The birthstones for June usually show up as multiple choice—Alexandrite, Pearl, Moonstone and more. Add to that the choices for Gemini (May 21 to June 22)—Agate, Chalcedony, Amber. Let’s sort out this rock pile.
First, Alexandrite is an absolutely beautiful green-to-red color-phasing gem. Discovered in 1830 in Russia, it is an extremely rare combination of chrysoberyl and chromium, creating its striking colors and hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs Scale. The original source has been mined out, and while it is found in a few other locations, the colors are considered much weaker. I personally have only seen lab-created Alexandrites, which phase from purple to teal. Because it is a more modern gem, it was a new addition to the jeweler’s list of birthstones and doesn't appear in historical or zodiac sources. Alexandrite is a “buyers-beware” stone. If it doesn’t color-change, it is considered chrysoberyl.
Pearl is the only ‘gemstone” created by living creatures (I.e. oysters, clams). When something uncomfortable like a grain of sand gets inside their shell, they coat it with calcium carbonate to make it smooth, thus creating a lustrous pearl. With development of cultured pearls in the early 1900s, they have become an affordable gem option. This is especially true of fresh water pearls, which are widely available and identified by their slightly irregular shapes. While not associated with the Gemini Zodiac sign, pearls have been a beautiful symbol of truth and purity since ancient times. Pearls are soft and porous, making them unsuitable for daily wear, such as in rings.
Moonstone is the Zodiac birthstone of Cancer (June 22-July 21), whose ruling “planet” is the Moon. We will discuss moonstones in depth in next month’s article.
Agates (Banded Chalcedony) have long been associated with Gemini—the Zodiac sign of the twins. Given its beauty and wide variety of colors, there is always an agate choice that can support a Gemini’s high intellect, help them take decisive action and stay balanced without taking away from their fun nature. For example, blue lace agates are calming and self-worth supporting, yellow banded agates are abundance supporting, green moss agates are considered healing and represent a connection with nature, and the list goes on. Agates are just below quartz on the hardness scale, and can be suitable for frequent wear if properly set.
Amber has also long been associated with Gemini. Amber is another “gemstone” that is not actually a crystal, but instead it is fossilized pine (conifer) sap. Since ancient times, it has been respected as a “healing” stone, and for Geminis it might represent the healing between the multiple sides of their natures. While it was common for tiny impurities such as bits of dust or grass to become stuck in the sap before it fossilized, it is extremely rare to find insects. Amber is a beautiful jewel, but it is also on my list of “Most Commonly Faked” stones. Manufacturers misrepresent amber-colored plastic resin as Amber the gem. So stick with reputable sources,. Amber is also a soft gem, not suitable for heavy wear.
How wonderful to have so many beautiful choices for the month of June and sign of Gemini!