June Birthstones: Alexandrite, Moonstone and Pearl

Alexandrite,

A relatively modern gem, Alexandrite, was first discovered in Russia in 1831 during the reign of its namesake, Czar Alexander II, and is an extremely rare chrysoberyl with chameleon-like qualities.  Its color is a lovely green in both daylight and fluorescent light; it changes color to a purplish red in incandescent light.

Alexandrite Diamond White Gold RingWhite gold diamond and 1.20 ct Alexandrire emerald cut ring

 

Due to its rarity, some jewelers stock synthetic versions of this enchanting gemstone.  (Synthetic gemstones are man-made alternatives to the natural material, possessing the same physical, optical, and chemical properties as the natural gemstone.)

Moonstone,

The third birthstone for June is the Moonstone.  It was given its name by the Roman natural historian Pliny, who wrote that moonstone’s appearance altered with the phases of the moon — a belief that held until well after the sixteenth century.  A phenomenal gemstone, moonstones show a floating play of light (called adularescence) and sometimes show either a multirayed star or a cat’s eye. Considered a sacred stone in India, moonstones often are displayed on a background of yellow (a sacred color) and are believed to encapsulate within the stone a spirit whose purpose is to bring good fortune.  Part of the family of minerals called feldspar, moonstone occurs in many igneous and metamorphic rocks and comes in a variety of colors such as green, blue, peach, and champagne.

 

PLATINUM MOONSTONE DIAMOND EARRINGS Mauboussin

Mauboussin pair of platinum earrings with eight cabochon moonstones weighing approximately 23.75 carats, accented by round diamonds weighing approximately 8.45 carats (Click photo to enlarge).

The most prized moonstones are from Sri Lanka; India, Australia, the United States, Mayanmar, and Madagascar are also sources.

 

Pearl,

Historically, pearls have been used as an adornment for centuries.  They were one of the favorite gem materials of the Roman Empire; later in Tudor England, the 1500s were known as the pearl age. Pearls are unique as they are the only gems from living sea creatures and require no faceting or polishing to reveal their natural beauty.

Coco Chanel & Serge Lifar, 1937

Coco Chanel’s favorite: Pearls

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan Yvette Labrousse

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan and her famous pearl necklace

cartier Pearl Ruby Nacklace Elizabeth Taylor

Cartier, La Peregrina Necklace, 1972
La Peregrina a natural late 16th century pearl weighting 202.24 grains or 50.56 cts, 56 natural pearls, 4 cultured pearls, diamonds, rubies. Detachable pendant may also be worn as a brooch

Designed by Elizabeth Taylor with Al Durante of Cartier.

In the early 1900s, the first successful commercial culturing of round saltwater pearls began. Since the 1920s, cultured pearls have almost completely replaced natural pearls in the market.

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