The alexandrite is one of the rarest and most valuable gemstones on earth. It was discovered in Russia Ural Mountains. Since then, the Russian mines have been depleted, and most of the alexandrite today comes from Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil.
According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Alexandrite gemstone is considered a “color-change” stone, meaning that it exhibits different colors under different light sources. In daylight or fluorescent light, it appears greenish-blue, while incandescent light reveals a purplish-red color.
The alexandrite stone is one of the most beautiful, rare, and mysterious stones in the world. The story behind it is fascinating and largely unknown by the general public. Here are some facts about alexandrite that you may not know:
Uncanny Resemblance to Other Gemstones
Alexandrite is part of the chrysoberyl family of gemstones. Its often confused with Emerald because of its green color and ruby at night or under artificial light. This is because of its strong pleochroism (the ability to show different colors when observed from different angles).
The Alexandrite stone exhibits chatoyancy, a.k.a., “cat’s eye.” Chatoyancy is a phenomenon observed in certain gemstones that exhibit light reflection caused by irradiation of light. This phenomenon occurs on a microscopic level, where this interference effect results in an uneven distribution of light across the surface of a gemstone, creating a striped pattern of light and dark areas.
These areas are referred to as “cat’s eyes.” If alexandrite exhibits chatoyancy, then it helps determine transparency. If there is little or no chatoyancy present, the gemstone is transparent.
Rarity Makes It More Expensive
Alexandrite stones are extremely rare because they are only available in small amounts – making them much more expensive than other gemstones of similar sizes and weights. The price for an alexandrite stone can reach up to $50,000 per carat! The stone is even more costly than sapphire, ruby, or emerald.
Also, its rarity is due to its discovery date, which was around the same time diamond mines were closing down due to lack of profitability and other factors.
The Story of Its Discovery
Alexandrite is a rare gemstone that was first discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 1834 on the day when future Tsar Alexander II came of age. This led to the stone being named after him.
When the Russian mineralogist Nils Gustaf Nordenskiöld was hunting in the Ural Mountains for new minerals, he discovered a new type of emerald that displayed different colors under different light sources. He named this stone diaphanite and sent it to St. Petersburg for further analysis.
The first person who examined it, Gustav Rose, had recently discovered kunzite and hiddenite. After further research, he concluded that it was a color-change chrysoberyl. In 1834, when the stone was presented to Tsar Nicholas I, the stone was renamed alexandrite after Nicholas son, Alexander II.
This makes him one of the few famous historical figures that share their birthday with the rare gemstone. The town of Yekaterinburg, where the stone was discovered, was named in honor of Alexander II’s mother, Catherine I.
Stone of Love Affairs
Among popular beliefs, the alexandrite gemstone is associated with love affairs. The real connection between the Alexandrite and love comes from a researcher who believed that the stones could help people see things more clearly, but only if they were “aided by love.”
He thought that the stone could bring couples closer together, but he was wrong. The gemstones do not make you fall in love with someone or create a bond between two people. However, they are believed to help people see things and act more rationally. That is what alexandrite can also do for you, among other things. It is considered a perfect gift for the 55th wedding anniversary. The stone can also boost your imagination and intuition to make the right decisions in matters of the heart.
It Has a Unique Chemical Composition
Alexandrite is so hard to find and therefore so expensive because of its chemical composition. The two main components of Alexandrite are aluminum and beryllium oxide, which combine to form the mineral chrysoberyl.
The twist with this gemstone is that it also contains a mix of tantalum, titanium, iron, and chromium oxides (hence its color-changing properties). The presence of chromium produces red colors, and iron produces green colors. This unique combination has never quite been seen in any other mineral.
So, these are some secrets you may not know about alexandrite stone.
How to Buy the Best-Quality Alexandrite
Buying alexandrite stone is becoming harder and harder as Alexandrite is getting rare day by day. But before buying this gemstone, make sure that you know whether the stone is real or fake. Here is a guide for checking the authenticity of an Alexandrite Stone:
You first need to check if it’s created synthetically or naturally. Synthetic stones are much cheaper than natural ones, so if it is cheap, keep in mind that it is probably synthetic.
Check how the alexandrite looks in sunlight and indoors. The genuine stone will change its color depending on where it is. For example, it will turn brownish-green inside a room, but it will be purple or purple-red in sunlight. If it stays green regardless of light conditions, do not buy it as it is synthetic.
Next, look at the color. The highest quality alexandrites show a strong color change from red (or purplish red) in incandescent light to green in daylight or fluorescent light. The more vivid the colors, the higher the grade and price.
Stores like GemPundit are the ideal place to shop for this gemstone. They offer genuine and natural stones backed by a free lab certificate, quality assurance, and a return policy to win your trust.