June's Bonus Birthstones: Moonstone and Alexandrite

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June's Bonus Birthstones: Moonstone and Alexandrite

Lucky June babies have not one birthstone, but three! The two alternate birthstones for June are moonstone and alexandrite, although moonstone is the preferred June birthstone in parts of the world like Germany and Scandinavia.

Pearl in oyster shell, moonstone and Alexandrite gemstones.

Pliny, the Roman natural historian, coined the name of moonstone when he wrote that its shimmery appearance shifted with the phases of the moon—a belief that held until well after the sixteenth century. Moonstone can vary in color from clear to blue-white or peach, and was considered by ancient civilizations to be a sacred stone. Some believed that the moonstone could even make a person invisible!

Florida adopted moonstone as its official state gem in 1970 to commemorate the Apollo 11 moon landing and other spaceflights that launched from Florida – even though moonstone is not naturally found in Florida or on the moon.

The second alternate birthstone for June is the Alexandrite.  A brownish green in color, this gemstone has the unique characteristic of changing color to a red hue depending on the light.  Because of this quality, it  has been characterized by poets as "an emerald by day, a ruby by night." Alexandrite was first found in Russia's Ural Mountains, where its Finnish discoverer mistook it for emerald until he realized that it changed color under different light sources.

According to legend, this gemstone was named for Alexander II because it was discovered on the future czar’s birthday in 1834. Because alexandrite’s red and green hues matched Russia’s military colors, it became the official gemstone of Imperial Russia’s Tsardom. It is a rare and expensive gemstone, symbolic of joy and good fortune.