Birthdays in the month of June are celebrated with three birthstone options: pearl, alexandrite, and moonstone. The classic and elegant pearl is the most associated of the three and are extremely versatile with a classic and refined look that stands the test of time. For those seeking an alternative, alexandrite is a beautiful option that change from blue-green during the day to purple-red under incandescent light. Moonstone is a milky, light-altering gemstone that shimmers in a range of colors and is another popular choice. These gemstones range in style, colors, and budgets that can become cherished pieces of your collection.

Pearls are organic gems formed within the living tissue of both fresh and saltwater oysters and mussels. When irritants such as sand enter its shell, the mollusk will begin to produce layers of a substance called nacre to protect themselves from the irritant. As these layers compile, pearls begin to form. Today, most pearls are “cultured”, which means that the irritant (typically mantle tissue or mother of pearl shell) is introduced through human intervention. Over thousands of years of pearl fishing has depleted natural pearl beds, and cultured pearls allow for the mollusks to grow and thrive in an optimal environment free from predators. There are also several types of pearls such as Akoya, Tahitian, South Sea, and Freshwater that will differ in creation and presentation. These pearl types produce incredible pearls in a wide range of sizes, colors, and even shapes. Cultured pearls are now harvested across the globe, but most natural pearls are now found in the Persian Gulf region and Australia.

Pearls have been loved since ancient times and have fascinated by many different cultures throughout history. In Japan, pearls were thought to come from the tears of mermaids and other mythical creatures. China believed they were the prize obtained when slaying a dragon. Hindu cultures believed they were dewdrops that fell from the moon into the sea. In later centuries, the pearl became a symbol of nobility and was worn by the Roman and English elite. In the middle east, it was believed that pearls fostered a long and prosper life. Early Arabian physicians used pearl powder to improve eyesight, quiet tremors, and ease depression. It is also associated with purity, virtue, and faithfulness which make them a popular option for weddings and anniversaries also.

Pearls are a delicate and fragile gemstone that must be given special care. They are a very soft 2.5 to 4.5 on the Mohs scale and are porous making them susceptible to damage from heat and acidity. Even perfumes should be worn with care to avoid coming into contact with your pearl jewelry. Chemicals and cleaning agents should not be used, and perhaps ironically, should not be submerged in water. The optimal method of cleaning is with a soft, damp cloth. It is best to store them separately to avoid scratching them by wrapping them is soft cloth and lying flat. They should not be kept in air-tight containers or zipper bags and are best stored separately from your other jewelry. However, this extra care will ensure your pearls are beautiful for generations to come.

Alexandrite and moonstone are a more modern option than the traditional pearl. Alexandrite is prized for its color-changing properties and can vary from intense reds to deep purples and greens. Found primarily in Brazil, Sri Lanka, and East Africa. Alexandrite is quite rare and are one of the most expensive colored gemstones, but affordable options are available. It is relatively hard and a good choice for rings and can be worn every day. It was named for Russian Prince Alexander II, as tradition believes it was discovered on his birthday. As a relatively modern discovery, there are less mystical and mythical properties than other gemstones but are still believed to be powerful as an encouragement for romance, strength, and hope.

Moonstone is another less traditional but equally intriguing June birthstone choice.  It was named by Roman historian Pliny as he believed is shimmering appearance would shift along with the phases of the moon. It is formed with microscopic layers of feldspar that manipulate light to create a brilliant color effect. Like the pearl, it does have a lower hardness, and is susceptible to cracking. Moonstone can be worn in any setting but is best suited for pendants and earrings to prevent wear and tear. As the gemstone is representative of the moon’s energy, it is believed to promote calm, peace, and balance. It promotes passion between lovers and protection for travelers. Many also believed it was a stone of fertility and sensuality.

Paffrath and Son Jewelers in Willmar, MN has nearly a century of service to the West Central Minnesota area. Our experienced team is passionate about jewelry, and you can rest east knowing that we give our all to ensure our customers are delighted with their jewelry purchase, just as we have for generations. We hope you will visit us and see our in-store selection of pearl jewelry for you or your loved one. We can also order the perfect gem your heart has been dreaming of. In addition, our master in-house jeweler, Jeff Paffrath, will work with you directly to ensure the custom jewelry is designed and constructed to your specifications. Our experts can provide you with the wisdom and experience to select or design a piece that will get noticed, and that you cherish.

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