Alexandrite Facts | Alexandrite Jewelry: Alexandrite Rings - Earrings - Pendants - Bracelets

Alexandrite Gemstones: Read how to recognize quality in fine gemstone jewelry.

Source: Brazil, Burma, India, Madagascar, Russia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe

Birthstone: June (Alternate: Moonstone, Pearl)

The name "Alexandrite" comes from the stones' ostensible discovery on April 23, 1830, the day that young Russian Czar Alexander Nicolajevitch II (reigned 1855 to 1881) had his "comming of age" birthday. Alexandrite was discovered along the banks of the Tokovaya River in the Ural Mountains of Russia. This ultra-rare gemstone discovered in the Tokovaya River's mica schists (igneous rock) and alluvial deposits has a unique ability to change color (pleochroism) due to pseudochromatic coloration caused by changes in ambient light.

Alexandrite (aka Tsarstone) is a variety of the mineral chrysoberyl which is an aluminate of beryllium. Chrysoberyl is usually transparent to translucent and sometimes chatoyant. The most widely used variety of chrysoberyl is an alexandrite. Because of alexandrite's unique ability to absorb certain elements of the color spectrum, it can look greenish-bluish-grey in daylight and reddish-purple (raspberry red) under artificial light. Natural alexandrite is very rare. The finest alexandrite crystals ever found came from the Tokovaya river deposit, and the greatest alexandrite specimen ever found is housed in Moscow's Fersman Mineralogical Museum.

Synthetic Alexandrite

Natural Alexandrite is very rare. Most alexandrine found on the market today is synthetic. From the late 1800s, synthetic alexandrine was made using corundum which had been treated with vanadium to give it the characteristic color-change effect. Since the early 1970s, true synthetic alexandrite has been produced by using the "flux-melt", "floating point", "floating zone", and "pulled crystal" methods. There are characteristic "rain-like" inclusions in synthetic alexandrite that help with its identification. Most synthetic alexandrite is produced in Japan and Russia.

Gemstone Rings

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Gemstone Pendants

A vibrant green oval alexandrite is complemented by a

In each 18k white gold earring, a single alexandrite

Alternating round diamonds and alexandrites, seven of

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Alexandrite Birthstone Brilliant purple

Well-matched vivid round alexandrites form a

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Alexandrite Education

Brazilian Alexandrite occurs in pegmatites surrounding the mining towns of Novo Cruzeiro and Nova Era region of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The color of most Brazilian alexandrite does not shift to the green end of the spectrum as much as Russian alexandrite, although there have been recent discoveries at Nova Era that produce a more pronounced color-shift. These Nova Era stones tend to be small specimens that can be heavily occluded.

More Info

Alexandrite is a form of chrysoberyl (a cyclosilicate), which is an aluminate of beryllium. Chrysoberyl is transparent to translucent and sometimes chatoyant. Alexandrite's characteristic green to red color change results from small scale replacement of aluminium by chromium oxide.

Buying Alexandrite

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. Because of the rarity of this gemstone, large sizes command very high premiums.

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