Happy June, everyone! The first signs of summer are now undeniable, and I'm so looking forward to it. Since last month's post on the emerald went over so well, and several of you requested that I make it a series on the birthstones, we are going to learn about June's birthstone today.
Technically, there are three birthstones listed for June, the pearl, alexandrite, and moonstone. Since the pearl isn't exactly a stone, and moonstone isn't as popular, I picked the alexandrite for our study.
The alexandrite is a more recently discovered stone, not near as ancient as the emerald. However, it does have a connection to the emerald. The first crystals were discovered around April of 1834 in emerald mines near the Tokovaya river in Russia. In fact, the stones are named after the Russian Tsar, Alexander II. The legends tell that on the day the future Tsar came of age, the stone was discovered in the mine. Its principle colors of red and green are also the principle colors of Imperial Russia, so it was natural that this stone was adopted by Tsarists as their national stone.
According to AJSGem.com, the legend goes like this:
|Alexander II as a boy.|
Attributed to George Dawe / Public domain
Miners were working alone in the mountains one day, collecting emeralds. One miner gathered some stones, which looked like emeralds and took them back to the camp at the end of the day. But in the light of the campfire, the stones shone a brilliant shade of red! The miners were perplexed. When morning came and they saw that the stones were green again in the light, they realized that they had found a new and mysterious gem.
The beautiful aspect of the alexandrite is its color-changing ability. During the day, under natural light, the gem appears as a bluish-green. However at night, or under florescent light, it appears red or purplish-red. Below is a video with the scientific explanation of how this stone changes color, in contrast to stones like the emerald.
|Alexandrite under florescent light.|
Parent Géry / Public domain
The original source of alexandrite, in the Ural mountains of Russia, closed after only a few decades of production. For many years, alexandrite was almost impossible to find, and was considered nearly extinct. However, they have found new sources in Sri Lanka, Brazil, Tanzania, and other places, but the colors are not always consistent with the original Russian Alexandrite. Therefore, this stone is still considered a rarity.
If you have a birthday in June, please tell us in the comments below so we can wish you a very happy birthday!
Two-time winner of the Christian Indie Award for historical fiction, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest".
She lives in Colorado Springs near her favorite mountain as a very happy newlywed.
Amber is a proud member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Visit her online at www.AmberSchamel.com/ and download a FREE story by subscribing to her Newsletter!