Are Formed

Natural pearls form inside of mollusks (oysters, mussels, clams) when an irritant like sand enters its shell. The mollusk secretes a fluid called nacre that coats the irritant, resulting in the pearl. Saltwater pearls come from the ocean. Today, natural saltwater pearls are a rarity, and therefore the most expensive pearls. Freshwater pearls, which come from lakes and rivers, tend to be less naturally pigmented and made up of mostly nacre.

Cultured Pearls

Natural and cultured pearls form through a very similar process. The difference is that cultured pearls (not to be confused with imitation pearls) occur when humans stimulate the mollusks by injecting them with an irritant. This streamlines the process and allows jewelers to offer pearl jewelry at an affordable price. Whether natural or freshwater pearls, today, most of them are cultured. Freshwater cultured pearls remain the most affordable option.

Pearl Properties

Pearl drop earrings. June birthstone.
Pearl Drop Earrings

Pearls are soft and range from 2.5 – 4.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. Calcium carbonate is extremely sensitive to acidity, which causes pearls to disintegrate when exposed to vinegar. Cultured freshwater pearls are sometimes dyed in tan as well as black. Black Pearls, usually cultured because of their rare appearance, aren’t really black but rather green, purple, blue, and silver.

Pearl Farms

Cultured pearls come from pearl farms in various freshwater and saltwater locations worldwide. Pearl farmers populate a site with pearl-bearing mollusks by transplanting them from other areas or buying them from other farmers. It is also possible to inject tissue from pearl-bearing mollusks into non-pearl-bearing ones. From stimulation like this, these mollusks can bear cultured pearls much faster than pearls form naturally.

Among the two, freshwater cultured pearls are more accessible to harvest than saltwater cultured pearls. Freshwater cultured pearls tend to have more luster than natural pearls due to their thicker layer of nacre. Although pearl farms have allowed pearl jewelry to become more affordable, freshwater cultured pearls remain the most affordable option.

South Sea Pearls

South sea pearls are among the finest pearls in the world. This rare gemstone is harvested only in a remote location in the South Sea. It has an extended growing period that results in a larger pearl, appearing in colors ranging from white to honey gold with extreme luster. A south sea pearl adorned necklace would make a luxurious June birthstone gift.

Tahitian Black Pearls

Though you can dye cultured pearls and imitation pearls any color, naturally occurring black pearls are scarce. Rich black Tahitian pearls are among the most exclusive gemstones in existence. Today, these pearls are cultured on the Tahiti Island of French Polynesia. Although farming these pearls has made them more accessible, they are still a high-quality stone and one of the more expensive varieties of this June birthstone.

Second June Birthstone: Moonstone

Moonstone. June birthstone.
Moonstone

Origins of the Moonstone

Classic Moonstones, traditionally mined in Sri Lanka, are stunning and mystical gems. These classic moonstones are known for their transparent color and adularescence, or blue sheen. You can find moonstones in other parts of the world, such as Indian, but they usually have a brown, green, or orange color.

Today there are few moonstones from Sri Lanka left, and so those from India, Australia, Madagascar, and the United States remain the more readily available and affordable option.

Moonstone Symbolism

Like the pearl, and suggested by the name, moonstones were associated with Greek lunar deities by the ancient Greeks. In Hindu mythology, moonstones were believed to be formed from actual moonbeams. In the astrological chart, we associate the moonstone with Gemini’s zodiac sign and the qualities of love, passion, and fertility.

How Moonstones Are Formed and Made

Moonstone Rings. June birthstone.
Moonstone Rings

The moonstone has a score of around six on the Mohs hardness scale, which makes it a relatively soft June birthstone. Moonstones are a sodium-potassium aluminum silicate and part of the feldspar group of minerals.

Caring for Your Moonstone Jewelry

Because of their softness, moonstones are prone to scratches and damage, which is the biggest downside to these gemstones. However, it is a popular June birthstone option because of its affordability. To maintain this June birthstone, wash it with a soft brush, soap, and warm water.

Third June Birthstone: Alexandrite

Ring With Alexandrite Side Stones.
Ring With Alexandrite Side Stones

Alexandrite History

The alexandrite ranked among the most modern birthstones for June. Initially discovered in the Ural mountains of Russia. It’s also mined in Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil, but alexandrite jewelry sourced from Russia appears to have the most dramatic incandescent light effect.

Few gems are as rare and expensive as alexandrite. A genuine alexandrite necklace can even be more costly than a diamond necklace. Because of this, most alexandrite jewelry on the market is synthetic alexandrite.

Alexandrite Care

Alexandrite has a hardness of about 8.5 on the Mohs scale. This makes alexandrite tough, resistant to breaks and scratches, and a durable choice for daily wear. This June birthstone can be cleaned with a soft brush, soap, and warm water but is also safe to be cleaned with harsher, more advanced tools.

What Makes Alexandrites Unique

Scarcity and unique color-changing abilities make the alexandrite so fascinating. Very few gems share its incandescent light property. The alexandrite appears bluish-green when exposed to sunlight and turns purple-red under fluorescent light. You may hear it described as “emerald by day, ruby by night.” Sapphire and garnet are the only other gemstones to share this color-changing property.

How to Wear the June Birthstones

Woman Wearing Clean Origin Tennis Necklaces.
Woman Wearing Clean Origin Tennis Necklaces

Which of the three birthstones is your favorite? You may be fond of the traditional look of the pearl or gravitate to the more modern gemstone, the alexandrite. June’s birthstone range gives June babies options for everyday wear and special occasions. Each June birthstone can be worn on its own, together, or with other gemstone jewelry.

Every June birthstone would look amazing with a diamond necklace, but moonstones, in particular, will complement white diamonds. The blue color of a moonstone would also compliment blue topaz or members of the quartz family.

The vivid green of alexandrite would pair well with a fine emerald necklace. Due to its incandescent light effect, its purple-red color would look stunning in contrast to gemstones of the garnet family.

Pearls are available in various colors so that they would pair well with most other gemstones, including fine emeralds, blue topaz, pink tourmaline, moonstone, and alexandrite.

Each Birthstone by Month

Interested in learning more about birthstones? Here’s a list of each birthstone by month.

January BirthstoneGarnet
February BirthstoneAmethyst
March BirthstoneAquamarine
April BirthstoneDiamond
May BirthstoneEmerald
June BirthstonePearl, Moonstone, and Alexandrite
July BirthstoneRuby
August BirthstonePeridot, Spinel, and Sardonyx
September BirthstoneSapphire and Tourmaline
October BirthstoneOpal
November BirthstoneTopaz
December BirthstoneTanzanite, Zircon, and Turquoise