alexandrite gemstone, fine jewelry, emerald by day and ruby by night

Alexandrite: A Unique & Intriguing Color-Change Gemstone

by Kat Morrow

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June is the birth gemstone of both the traditional Pearl and the Alexandrite, one of the most intriguing and rare gemstones in the world!

Let me introduce you to the Alexandrite…a gem which has chameleon-like properties—it can change color depending on the lighting conditions. In natural daylight, Alexandrite appears green or blue-green, while it appears red or purple in incandescent light. This is known as “the Alexandrite effect” and is caused by how the gemstone absorbs light.

Without getting too sciency, here’s the mineral recipe on how this rare gemstone can change color. It’s because of beryllium in the Chrysoberyl (the mineral family of Alexandrite) combined with chromium impurities—these two elements rarely occur together in nature. The beryllium-forming material must be pushed up via magma closer to the earth’s surface, where chromium is found, while the crystal is still growing. This unique natural formation process of Alexandrite causes this rare phenomenon of “color-change”.  

It’s believed that Alexandrite, along with the Pearl, brings good luck, happiness, and prosperity to those who wear it. It’s also believed to have healing and protective properties, enhances intuition, creativity, and imagination, and promotes joy and positivity.

I was personally introduced to Alexandrite many years ago as a young gemologist by my mentor, Robert Haack, a diamond entrepreneur, and icon in the diamond industry. He personally owned a very rare 5.65 Ct. Cushion Cut Alexandrite mined in Russia and wore it personally as a pinky ring.  It was an absolutely beautiful specimen exhibiting a perfect color change from a deep forest green to a raspberry red. It was his pride and joy!  A rare and expensive gem indeed!

How expensive is Alexandrite?

Alexandrite is typically a more expensive gem because it is a top-tier gem which plays in the same league as rubies, diamonds, and emeralds. Alexandrite is often referred to as an “emerald by day andruby by night.”

Many variables determine the final price of Alexandrite, such as degree of color change, size, clarity, and origin.

  • Low-Grade Alexandrite displays slight or no color changes, cannot be lab certified, and will likely cost around $2,000 per carat.
  • Medium-Grade Alexandrite will show color changes above 50%, can be lab-certified, are often from Brazil and Russia, and will likely range in price from $5000 to $20,000 per carat.
  • Top-Quality Alexandrite will show rich color change of 80-100%, are usually from Brazil and Russia, and can cost above $20,000 per carat.

Fun fact: It’s estimated for every 10,000 carats of Emeralds mined, only one carat of Alexandrite is found. This scarcity makes it one of the most valued, rare, and expensive gemstones in the world. 

Investing in Alexandrite jewelry is not only a great way to celebrate special occasions, but it is also a wise investment. The rarity of Alexandrite makes it a valuable addition to any jewelry collection, and a popular choice among collectors and enthusiasts.

Alexandrite Jewelry

Because of its rarity and beauty, Alexandrite is a popular choice for various styles of fine jewlery, including rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings in classic and modern designs, making it a versatile choice for any occasion.

Alexandrite is often paired with diamonds or other gemstones to enhance its beauty and value. 

When purchasing Alexandrite jewelry, it’s important to ensure it is genuine and high-quality. Alexandrite is a rare gemstone, and there are many imitations on the market.  Authentic and certified Alexandrite will hold their value and may even increase over time. However, always make sure you buy the stones from a reputable source because the origin is a major determinant of their value.

History of Alexandrite

Alexandrite is named after Alexander II of Russia where it was first discovered in the Russian Ural Mountains.

The discovery of Alexandrite sparked a great deal of interest among gem collectors and jewelers, and soon the gemstone was mined in other parts of the world, including Sri Lanka, Brazil, and East Africa.

Throughout history, Alexandrite was often given as a gift to royalty and other important figures.

As we celebrate the month of June, which is traditionally associated with the gemstone Alexandrite, it is essential to remember the rich history and significance of this beautiful and fascinating gem.  Alexandrite is the perfect gift for anyone born in June or for anyone who simply appreciates its beauty.

I invite you to book an appointment with me or Contact me today to learn more about Alexandrite, Diamonds & Jewelry! I often meet with my clients in person or via a Zoom conference call online.

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