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Birthstones – June

Pearl, Moonstone, and Alexandrite. A cute array of white, rainbow, and purples, June is one of only three months (the others being December and August). with three birthstones, creating a beautiful array of choice for every June babies style and budget. The months that are lucky enough to have more than a singular birthstone, these are separated into two lists: Modern and Traditional. The more common of the two is the modern birthstones, which were defined in 1912 by the Jewelers of America in an attempt to standardise (and commercialise) birthstones. This was further updated in the 1950s, to include gemstones such as Citrine for November, or Alexandrite for June. Modern stones are based on what’s easier to sell in large quantities (making it the more affordable choice).

BVLA – Raine
Rainbow Moonstone


Pearl is the only birthstone that is organic, which means it is formed by a living organism instead of long periods over time in the earth. Pearls come from shelled Molluscs , where they deposit layers of calcium carbonate around microscopic irritants – typically believed to be a grain of sand – that get lodged in their shells. Each species produces distinctive looking gems that are characterised by very specific ranges of colour and size. Technically, any shelled mollusc can make a pearl, only two groups of bivalve molluscs (or clams) use mother-of-pearl to create the iridescent “nacreous” pearls that are valued in jewellery. These rare gemstones don’t require any polishing to reveal their natural lustre. Mother-of-pearl is also known as Nacre, and is is an organic–inorganic composite material produced by some molluscs as an inner shell layer. The same material of which pearls are composed. It is strong, resilient, and iridescent.

Pearls were once an incredibly rare gemstone and were accidentally discovered by divers foraging for food. These pearl-bearing molluscs live in salt-water or freshwater environments. They do not thrive in polluted environments. In 1893, the Japanese innovator ‘Kokichi Mikimoto’ discovered the process of growing pearls through ‘culturing’. The new ability to increase pearls instantly made them accessible across the market at a much more reasonable price. Salt-water cultured pearls are now being grown across the world. These farms are typically found away from socialisation and very breath-taking scenery, such as the southern coats of Japan and China. As a result of culturing, the rarest and most expensive pearls are natural pearls that have grown without any human interference.

Because pearls are made of Nacre, their colour will be the same as the same colour displayed by the animal they grew in. Typically soft and inviting, Pearl is commonly white or cream coloured. However, due to breeding pearls can now be found in a variety of hues, such as pinks and oranges, to exciting blues and greens. You can also find black, gold silver and grey on the market as a common colour. These pearls are typically from cultured from freshwater and are dyed. Black pearls are incredibly rare in the wild and so are mostly cultured, but surprisingly they aren’t actually ‘black’, but rather green, purple, blue and silver!

These milky-white stones have long been associated with purity, humility, and innocence – traditionally being given as a wedding gift. They are still used to celebrate the third and thirteenth wedding anniversary! Due to their rarity, elegance, and colour, they have been a symbol of wealth and luxury throughout their history. People also thought pearls brought a range of health benefits, such as curing depression and improving poor eyesight. While we can’t necessarily agree now a days, it’s definitely food for thought!

On the Moh’s scale of hardness, pearls are incredibly lowing, ranging from 2.5-3. This makes them incredibly soft and fragile. They can become easily damaged, especially if stored in plastic bags or exposed to chemicals. If stored in bank vaults, the extra dry air can cause them to dry out over extended periods of time. There is a saying around pearl jewellery that it must be the last thing you put on (even after makeup and hair products) and the first thing you take off. The best way to clean pearl jewellery is very lightly, with a slightly damp cloth. after each wear.

Pearls are relatively rare in body jewellery – Currently only BVLA works with genuine White Pearls!
Cosmic BVLA Pearl cabochons.


Alexandrite is the second birthstone for June! Often described as ‘Emerald by day and Ruby by night’ because of it’s contrasting colours, Alexandrite is a rare variety of the mineral Chrysoberyl. The most prized stones show a deep dark green in fluorescent lighting and a sharp intense purple to red colour in incandescent lighting. The colour change is due to an uncommon chemical composition which includes traces of the same colouring agent found in Emerald – Chromium. It is the unlikelihood of the combination of these chemicals that makes this stone one of the rarest and most expensive gems on the earth. This isn’t the only thing interesting about Alexandrite, there is also another phenomenon with this stone. When long and thin inclusions (Inclusions are solids, liquids, or gases that are trapped in minerals) are parallel to each other, they can create the Cats-eye effect (also known as Chatoyancy). This is an optical reflection effect that makes the viewer see a band of light across the stone.

This mystical stone is relatively modern, but there is claims it was discovered in 1834 on the same day that future Russian Czar Alexander II came of age and therefore it was named in his honour, originally discovered and mined in Russian Emerald mines in the Ural mountains. These were eventually mined out, and now most Alexandrite is mined in Brazil, East Africa, and Sri Lanka.  These newer deposits contain some high grade stones, but many display less-precise colour changes and duller tones than the 19th century Russian alexandite’s. Because of its scarcity, especially in larger sizes, fine-quality alexandrite is one of the most expensive coloured gems on the market.

Chrysoberyl mining at Corrego do Fogo near Malacacheta, Brazil.
Courtesy: ICA

In contrast to its Opal counterpart, Alexandrite is relatively hard, scoring a 8.5on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness. With no cleavage (the weakest plane in a gemstone where it can split) it is an incredibly tough stone, making it a great stone for everyday wear and to gift. Despite ultrasonics and steam cleaners being a great way to clean this stone, it is still always best to use warm soapy water and a soft cloth.


BVLA – Rose Cut Rainbow Moonstone

Moonstone, believed to bring great luck, is known for it’s vibrant, natural and optical effect similar to the bright appearance of the moon on a cloudless evening. This affect is known as adularescence. This happens because Moonstone is composed of microscopic layers of feldspar that scatter light. The best moonstones show a blue gleam over a transparent (colourless) background. The thinner layers of feldspar produce the blue while the thicker layers will look white. Despite this, this birthstone comes in a vast array of colours, including pinks, yellow, grey, peachy and greens. Sometimes, they can even produce a star or a cats eye!

Moonstone has associated with both Roman and Greek Lunar Deities (not surprising considering its long term history of comparison with the moon). This is again seen through Hindu mythology, which claims this stone is made of solid moonbeams! It is also known for it’s common associations with love, passion and fertility. During the Art Nouveau Movement between the 1890’s and 1910, many great artists and designers used moonstone in their fine jewellery, such as  René Lalique and Louis Comfort Tiffany. Moonstone peaked interest in the market again during the 1960s “flower child” movement alongside the New Age designers of the 1990s.

The most common Moonstone on the jewellery market comes from the mineral adularia, named for an early mining site near Mt. Adular in Switzerland. Moonstone is now mined in a variety of, most commonly in places such as The United States, New Mexico and North Carolina. However, the most important ones are found in Sri Lanka, Brazil, India and Madagascar.

This birthstone falls in the middle of Alexandrite and Pearls, earning itself a 6-6.5 on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness, making it prone to stress cracking . It has poor toughness, and can crack when exposed to high heat, therefore making ultrasonics and steam cleaners unsuitable methods to clean this stone. Instead, you should use mild soapy and warm water, and a very gentle toothbrushes. Baby toothbrushes are great due to their soft bristles. Care is always recommended with any stone.

BVLA – Rainbow Moonstone

We stock jewellery from brands from across the world such as the December Birthstone, and can source items in all birthstones imaginable! If you would like to treat yourself to some meaningful pieces, just get in contact with us.

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