June babies have the distinction of claiming two of nature’s most lustrous gems as their birthstones: pearls and, even more uniquely radiant, moonstones. The latter’s distinctive glow—which conjures images of the night sky reflected on water—has mesmerized mankind for centuries. Ancient Greeks, Romans and Hindi all believed the stones were actual bits of heavenly bodies that had fallen to Earth.
But moonstone is quite terrestrial. The gem is a member of the feldspar family of minerals, which account for some 60 percent of the Earth’s surface. While feldspar is a common rock, moonstone sets itself apart from duller rocks through microscopic layers that scatter light across the gem’s surface, making it appear to glow from within.
The very finest moonstone specimens are colorless and free from inclusions, emitting a vivid blue shimmer—and are exceptionally rare. Moonstone is also found in a range of other hues, from golden peach tones to misty grays and pale greens. While the gem can be cut and faceted in countless ways, smooth cabochons are the preferred choice for accentuating the stone’s unique luster.
During the Art Nouveau era, moonstone was popularized by such seminal makers as Louis Comfort Tiffany and René Lalique. A circa 1905 moonstone and diamond pendant by the latter fetched approximately $424,450 at Christie’s in 2017 (see it below). Today, the stone frequently turns up in the collections of contemporary high jewelers from Bulgari to Hemmerle and has found new fans among a younger generation of crystal healing enthusiasts in search of good vibes.
Given moonstone’s celestial associations, it has long been believed to possess metaphysical properties. The gem is associated with femininity, passion, clarity, and new beginnings. Like a beam of light one can hold in one’s hand—or, better yet, wear—moonstone is a symbol of hope.
Whether or not you believe in the stone’s purported powers, it’s hard to deny the allure of these new moonstone jewels.
Top and above: Larkspur & Hawk lavender moon quartz, rainbow moonstone, sterling silver and 14k gold earrings, $1,600
Temple St. Clair blue moonstone, diamond and 18k gold necklace, $19,000
Anthony Lent moonstone, diamond and 18k gold ring, $2,760
Nak Armstrong rainbow moonstone and sterling silver earrings, $600
Jacquie Aiche moonstone, mother of pearl, diamond, and gold ring, $6,875
Ten Thousand Things moonstone and 18k gold necklace, $915
Prounis moonstone and 22k gold ring, $2,900
Fernando Jorge moonstone, diamond and 18k white gold earrings, $2,500
Monica Rich Kosann moonstone, white sapphire, and sterling silver necklace, $460
Ray Griffiths moonstone, diamond, 18k gold and oxidized silver pendant, $5,845