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Moonstone has for long been accepted as the June birthstone. In the modern list, it shares this duty with Pearl and Alexandrite.
Moonstone, a variety of feldspar, exhibits an optical phenomenon called adularescence due to the intergrowth of two different types of feldspar with different refractive indexes. This gives a shimmering effect which gives the gem its name. Moonstones come in a variety of colors from colorless to gray, brown, yellow, green, or pink.
Alexandrite, a rare and recent find, is the chameleon of the gem world. It actually changes color from green during daytime to red at night. Alexandrite is formed of the mineral chrysoberyl, and is available in very few deposits. When evaluating alexandrite, pay the most attention to the color change: the more dramatic and complete the shift from red to green, without the bleeding through of brown from one color to the next, the more rare and valuable the stone. The other important value factors are the attractiveness of the two colors – the more intense the better – the clarity, and the cutting quality. Cat’s-eye chrysoberyl, a cousin of color-changing alexandrite, is a variety of chrysoberyl which has a distinct band of light across its face which sweeps from side to side.
The color ranges from a honey-brown to an apple green with rich gold colors generally the most valued. The most important value factor is the strength and sharpness of the eye. Fine cat’s-eye chrysoberyl often also shows the “milk and honey” effect. When a bright light source is directed at the side of the stone, one side of the eye will be milky white and the other remains gold. When the stone is rotated, the colors switch. Cat’s-eyes are especially popular in men’s jewelry.