June’s Birthstone(s) of the Month
Those of you celebrating your birthday in June have a choice of three birthstones: pearls, rhodolite garnet, and alexandrite. Why? Official birthstone lists vary from one source to another. Sometimes it’s a matter of fashion, sometimes it’s about availability. Sometimes it’s just practical. The major gemstone institutions add and remove items from lists as gems become harder to find or as popular tastes change. The versatile rhodolite garnet (a purplish-red stone) and the color-changing alexandrite were added to the June birthstone selection in the 1950s, possibly when mother’s rings became popular. Jewelers may have found it challenging to create settings that combined delicate pearls along with sturdier gemstones in these rings that feature the birthstones of each of the mother’s children in one setting.
The lovely pearl comes in an abundance of sizes, colors, and shapes – all determined by the conditions in which they are formed. The lustrous orbs develop inside the bodies of oysters or mussels in response to an irritant – either a grain of sand or, in the case of a cultured pearl, a small bead. To soothe this irritant, the mollusk secretes layers of nacre until the small speck becomes a pearl – a process that takes about two years, depending on the size of the sphere. In our showcases, you will find colors from classic white and cream to the more exotic brown, gray, and black Tahitian pearls.
Alexandrite stones hold what gemologists call a phenomenon or an unusual optical effect. This color changer appears green when viewed in natural sunlight or fluorescent light and has a reddish appearance under incandescent light. This rare and recent find was uncovered by Russian miners in 1830 in the Ural Mountains. Those deposits soon ran dry and now most alexandrite comes from Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil. Its show-stopping personality is center stage in our front jewelry case this month.
June’s other birthstone is the rhodolite garnet. Spectrums of chemical compositions create the garnet family and represent almost every color of the rainbow, from the traditional reddish-brown to the reddish-purples of the rhodolite. First discovered in North Carolina in the late 1890s, rhodolite garnet is now sourced from around the world – Sri Lanka, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar, and India. Stop by and see the beautiful rings we have available.