Discovering the Alexandrite
In 1830, Alexandrite was first discovered by a Finnish mineralogist at the Ural Mountains of Russia, a mountain range known to be the richest in minerals around the world. At first it was named ‘diaphanite’ but that name unfortunately did not stick. Not much later, a Russian mineralogist had presented a sample Czar Alexander II on his 16th birthday and called it Alexandrite; honoring Russia’s ruler befitting of the stone seen with the imperial colors of green and red.
Though it is also found in other places such as Sri Lanka, Brazil, and Southern Tanzania, which are also the main sources of alexandrite gemstone, it is extremely scarce and still considered to be one of the rarest gemstones. Due to its rarity, the alexandrite is relatively expensive. Because of its scarcity, not that many people have seen it nor afforded it. Most high-grade alexandrite is regarded with the same value as a diamond. It is more valuable as it manifests a more distinct color adjustment and gets to be even more expensive as supply steadily declines. Considering these factors, it can be deemed as a good investment for gem collectors and enthusiasts.
"Emerald by day ruby by night "
Unlike other gemstones, the Alexandrite is a rare color change variety precious stone that naturally changes hue because of the complex way its mineral absorbs light. The exceptional phenomenon is known as the “alexandrite effect”. In white light or ultraviolet light like daylight or fluorescent light, it turns deep green. In warm light such as an incandescent or candlelight, it turns brown then to a vivid red. What’s more unique about the alexandrite is it can also show other colors, such as a hint of yellow, orange, or purple when viewed from different directions.
Recognizing a rare gem
The Alexandrite is part of the chrysoberyl family or what translates to the “golden beryl” along with the fine transparent gemstones of yellow, green, brown, colorless, and cat’s eye. Keeping this in mind, it is good to note that the most expensive and rarest kind of alexandrite is a specimen that exhibits the cat’s eye effect aside from its color change phenomenon.
Its color change attribute is due to the presence of chromium which makes this mineral cloudy. This impurity enables this variety to absorb some of light’s color spectrum while others just pass through. Hence, finding a natural alexandrite that is both very clear and has a notable change in color is quite uncommon. Understanding these factors, the International Gem Society (IGS) and other gemologists assess alexandrites for its two primary value drivers, its color, and its color change. The closer its color is to a pure green or pure red and the more dramatic the color-change is from5%-100%, the more valuable it is. This makes blue-greens, purple or brown reds less expensive. Its two other value drivers are clarity and size. Since most natural occurring gem-grade alexandrite are small in sizes, anything over three carats is highly uncommon.
Among June’s Birthstone
Good news June brides and babies! You have a beautiful range of gemstone choices for June because it is one of the three months, aside from August and December, that has three birthstones. This includes pearl and moonstone along with alexandrite.
Coincidentally, June is full of celebrations where an alexandrite would be perfect! Aside from being June’s birthstone, the alexandrite is a good choice for daily wear accessories and for engagement rings and other special occasions. A noteworthy celebration it is known for is for married couples blessed to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary.
This birthstone is also popular for bringing luck and love. Most especially in Russia, it is revered as a gemstone that represents good omen. Other mystical qualities it is known for is power to attract prosperity, intellect, self-esteem, healing, and good health. Spiritually, it is believed to bring the balance between the physical and the astral world. Likewise, it can also bring balance to the person wearing it. In particular, its green hue signifies growth, peace and hope. On the other hand, its opposite, the color change red, embodies energy, passion, and power.
Care and Cleaning
You can check with your trusted jewelry expert like Meycauayan Jewelries to get advice on the proper way of cleaning your precious gems like the alexandrite. But the good thing about the alexandrite is its durability and consequently, its simple care requirements. Just wash them with a warm, soapy water and use a soft brush to clean carefully.
Natural and Synthetic Alexandrite
Don’t worry if mined natural alexandrites are very rare. You can opt for the alternative which are man-made alexandrites. These are more affordable and widely available. Marvel at the beauty of this precious gemstone in your own hands!
Despite being lab-created, they are still valuable and in fact more valuable than other synthetic gems available in the market. Curious about it? Ask Meycauayan Jewelries and we’ll be happy to discuss!