[caption id="attachment_777" align="aligncenter" width="323"]Pearl and Alexandrite together create a stunning piece of jewelry. Photo via http://ow.ly/NSvAN Pearl and Alexandrite together create a stunning piece of jewelry. Photo via http://ow.ly/NSvAN[/caption]

June is a month that represents the beginning of summer, warm evenings, and vacations to the beach. It's such a nice month, that there are two different stones that have been named its birthstone. The pearl and alexandrite are two totally different stones that represent the warm month that brings us summertime fun. If you are lucky enough to be born in the month of June, you have choices when it comes to bearing your beautiful birthstone.

The Pearl

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A natural pearl can take different shapes. Whether it is pear-shaped, round, or irregularly shaped, a natural pearl is formed when layers and layers of nacre form around any type of irritant within a mussel, oyster, or any living mollusk. This can be a grain of sand or even another sea creature that has gotten into the mollusk. The pearl can be created in both fresh water and salt water. Freshwater pearls can be found in some rivers and lakes, while salt water pearls are found in the ocean.

Better quality pearls should be smooth to the touch and should have no markings or indentions. Cultured pearls are made in a similar manner, but the irritant, a bead, is put there with the intention of the mollusk growing the pearl. This is usually done at a pearl farm facility. The actual pearl color is created according to the color of the inside of the mollusk shell. Pearls range in color from white to black.

It is more common to see cultivated pearls. Natural pearls are harder to come by, partly because of the mollusk not having enough time in the water to cultivate the pearl to a wearable size. Natural disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes have made it difficult for natural pearls to grow. Water pollution is yet another reason they are harder to harvest naturally.

The Alexandrite

Alexandrite was first discovered by a French miner in the early 1800s. Initially, it was believed to be an emerald, because it was found in one of the emerald mines in Russia. When, because of the differences in color, it became clear that the stone was not an emerald, it was named alexandrite after Alexander II, a Russian emperor at the time.

In certain lighting conditions, the color of the alexandrite will change. It can display colors from greens and yellows to oranges and reds, depending on whether you are in incandescent light or daylight. The color can change depending on the angle at which you view the stone, as well.

Initially, Russia was the main mining location for the alexandrite, but it is rare to find the stone in this part of the world today. Now, alexandrite miners must to go Brazil, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Tanzania, and Madagascar.

Throughout its brief history, it was believed that alexandrite had some healing powers, and the stone has become associated with self-discipline and confidence. Some believe that the wearer of the alexandrite will have better concentration and may be more intelligent, having more creativity, better luck, and greater fortune. The stone is also believed to bring the wearer a clearer mind and more positive thinking.

[caption id="attachment_779" align="aligncenter" width="486"]Photo via http://ow.ly/NSC0c Photo via http://ow.ly/NSC0c[/caption]