Alexandrite
 
June Birthstone.   55th Anniversary Gemstone.
 
This rare gemstone is named after Alexander II (Russian Tsar 1818-1881).   The first crystals were discovered in April, 1834, in the emerald mines near Urals.   The Alexandrite discovery was made on the Tsar's 18th birthday.   Since Alexandrite turns both red and green (the colors of Imperial Russia at the time) it became the national stone of Russia during the Tsar's rule.
 
Russian master jewelers loved this stone.   Tiffany’s master gemmologist between 1856 and 1932, George Frederick Kunz, was also fascinated by Alexandrite.    During his tenure, Tiffany produced a beautiful series of rings and platinum sets.   Smaller Alexandrites were also occasionally used during the Victorian era in England.
 
The Magic of Changing Colors
 
The most sensational feature about this stone is its ability to change color.   Alexandrite turns green/bluish-green in daylight and a soft shade of red/purplish-red or raspberry red in incandescent light.   This unique characteristic makes it one of the most valuable gemstones.
 
Alexandrite is scarce due to its chemical composition.   It is basically a Chrysoberyl (a mineral consisting of colorless or yellow transparent chrysoberyl).   Chrysoberyl coloring is most often cat’s eye, but some variations occur including the Alexandrite.   It differs from other chrysoberyls in that it not only contains iron and titanium, but also chromium (and sometimes vanadium) as a major impurity.   It is this very element which accounts for the spectacular color change.   According to CIBJO nomenclature only the chrysoberyls which display a distinct change of color may be termed Alexandrite.
 
The chemical elements beryllium and chromium (coloring agent) have contrasting chemical characteristics and usually occur together.   The lack of the chemical element silica prevents the growth of emerald in the crystal.   This geological scenario occurs rarely making Alexandrite a scarce gemstone.
 
 
Not only from Russia
 
Although Russia has remained the primary source of Alexandrite since it became available for market, Alexandrite is also found in Brazil, India, Burma, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.   The Brazilian Alexandrites show a distinct color change and good clarity and color.  The color of the Brazilian stones are not as strong a green, but the color change is clearly noticible.   Occasionally Alexandrite from Brazil is found with chatoyancy, a characteristic not found in the Russian Alexandrite.   Alexandrites are also obtained from sources in Sri Lanka, but the hue is less favorable, appearing green in daylight and a brownish red in artificial light.
 
 
A Gemstone for Experts and Gemstone Lovers alike
 
With its hardness of 8.5, Alexandrite is an uncomplicated stone to wear.   The more distinct the change of color, the more valuable the stone.   A fine Alexandrite should show a vivid bluish-green in daylight and a purplish-red in artificial light, without any trace of undesirable brown or grey.   Finely faceted Alexandrites over one carat weight are among the most expensive gemstones in the world, rarer than fine ruby, sapphire or emerald.
 
Alexandrite is a stone for experts, enthusiasts and connoisseurs.   Its uniqueness and high value are not evident at first sight, as the mysterious color change will only occur on exposure to different light sources.   It is considered a stone with a very good energy.   In critical situations it is supposed to strengthen the wearer’s intuition, helping him/her find new ways forward in situations where logic will not provide an answer.   Alexandrite is also reputed to aid creativity and inspire the imagination.
 
 
 
 
 
 
GB Jewelers, Inc.
Under the Clock Tower
675 SE Marlin Avenue, Suite 1  /  PO Box 999
Warrenton, OR 97146
800-869-1481

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