“Birthstones” are gemstones represented by our birth month. Everyone of 12 months has its own corresponding gemstones. In this article we will take a deep look at June birthstones, their history, characteristics, meanings and care and cleaning. Let’s go.
Health, peace, wealth and longevity
Pearls known as the “Queen of Jewels” are listed as a birthstone for June and a memorial gemstone for the thirteenth and thirtieth anniversary of marriage. It symbolizes health, peace, wealth, and longevity. Pearls have been loved by people since ancient times and bring good wishes to people who are born in this month.
How are they produced exactly?
Pearls are the only organic gemstone that is bred by living organisms. They are mainly produced in mollusks such as seawater shellfish and freshwater mussels, which due to the stimulation of foreign substances create a mixture of calcium carbonate and hard proteins.
That is to say, the nacre or “mother-of-pearl” wraps the irritant like a protective shell, which later on turn into a pearl. As time goes on, the nacre becomes thicker and the pearl more valuable.
Categories of pearls
According to the genesis, pearls are divided into 2 types: natural and cultured. Nowadays the vast majority of pearls in the market are cultured ones.
Natural pearls are produced without human intervention, generally with a core that comes from the environment, such as gravel. Although pearls have been used as decorations for thousands of years, natural pearls are extremely rare and account for only a small percentage of the total number of pearls traded.
Pearls formed by manual intervention. To grow cultured pearls, the farmer implants individual mantle membranes (usually for freshwater aquaculture) or together with a mother-of-pearl bead (all marine cultures) into the mollusks. As a consequence, the mollusks secrete a pearly nacre to wrap the irritant, which is consistent with the formation of natural pearls.
A cultured pearl farm in near sea area.
Mollusks are organized for easier monitoring.
Cultured pearls can be classified into marine cultured pearls and freshwater cultured pearls, which mainly include Akoya, Tahiti, South Sea pearls and freshwater pearls.
1. Akoya pearls are medium sized and of high quality.
Stimulates used in the implantation process, i.e. the mother of pearl, are called Akoya in Japanese, which can be found in coastal areas in Japan and China. Japan’s Akoya pearls are mainly produced in the Seto Inland Sea including Mie, Hiroshi and Ehime counties. China’s Akoya pearls are mainly produced in Guangxi and Guangdong.
Akoya pearls are generally more than 6mm in diameter, those over 8mm are more popular among high-end consumers.
2. Tahitian pearls are known for their unique and almost luminous color.
Tahitian pearls are the product of seawater black scallops, which are found in French Polynesian islands. Main color of this pearl is very special, sometimes referred to as “eggplant” (dark purple), “pistachio” (yellowish green ) or “peacock” (dark green combined with blue). The size of Tahiti pearls is generally between 9 and 14 mm, the most common being between 9 and 11 mm.
3. South Sea pearls are known for their big size
South Sea pearls refer to the big pearls produced in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Australia and other sea areas, with a size of 8 to 20 mm; the average diameter can reach 13 mm.
4. Freshwater pearls are the most traded in the market
They are usually cultivated in freshwater lakes and ponds, in a variety of sizes, shapes and colours. China and the United States are the main producing areas.
As the most popular gemstone ever, pearls come in a variety of colors, among which we are most familiar with are white and cream (light tan). Black, gray, and silver are also quite common. As a matter of fact, we can find almost every color in pearls.
Pearl jewelry and more
Pearls are said to be a design highlight that never fades in the industry of jewelry. Whether they go as the main character or a supporting role, pearls can always achieve a fine tuning touch.
In addition to being used as a densely chained necklace or a pair of complicated metal earrings, or as an embellishment on the hair, pearls immediately bring out nobleness and elegance in a woman, making the wearer feel like a bride to be married.
Care and cleaning
1. Avoid contact with perfume, oil, salt, alcohol, hair cream, vinegar, organic solvents and dirt in daily life. This is due to the fact that calcium carbonate which is a main component of pearls, has poor chemical stability and is soluble in acid and alkali.
2. Not suitable to wear pearl jewelry when our body is sweating.
3. When not in use, pearls are supposed to be cleaned with a soft, damp cotton cloth and put away . Do not use any cleaning agent; Do not use facial tissues either because the rough surface of the paper will damage the pearls.
4. Do not expose to the sun or bake it. If the pearl “enjoys” the sunlight for a long time, it will also get “tanned”. Unfortunately for pearls, this tanned skin is not a beauty but a damage.
5. Keep the mothball away.
6. Pearls also need fresh air. Even if we don’t wear them often, we should take them out every a few months to let them breathe. Otherwise, a white pearl can easily turn yellow.
7. Use a 1%-1.5% hydrogen peroxide to bleach yellowish pearls after the long wearing. Be careful not to overdo it, otherwise the pearls will lose their luster.
Friendship, love, health, longevity and wealth
Moonstone is a very beautiful gem. It has always been considered as a gift from the moon god to humankind, with its mysterious and irresistible power.
It is said that wearing moonstones when the moon is full, improves our consciousness and the power to feel supernatural forces and, very importantly, helps us meet good lovers.
Therefore, the moonstone is called “lovers’ stones“, due to the fact that it can evoke emotions and passions inside us. Moonstones are a symbol of friendship and love and are the best gift to love.
In some places the moonstone is also called the “travellers’ stone” because it is believed to have the power to protect travellers at night. In certain Asian countries, it is also used as a symbol of “no tears”.
In the United States, the Indians regard moonstones as a “sacred stone”, a commemorative gemstone for the thirteenth anniversary of marriage.
At the same time, the moonstone is also the birthstone for June, symbolising health, wealth and longevity.
Moonstones are usually white or colorless, either transparent or translucent with a light yellow, orange, brown, gray or green, and have a special moonlight effect, hence its name.
This is because the layered cryptolites of the two feldspars intersect in parallel with each other. This slight difference in refractive index scatters visible light. When cleavage planes exist, interference or diffraction can be accompanied.
The surface of the feldspar on light produces a blue floating light. If the layer is thicker, it produces off-white instead, and the glare effect will be not as good.
Care and maintenance
1. Avoid acid and alkali: Moonstone jewellery must not be washed with acid or alkaline liquids; therefore all cosmetics, perfumes, oil stains, etc. should be kept away.
2. Be careful of rubbing: Moonstones have a hardness of 6-6.5, which is a relatively soft material compared to other gemstones, so it is necessary to avoid friction and collision with hard materials to avoid scratches.
3. Don’t collide: Moonstones have two sets of complete cleavage inside, which can be easily broken by external forces. Beauty is fragile and needs careful protection.
It is said that the alexandrite was first found in an emerald mine in Ural, Russia in 1830. The miners dedicated this gem to Prince Alexander II on his 21st birthday.
The prince set this newly discovered bizarre gemstone on his crown and gave it the name “Alexandrite”, or in Russan, “Александрит”.
Emotional well-being, prosperity and longevity
As a birthstone for June, the alexandrite promotes emotional well-being by increasing confidence, self esteem and eventually making the person happy.
It also symbolizes luck, good fortune, prosperity and longevity.
Colors: the alexandrite effect
Under daylight, its color is usually gray-green, light yellow-green or blue-green; but under incandescent light sources, it usually looks maroon or purplish red. That’s why Alexandrites are commonly known as “emeralds during the day, rubies at night“.
The alexandrite contains a small amount of chromium, which makes it the strongest to transmit green light, second strongest to red light, and super strong absorption of all other light.
Therefore, during the daytime under the sunlight, the stone transmits the green light the most, making it appear green. When illuminated by approximately white light which is similar to daylight, it also appears blue.
But at night, when we use red-rich candles, oil lamps, or tungsten filament incandescent lamps, the stone transmits the most red light, so it appears red.
The strong and obvious discoloration of the alexandrite makes it an excellent treasure.
The cat’s eye effect
If the discoloration effect and the cat’s eye effect are combined on a gemstone, it becomes an even more rare and valuable.
How to choose
Since the color of Alexandrite stones is greatly affected by light, many of them are not as bright as other kinds of gemstones. High-quality Alexandrites have a strong red/ green discoloration effect. Alexandrites of such quality are extremely rare and often very expensive.
To choose quality Alexandrites, the first thing to notice is the obvious discoloration. The second is to ensure that the stone is clear enough.
Currently it is rather difficult to find Alexandrites that satisfy both standards, as generally speaking, the more obvious the discoloration is, the more impurities there will be; vice versa, if the stone is almost transparent and flawless, then the discoloration will be weakened.
Up till today Alexandrites in the Ural Mountains, Russia are of the best quality, but currently the production is almost discontinued.
We can also expect a limited number of good quality Alexandrites from Brazil, while Madagascar and Tanzania are offering large scales of average quality ones.
Care and maintenance
Alexandrites have excellent durability due to a hardness of 8.5. This means we can wear the stone with easy and wash with gentle jewelry cleaner solutions.
In the end
Thank you for reading. If this article is helpful to you, comment below to let me know or check other articles on birthstones that we have published.
- January birthstone: Garnet– Protection, Healing, Love and Prosperity
- February birthstone: Amethyst– Honest, Peaceful
- March birthstone: Aquamarine and Blood stone– Calm, Brave, Smart
- April birthstone: Diamonds- Pure and Flawless
- May birthstone: Emerald– Lucky and Happy
- June birthstone: Pearl, Moonstone, Alexandrite– Healthy, Longevity, Richness
- July birthstone: Ruby– Passion, Love, Dignity
- August birthstone: Peridot, Spinel and Sardonyx– Pure, Holy, Protective
- September birthstone: Sapphire– Loving, Honest, Virtuous
- October birthstone: Opal, Tourmaline– Joy, Ease, Blessings
- November birthstone: Citrine, Topaz– Friendship, Hope
- December birthstone: Turquoise, Tanzanite, Zircon– Victory, Luck, Success
Image sources: Mikimoto, GIA, Dogeared, Alexandrite.net