June Birthstones Pearl, Alexandrite, and Moonstone
Pearl is an organic gem and the traditional birthstone for the month of June. There are three basic types of pearls: 1) natural pearls, which form naturally within the shell of a living mollusk; 2) cultured pearls, which are propagated by people by inserting a "seed" into a mollusk shell with the intent that the mollusk will deposit layers of nacre around it; and, 3) imitation pearls, which are usually plastic beads with a lustrous coating applied. Most pearls in today's market are cultured pearls, which are very affordable when compared to natural pearls, and make a much nicer gift than imitation pearls. Most jewelry stores sell pearl jewelry, most often with cultured pearls.
Alexandrite is a color-change variety of chrysoberyl that appears as different colors under daylight and incandescent illumination. Pictured here is a faceted specimen of color-change alexandrite of 26.75 carats from Tanzania, showing a blue-green color in daylight and a purple-red color under incandescent light. Natural alexandrite of good color and clarity is an extremely expensive gem, however, lab-created alexandrite can be found in many jewelry stores. Some of the lab-grown alexandrite has a spectacular appearance!
Moonstone is a Feldspar mineral that produces a "pearly" luster when light enters the stone and is reflected by mineral layers within the gem. Moonstone is most often a white or gray color with a glow that is white or silvery - like the glow of the moon (that's how it got its name!). Moonstone also occurs in pink, orange, near-colorless and other colors. Rare moonstones produce a blue or a multicolored glow. These are called "rainbow moonstones" and they are market favorites.