Choosing the right June birthstone

Those born in June are lucky enough to have not one but three birthstones: Pearl, Moonstone, and Alexandrite.  Let’s take a look at each one, along with the factors that might help you choose.

June Birthstone: Pearl

A timeless classic, pearls are as suitable to modern, trendy design as they were to Jacqueline Kennedy.  They are available in a wide range of natural and dyed colors and possess a unique luster that you’ll really only find in a pearl.  They are a very feminine gem.  Another advantage of pearls is that they are available in a wide range of grades and price points, from under $50.00 to thousands for a single pair.  They are suitable for earrings, necklaces, and with care, bracelets.

Now for the downsides.  Pearls are soft, and their shimmering exterior can be scratched easily.  While you will find no shortage of jewelers willing to sell you pearls mounted in rings, I really don’t recommend them for that use unless the ring is for special occasion wear only.  For this reason, they are not a great choice for mother’s or family rings either.

They are an animal product, and while pearls are farmed preventing the destruction of wild oyster populations the pearl is still not a vegan or vegetarian-friendly choice.  Oysters are not kosher as a food, but most individuals who keep kosher are still comfortable wearing pearls.

June Birthstone: Moonstone

Glowing, shifting changeability seems to be the commonality between June’s birthstones, and moonstone is no exception.  A member of the feldspar family, moonstones come in a number of colors.  Blue moonstone and rainbow moonstone both have a whitish base color (clear in particularly high grades) with electric flashes of color that become visible when the stone is rotated in the light.  A good moonstone is spectacular, and even moderate quality stones are very beautiful.

While top stones are not cheap, they are far more affordable than the next birthstone on our list, Alexandrite.   June babies on a budget will be thrilled with a rainbow or blue moonstone of even moderate quality.

Moonstones also come in white, peach, and various shades of gray.  These varieties don’t show the electric “flash” of the others; instead it is replaced with an ethereal internal glow that shimmers and moves with the light.  They are quite affordable and beautiful.

If none of those options appeal, consider the moonstone’s brothers in the feldspar family, Labradorite and spectrolite.  These have a grayish brown to black base color with aurora Borealis-like flashes of color which can include blue, green, gold, copper, and even lavender.

Moonstone is only moderately durable, but is tough enough for ring wear.  While it would not be a good candidate for an engagement ring or other everyday wear ring subject to hard use, it should be fine for most other applications.  I would recommend removing your moonstone ring for sports, gardening, going to the gym, and other potentially damaging activities.

June birthstone: Alexandrite

Alexandrite is one of the rarest and most costly gems on the market.  It is most notable for its ability to change colors depending on the lighting, from green to purple.   It’s the most durable of the June birthstones, and is suitable for everyday, long-term ring wear.  Large stones are a significant investment, but a very small gem won’t break the bank.  In engagement, mother’s, or family rings, consider using two tiny Alexandrite accent stones on either side of a larger gem.

There are numerous substitutes on the market which are often misrepresented as Alexandrite, so be sure you purchase your Alexandrite from a knowledgeable jeweler.  If buying a larger Alexandrite, the cost will run into the thousands of dollars, so getting the gem independently lab certified might be advisable, even though you’ll pay a couple hundred dollars for the service.

If an Alexandrite is out of your budget, consider another color changing stone, color change garnet.  It is also expensive but more attainable than Alexandrite.  Alexandrite is a rare variety of chrysoberyl.  Chrysoberyl is an intensely brilliant gem found primarily in yellow to green shades, and could also be considered as an alternative June birthstone.  If all else fails, there is a lab grown variety of Alexandrite on the market; just don’t confuse it with the cheaper lab grown corundum made to resemble Alexandrite.