Alexandrite is a remarkable and highly prized variety of the mineral chrysoberyl, known for its remarkable color-changing properties. Here’s an explanation of Alexandrite:
1. Color Change: Alexandrite is renowned for its unique ability to change color under different lighting conditions. In daylight or fluorescent light, it typically appears green or bluish-green, while under incandescent light, it exhibits a purplish-red or reddish-brown hue. This dramatic color shift is due to the presence of trace elements like chromium in its crystal structure.
2. Rarity: Alexandrite is considered one of the rarest and most valuable gemstones. The occurrence of alexandrite with a strong and pleasing color change, combined with good transparency and clarity, is exceptionally limited.
3. Origins: The most famous source of alexandrite historically is the Ural Mountains in Russia. The gem was discovered in the 1830s and named after the young Alexander II, as it was found on his birthday. Today, however, the Russian mines have been depleted, and most alexandrite on the market comes from other sources, including Brazil, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania.
4. Durability: Alexandrite is relatively hard, with a rating of 8.5 on the Mohs scale, making it suitable for various jewelry types. However, it should be protected from harsh chemicals and extreme temperature changes to maintain its beauty.
5. Value: The value of alexandrite is primarily determined by the strength and quality of its color change, as well as its overall clarity and size. The most valuable alexandrite displays a vivid and striking color change, with the green and red hues being intense and well-defined.
6. Birthstone: Alexandrite is one of the birthstones for June, making it a popular choice for those born in that month.
7. Jewelry: Alexandrite is often used in high-end jewelry, including rings, earrings, pendants, and necklaces. Its color-changing properties make it an appealing choice for unique and distinctive pieces.
8. Collector’s Gem: Due to its rarity and unique characteristics, alexandrite is highly sought after by gem collectors and connoisseurs. Exceptional alexandrite specimens can command extremely high prices in the market.
Alexandrite’s ability to display two distinct and beautiful colors under different lighting conditions makes it a gemstone of great fascination and desirability. Its rarity and enchanting color change have solidified its status as one of the most precious and valued gemstones in the world.