Alexandrite is a variety of chrysoberyl that displays a color change depending on the nature of the ambient lighting under which it is shone. Alexandrite is on of the few semi-precious gemstones discovered that displays a color change. The stone is hard and tough, so it is perfect for handmade gemstone jewelry.
This semi-precious gemstone is the result from small scale replacement of aluminium by chromium ions in the crystalline structure. This causes the stone to take in and absorb light over a narrow range of wavelengths.
Under a normal (yellowish) lightbulb or incandescent light, Russian alexandrite turns from the color green to a purplish red. In natural and fluorescent light, Alexandrite is a clear green, with no other color such as grey or brown. This form of alexandrite is very rare and can only be found in the Ural Mountains in Russia. Other varieties can be yellow by daylight and pink by incandescent light, but they aren’t as valuable as the green/red Alexanrite.
Alexandrite was first discovered by a Finnish minerologist, Nils Gustaf Nordenskiold on the to-be Tsar Alexander’s sixteenth birthday, April, 1834. As a result, Nils named this stone in honor of the emperor. Nils is sometimes confused with his son, Adolf Erick Nordenskoil. When Nils first discovered Alexandrite, he mistook it for emerald.
Alexandrite is a hard stone and looks very elegant set in a ring or a pendant. Its color change distinguishes it from other gemstones.
Some of the less valuable alexandrite gemstones are blue/green in the daytime and purple/red in incandescent light. Alexandrite has also been found in Brazil, Burma, India, but these gemstones have been found to be not quite as good as the Russian and should hopefully cost less.
Alexandrite has a hardness of 8.5 on the Moh’s scale. It is a hard gemstone and is often carved into an oval, pear or cushion to be set in a silver or gold gemstone ring.
It is a good idea or important to check the carat weight of your alexandrite. 1 carat is about 0.20 grans. Usually, a ring or pendant is sold with 0.75 of a carat. Two carats are very rare and usually quite expensive.
It is crutial to check the stone and the band’s thickness. A ring and stone must be the same thickness. Alexandrite goes very well with gold, but can also look nice with white gold or silver. When purchasing a silver gemstone ring it is important to look at the back of the ring to make sure it has a finished look. The back of the band and stone should be just as well polished as the front.
Fake Alexandrite is also sold now days. If it happens to be fake, the color change will be slightly different. In the sunlight, it will show more shades of blue than of green. In incandescent light, it will be violet instead of red. It should be selling very cheaply. The best way to avoid fake alexadrite is to buy from a reputable seller, because it is hard to check its quality inside the shop. If it is being sold as a real alexandrite and you find out it is really fake, it is obvious that you should avoid that seller.
The purest Alexandrite still comes of the Ural Mountains in Russia. It is very rare. However, there are mines in Brazil, Burrma, and Tumndura who also mine alexandrite, but this Alexandrite is a blueish green and dark purple.
Once you have bought your Alexandrite it is very important to look after it. If looked after properly it can be treasured for a life time. Try to get it remounted as little as possible. As any other gemstone, it is important to keep it away from other chemicals and hard solutions. Do not expose it to sharp blows and heavy scrubbing, which would very likely affect the color.