What’s the Birthstone for June?

Written By Allie Perry June 8, 2024

While most months celebrate one specific gem as the birthstone, June celebrates two - pearl and alexandrite. Each beautiful in their own right, these gems offer two drastically different looks…and a bit of color-change magic!

Let’s talk about pearls first. Pearls are unique among gemstones as they are created by living organisms.

There are several varieties of pearls:

1. Akoya Pearls: Known for their high luster and classic white color, Akoya pearls are primarily farmed in Japan and China.

2. South Sea Pearls: These are the largest and most valuable pearls, cultivated in the warm waters of Australia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. They come in shades of white, silver, and gold.

3. Tahitian Pearls: Often referred to as black pearls, Tahitian pearls come in a range of colors, including gray, blue, green, and purple. They are primarily farmed in French Polynesia.

4. Freshwater Pearls: These pearls are usually cultivated in freshwater lakes and rivers, predominantly in China. They come in a wide array of shapes and colors, including white, pink, lavender, and peach.

Historic symbolic meanings of pearls:

Throughout history, pearls have been associated with purity, wisdom, and wealth. In ancient cultures, they were often considered the ultimate symbol of perfection and incorruptibility. Despite the many positive connotations, pearls are also the focus of many myths and superstitions:

  • Tears of the Gods - In ancient Greek mythology, pearls were believed to be the tears of the gods, specifically Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. They were seen as symbols of purity and divine sorrow.
  • Bad Luck in Weddings - A common superstition is that giving pearls as a wedding gift brings bad luck, as the pearls represent tears that the bride will shed in her marriage. This belief is prevalent in various cultures and has led some brides to avoid wearing pearls on their wedding day.
  • Protection Against Evil - In ancient China, pearls were believed to protect against fire and dragons. Wearing pearls was thought to bring safety and protection, and they were often used as talismans.
  • Enhancing Fertility - In some cultures, pearls are associated with fertility and rebirth. Women struggling to conceive have worn pearls to enhance their fertility and increase their chances of bearing children.
  • Healing Power - Pearls have been believed to possess healing properties. They were thought to cure diseases and ailments, particularly those related to the heart, stomach, and intestines. Some cultures believed that pearls could help calm nerves and ease anxiety.
  • Symbol of Wealth and Status - Historically, pearls have been symbols of wealth and social status. In ancient Rome, only the elite and ruling classes were permitted to wear pearls, reinforcing their association with power and prosperity.
  • Bringing Tears and Sorrow - A widely held superstition is that wearing pearls can bring sorrow and tears to the wearer. This belief is especially strong in Western cultures, where pearls are sometimes thought to symbolize future sadness.
  • Pearls in the Oyster's Mouth - Finding a pearl in an oyster is considered a good omen and a sign of prosperity. It’s believed to bring good fortune and abundance to the finder.
  • Warding Off Evil Spirits - In some Eastern cultures, pearls are believed to ward off evil spirits and negative energy. Wearing pearls is thought to protect the wearer from harm and misfortune.
  • Connection to the Moon - Due to their luminous, moon-like appearance, pearls are often associated with the moon. Some cultures believe that pearls are formed from moonlight and that they hold the moon’s magical properties.

You can see that these superstitions vary wildly and even contradict each other, but they also add an aura of mystique to pearls and highlight the gemstone’s enduring significance across different cultures and eras.

Care and Maintenance for Pearls

Pearls are delicate and require special care to maintain their luster:

  • Avoid Chemicals: Pearls are sensitive to acids, perspiration, and cosmetics. Always put on pearls after applying makeup and perfume.
  • Gentle Cleaning: Since pearls are sensitive to chemicals, you should only clean them when it's absolutely necessary. Most of the time, you can use a very soft rag to simply wipe them clean. If the silk that they're strung on needs cleaning, the best thing to do is soak them in a detergent made for delicates, like Woolite. Just mix a table spoon of Woolite and 1/2 cup water, and let the strand soak for a few minutes. Then rinse them clean and lay them flat until they are completely dry. 
  • Proper Storage: Store pearls in a soft cloth or pouch, away from other jewelry to prevent scratches. You should always store your pearls flat to prevent the silk from stretching out.
  • Regular Wear: Pearls benefit from being worn as the natural oils from your skin help maintain their sheen. However, wipe them with a soft cloth after wearing to remove any residues.

If you’d prefer to use a more colorful stone for your June birthstone, Alexandrite is the way to go.

Alexandrite is a rare and unique gemstone known for its remarkable (and magical) color-changing properties! The most valued alexandrite displays a vivid green to bluish-green hue in daylight and a red to purplish-red hue under incandescent light. 

My first experience with alexandrite was at a job where I did jewelry repairs all day every day. I sized a ring at my bench that very clearly had a green stone in it…GREEN. I then took it into the next room to polish it on the buffing wheel which had its own lightbulb, different from the lighting where my bench was. Imagine my surprise when I looked down at the ring and the stone was now purple!

I was instantly the human embodiment of total and utter confusion.

I looked up from the now purple stone to see my boss giggling in the doorway. He’d correctly assumed I’d never seen an alexandrite and played a little joke on me by not warning me about the color change. We both had a laugh, and to this day I think of that moment every time I see an alexandrite.

Varieties of Alexandrite

1. Natural Alexandrite: Mined primarily in Russia, Brazil, and Sri Lanka, natural alexandrite is incredibly rare and highly prized. This rarity also brings a high price tag.

2. Synthetic Alexandrite: Lab-grown alexandrite offers a more affordable option while still displaying the gem’s signature color change.

Historic symbolic meanings of alexandrite:

Alexandrite’s striking color change has fascinated people since its discovery in the 1830s in Russia’s Ural Mountains and has sparked several symbolic meanings:

  • Transformation and Balance: The dual colors of alexandrite represent the balance between the physical and spiritual realms, making it a symbol of transformation and adaptability.
  • Good Fortune and Love: In Russian folklore, alexandrite is considered a stone of good omen, believed to bring luck and love to the wearer.
  • Intuition and Creativity: The gemstone is also associated with enhancing creativity and intuition, helping to stimulate the imagination. Magic color-change tends to do that.

Care and Maintenance for Alexandrite

Despite its hardness, alexandrite still requires careful handling to preserve its beauty:

  • Avoid Rough Handling: Although alexandrite is quite hard (8.5 on the Mohs scale), it can still be chipped or scratched if not handled with care.
  • Gentle Cleaning: Clean alexandrite with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid harsh chemicals and ultrasonic cleaners.
  • Proper Storage: Store alexandrite jewelry separately in a soft pouch or lined box to prevent contact with other harder gemstones.

So whether you’re drawn to the classic elegance of pearls or the magical color shifting of alexandrite, June’s birthstones provide you with two beautiful choices!

If you'd like more in-depth information about each birthstone including meaning and history, where these stones can be found in nature, and proper care and cleaning, be sure to explore this article from the Gemological Institute of America!


Allie is the owner and goldsmith behind Allie Perry Designs.

Learn more about her here, or connect with her on Instagram!

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