By Robin Skibicki
Those born in June celebrate their special month with three beautiful birthstones: the luminous pearl, enchanting alexandrite and magical moonstone.
Pearls are the only gemstone in the world that comes from a living organism, and can be found in both saltwater and freshwater. Whether natural or cultured, a pearl forms when a mollusk produces layers of nacre (pronounced NAY-kur) around any type of irritant inside its shell. In natural pearls, the irritant may be another organism from the water. In cultured pearls, a mother-of-pearl bead or a piece of tissue is inserted (by man) into the mollusk to start the process. There are also different types of mollusks that produce very different looking pearls.
For centuries, pearls have been a symbol of beauty and purity. Today, they are regarded as both classic and contemporary, coming in many more fashionable styles than your grandmother’s traditional strand of pearls.
This variety of color change chrysoberyl is extremely rare, placing the alexandrite in its own mineral group. When this remarkable stone is viewed in daylight or fluorescent light, it appears green or blueish green. When seen under incandescent lighting, it morphs to a purplish red.
Due to its rarity, some jewelers stock synthetic versions of this chameleon-like gemstone. Synthetic gemstones are man-made alternatives to the natural material, possessing the same physical, optical, and chemical properties as the natural gemstone.
Alexandrite is a relatively modern gem, first discovered in Russia around 1831 during the reign of its namesake, Czar Alexander II. Although alexandrite has a short history, it is has been associated with good fortune, enhanced creativity and focus.
The photos below are key examples of the incredible color-changing properties of the alexandrite. OMI Privé‘s, Niveet Nagpal, designed this bewitching brooch named “Alexis.” Each photo shows the same brooch under both color phases.
The lizard’s body is 18K white gold, and the back is made up of 6.06 ctw of alexandrite rough. The eyes are tsavorite, the mouth is ruby, and the entire piece is accented with diamonds, alexandrites and black diamonds. A work of art!
A phenomenal gemstone, moonstones show a floating play of light (called adularescence) and occasionally show either a multi-rayed star or a cat’s eye. They are part of the family of minerals called feldspar and occur in many igneous and metamorphic rocks. Moonstone is a translucent stone that comes in a variety of colors, such as white, gray, green, blue, peach and champagne. The most popular is the rainbow moonstone, which is an iridescent white or gray displaying a blue sheen in the light. To enhance the adularescence, moonstone is often cut into a smooth cabochon shape.
Moonstone lore appears in varying cultures over the centuries, each associating its mesmerizing properties with goddesses, psychic abilities, femininity and motherhood, calming, protection, health and good fortune. Here are some exquisite designs featuring the magnificent moonstone.
If you’re in search of pearl, alexandrite or moonstone jewelry, visit our Find a Jeweler search for an AGS credentialed jeweler near you.