BIRTHSTONE OF THE MONTH
June Birthstones: Alexandrite & Pearl
Kevin O’Neill, Award Winning Goldsmith & Lapidary Artist
1 June 2017
Alexandrite is one of the birthstones for June. With its chameleon-like qualities, it is a rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl.
Its color can be a lovely green in daylight or fluorescent light, changing to brownish or purplish red in the incandescent light from a lamp or candle flame. This is a result of the complex way the mineral absorbs light.
Alexandrite’s dramatic color change is sometimes described as “emerald by day, ruby by night.” Other gems also change color in response to a light-source change, but this gem’s transformation is so striking that the phenomenon itself is often called “the alexandrite effect.”
This gem’s transformation in response to light-source change is so striking that the phenomenon itself is often called “the alexandrite effect.
June’s birthstones range from creamy-colored opalescent pearl to the rare color-changing alexandrite—one of the most valuable gems on earth.
Pearl—natural or cultured—is also a birthstone for June. Perhaps the best-loved gems of all time, pearls—both natural and modern cultured pearls—occur in a wide variety of colors.
The most familiar colors are white and cream (a light yellowish brown). Black, gray, and silver are also fairly common, but the palette of pearl colors extends to every hue. The main color, or body color, is often modified by additional colors called overtones, which are typically pink (sometimes called rosé), green, purple, or blue. Some pearls also show the iridescent phenomenon known as orient.
Some pearls also show the iridescent phenomenon known as orient.