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Alexandrite engagement ring with diamond accent stones.

Alexandrite Guide

Learn all about alexandrite, a rare gemstone renowned for its ability to change color.

What is an alexandrite?

Alexandrite, a rare and fascinating gemstone, was first discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 1830. It belongs to the chrysoberyl family and is known for a unique ability: it can appear green under daylight or fluorescent lighting and transform into a purplish-red hue in incandescent light. This optical phenomenon, known as "color change,” is caused by chromium in the gem's crystal structure.

Alexandrite Types

Natural Alexandrite

Natural alexandrite forms deep in the Earth over millions of years, where specific environmental conditions and trace elements create this rare gemstone. Now incredibly rare, natural alexandrite is highly valued.

Lab Grown Alexandrite

Lab-grown alexandrite is produced in a laboratory setting using the same mineral composition as natural alexandrite to replicate its growth process. While lab grown alexandrite exhibits the same color-changing effects as natural alexandrite, it is more accessible and may be more affordable for those seeking alexandrite jewelry.

Model wearing yellow gold alexandrite engagement ring.

Alexandrite Meaning

Alexandrite is often associated with balance, joy, and transformation. Alexandrite is thought to promote positive energy, personal growth, and harmony in relationships. It is considered a gemstone of good fortune and luck, and is also the birthstone for June.

Alexandrite Color

The color-changing property of alexandrite is due to the interaction of light with the gem's crystal structure. This unique phenomenon creates a captivating display of colors that sets alexandrite apart from other gemstones.

Yellow gold alexandrite eternity ring.

Alexandrite Properties

Mohs Hardness

8.5 

Mineral

Alexandrite is a rare variety of chrysoberyl, a mineral composed of beryllium, aluminum, and oxygen. The presence of chromium imparts the distinctive color-changing characteristic to alexandrite. 

Refractive Index

The refractive index of alexandrite ranges from approximately 1.746 to 1.755, contributing to its remarkable brilliance and fire. This enhances the gem's ability to reflect and refract light, showcasing its color-changing effects.

Yellow gold alexandrite engagement ring with diamond accents.

How to Choose an Alexandrite

Color

The most prominent feature of alexandrite is its striking color-change effect, which is highly prized by collectors and enthusiasts. The gem transitions between green, teal, and red hues, depending on the lighting conditions. 


Shape

Alexandrite is expertly cut into various shapes to maximize its color and brilliance. Popular shapes include round, oval, cushion, and emerald


Cut

The quality of the cut significantly influences the beauty and value of an alexandrite gemstone. Precise cutting is essential to showcase the gem's color-change effect and maximize its optical properties. 


Clarity

Alexandrite gemstones with minimal inclusions or imperfections are highly sought after, as they allow for better light transmission and reflection. Clean and high clarity natural alexandrite is also considered more valuable.


Carat Weight and Size

Natural alexandrite occurs in a range of sizes, from small accent stones to large centerpiece gems. Larger alexandrite is rare and commands higher prices due to its scarcity and visual impact. Lab alexandrite is also available in a wide array of carat weights and sizes.


Price

The value of alexandrite is influenced by factors such as color intensity, clarity, size, origin, and market demands. High quality, natural alexandrite with strong color-change effects and minimal inclusions is most likely to command premium prices.

 

Treatment

While natural alexandrite is typically untreated to preserve its inherent beauty and value, some lower-grade stones may undergo treatments to enhance color saturation or clarity.

 

Origins

Historically, the Ural Mountains in Russia were the primary source of natural alexandrite, where the finest and most valuable gemstones were mined. Today, alexandrite is commonly found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania. Lab grown alexandrite is the most common form available today.

Alexandrite Facts

  • Alexandrite, first discovered in the 19th century, is a relatively modern gem compared to ancient gems like diamonds and rubies


  • The largest polished alexandrite gemstone weighs approximately 66 carats and is housed in the Smithsonian Institution's National Gem Collection. 


  • Due to its rarity and captivating color-changing property, natural alexandrite is often referred to as the "emerald by day, ruby by night.”
Yellow gold London blue topaz and alexandrite cocktail ring.

Alexandrite Cleaning & Care Tips

Alexandrite is a 8.5 on the Mohs scale, making it suitable for daily wear and resistant to scratches and abrasions.  

To maintain the beauty and brilliance of alexandrite jewelry, it is recommended to clean the gemstones with mild soap and warm water using a soft brush. It's best to avoid exposing alexandrite to harsh chemicals, ultrasonic cleaners, or high temperatures, as these can damage the gem's color and structure. Regular cleaning and proper care will help preserve the luster and longevity of alexandrite pieces for generations to come.

Model wearing yellow gold diamond engagement ring with alexandrite accent stones.