Calling all Gemini (and a few Cancers)! This month is YOUR month to improve your knowledge of your birthstone… or should I say birthstones. June is one of those lucky months designates three birthstones: pearl, alexandrite, and moonstone.
But before we learn about each of these stones, let’s take a look back at the history of birthstones. Western culture dates the story of birthstones back to biblical times, specifically Aaron, a prophet, and Moses’s brother, who was the first high priest of the twelve tribes of Israel. The first century jewish historian, Josephus was the first documented historian who asserted there was a connection between the twelve stones in Aaron’s breastplate, the twelve months of the year, and the twelve zodiac signs. Josephus himself put together the first known list of birthstones, but it wasn’t until 1912 that the National Association of Jewelers put together the first modern list. The reason a few months have multiple gemstones is because the National Association of Jewelers wanted to include more affordable options for the months that had very expensive gemstones… sneaky sneaky.
While western understanding of birthstones is closely derived from biblical stories, eastern cultures have also developed histories of birthstones dating back to ancient civilizations. Ancient Tibetan cultures have a mythology about birthstones, and ancient Indian cultures believed their Ayurvedic birthstones held medicinal effects.
Now that we know more about the history – let’s delve deeper into June’s stones.
The pearl is the most widely acknowledged birthstone for June, and this includes both saltwater and fresh pearls. Pearls are unique because unlike other stones, pearls require no faceting or polishing to reveal their natural luster. Interestingly, most pearls on the market today are cultured, meaning they are not naturally created. The process of culturing involves grafting tissue from a doner mollusk to the inside of another mollusk. The pearl sack then forms around the tissue eventually forming a pearl in about a year. Throughout history, the pearl has been known to be a symbol of purity and innocence.
As you can derive from the table above, Alexandrite is quite a unique specimen! The color changing properties give this stone a sort of magical property. Alexandrite gets it’s name from Czar Alexander II. Rumor has it that Alexandrite was discovered on his birthday. Alexandrite is said to stimulate pleasure and love, and it is also considered to be a lucky stone.
June birthdays are quite lucky – you get all the mystical looking stones! Moonstones are known for their opalescent luster. They seem to glow in your hand. Moonstones are traditionally found in Sri Lanka, but they’ve also been found in the USA, Brazil, Australia and Madagascar. In Indian culture, moonstones are said to give you beautiful dreams at night, while in arabic culture women believe they symbolize fertility. Many westerners believe that they improve your intuition and your capacity to understand, while others believe they provoke intense passion.
Look out for our next birthstone feature: Rubies!