The official birthstones we're familiar with today were designated in 1912 by the National Association of Jewelers in the United States. Before then, though, the idea of birthstones had already been around for centuries, dating back to biblical times. In the book of Exodus (28:17-20), for instance, it's written that 12 gemstones were fixed on the prophet Aaron's breastplate. "There were 12 stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the 12 tribes," it says
And as Ashley Leavy, founder and educational director of the Love and Light School of Crystal Therapy, previously explained to mbg, birthstones also have roots in Western astrology and Ayurveda. In fact, she says, the reason the National Association of Jewelers standardized all the American birthstones just over 100 years ago was because so many different traditions had different birthstone options for each month.
Nowadays, birthstones remain popular as a go-to gift option for birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and more.
If you're born in June, you're in luck, as June is one of just three months in the year (along with August and December) that has three birthstones. Those stones are pearl, alexandrite, and moonstone, and each has its own history and spiritual significance.
As far as which one June babies should claim as their own, it's a personal decision, as Leavy always recommends working with stones you feel a resonance or connection with. If you're looking to purchase a birthstone gift for someone else, learning more about the meaning and symbolism behind each should help you pick.
The only gemstone formed by a living creature (the oyster), pearls are often thought of as the primary birthstone for June. According to crystal expert and founder of Goldirocks, Yulia Van Doren, pearls are made of calcium carbonate, just like the shells of the oysters they come from.
"Though they're not made through geologic processes, we do still use pearls in crystal healing," Leavy tells mbg. "They do have a long, long history of traditional use and lore," she adds.
As Van Doren previously explained to mbg, pearls serve as reminders that it's often the most difficult things in life that transform us the most beautifully. "Just as it takes a mollusk much time and effort to transform a grain of sand into a pearl, it also takes us a lot of time and dedicated soul work to transform our greatest challenges into priceless radiance," she explains.
And as Leavy adds, pearls also have a strong association with the moon. "This association makes sense because it literally looks like a tiny moon—it's brilliant, and shining, and lustrous," she says, adding, "the ancient Greeks and Romans believed this stone was actually formed from the light of the moon."
In astrology, the moon also rules the sign of Cancer, further connecting it to the month of June. (Cancer season begins toward the end of June.) It's also associated with Monday or "moon day," Leavy says, so it's "particularly auspicious to work with pearl Mondays."
Because pearls (both natural and cultivated) can run a bit pricey, Leavy tells mbg that more affordable mother of pearl is a good option to substitute as well.
The main thing to remember when caring for pearls is to store them in a pouch or jewelry box where they'll be protected, and further, to shield them from any acids (such as perfume) while wearing them.
Things like hair spray or other cosmetics can tarnish them, so keep that in mind too. And if you do want to give your pearls a cleaning, simply wiping them with a cotton cloth will do the trick.
Next up we have alexandrite, which, Leavy says, is becoming increasingly rare in its natural form and is "prohibitively expensive." There are a lot of fakes out there, she notes, adding to be wary of where you're purchasing yours.
Alexandrite is a color-changing variety of chrysoberyl, achieving its optical phenomenon thanks to "pleochroism." (Pleochroism basically happens when something changes color, depending on the light and angles.) "Because of its ability to totally change color, it can go from a reddish purple to a greenish color," Leavy tells mbg.
Take alexandrite's color-changing quality as a direct symbol of this stone's meaning. "It's best known for helping you go with the flow and adapt to new people, situations, and circumstances," Leavy explains, adding it also supports you as you work on personal development, personal growth, and working through tough emotions.
Further, "If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation that you're not a fan of, it allows you to make the best of things in the meantime," she says. Then, as you're creating time and space to sort things out or come up with a backup plan, alexandrite can even bring clarity and messages through to you about how to deal with the situation.
"It helps you take those emotions and direct them in a really useful and productive way by taking action," Leavy notes. And because of this, in modern crystal healing, alexandrite is also associated with promoting positive change and transformation.
Because this is a pricier stone, Leavy says you could substitute it with another variety of chrysoberyl, such as cat's eye chrysoberyl, to achieve a similar spiritual effect.
Alexandrite is a relatively hard stone, which means it can be cleansed with warm soapy water and the water won't damage it. That'll do the trick for a literal cleaning, but if you're thinking more about energetic clearing or cleansing, any of your preferred methods of cleansing would work, such as moonlight, sound, or even your breath. (Check out our full guide to cleansing crystals for more options.)
Last but certainly not least, we have moonstone, which is a gemstone of sodium potassium aluminium silicate, belonging to the feldspar group of minerals. The purest moonstone you'll find is colorless/translucent with a slightly blue sheen, making it appear almost lit from within, though Leavy adds there's also black moonstone, tangerine, peach, apricot, rainbow, and more.
In Eastern cultures, it's been thought of as a symbol of good luck for generations and was used in jewelry in ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. It was also closely tied to lunar spirituality and deities, feminine energy, and even fertility.
Thinking back to Cancer's association with the moon, this is another stone that was aptly chosen for the month of June. And as Leavy tells mbg, moonstone is best known balancing emotions: "It connects with the element of water and with the moon, so it's deeply entwined with the emotions and intuition and it really helps bring out this ebb and flow of your inner emotional compass," she explains.
Not only that, but when emotions get turbulent, moonstone can help you "ride the waves," so to speak. "It really helps you step into your own tenderness and become really nurturing of yourself and of others, and it helps you open up to your intuition and be guided by your own inner guidance," Leavy adds.
If you're into any sort of moon rituals or water rituals, she also notes this is the stone to incorporate. "It's great for actually facilitating and enhancing a connection with the energies of the moon," she notes, adding it can "open you up to the influences of the water element, which is deeply connected with emotions, intuition, and cleansing."
And you can work with this stone the entire month of June, not just Cancer season, because according to Leavy, moonstone is also associated with Gemini (and Gemini season runs through the beginning of June), as well as Scorpio.
Similar to alexandrite, any of your preferred cleansing or clearing techniques will work for this crystal. However, given its association with the moon, using moonlight to cleanse or charge up your moonstone seems like the obvious choice.
Nevertheless, go for whatever technique you most prefer, and of course, be sure to store it somewhere safe when you're not using it to avoid any tarnishing.
June babies were blessed with not one, but three gorgeous birthstones, each with its own meaning and benefit. So whether you or someone you know was born in June, consider incorporating these crystals into a gift—or your personal spiritual practice.
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