A for Alexandrite
Alexandrite is a magical gemstone. This is a real chameleon gem everyone would love to own, but very few people actually do – due to its price and scarcity.
Alexandrite is often described as «an emerald by day, a ruby by night» since it’s a rare multicoloured type of chrysoberyl. Its color can range from a lovely green or fluorescent light in daylight to brownish or purplish red in the lamp or candle light.
Moreover, alexandrite is also a very pleochroic gem, which means it can show different colors when looked at from different angles. Typically, its three pleochroic colors are green, orange, and purplish red.
First alexandrite deposits were discovered in 1830 in Russia’s Ural Mountains. Those first alexandrites were of great quality and displayed vivid hues and dramatic color change. The gem was named after the young Alexander II, the heir apparent to the Russian throne. It caught the country’s attention because its red and green colors mirrored the national military colors of imperial Russia.
Apart from the Ural mountains, this gemstone can also be found in a few other deposits in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Burma, Madagascar and Tanzania. The newer deposits contain some fine-quality stones, but many display less-precise color change and muddier hues than the 19th-century Russian alexandrites.
Alexandrite is believed to bring good luck, especially when it comes to love and personal finance. That’s why many consumers choose it as a part of their engagement ring designs.
Alexandrite also enhances imagination, creativity, and intuition, strengthens concentration, boosts the strive for excellence and even represents a bridge between the physical and spiritual worlds.
Great alexandrites are green to bluish in daylight and red to purplish red in artificial light. Alexandrite’s preferable saturation is moderately strong to strong – since gems that are too light do not reach the quality of color intensity seen in fine-quality gems and those that are too dark lack brightness and appear almost black.
Alexandrites of great quality have few inclusions. Sometimes, needle-like inclusions create a phenomenon called chatoyancy or a cat’s-eye effect. This effect increases the gemstone’s value.
Alexandrites are most often available in mixed cuts. Their rarity means that the gems are often cut in order to preserve weight. However, alexandrite’s pleochroism complicates the task for cutters. Cutting an alexandrite, they try to show the strongest color change through the gem’s crown. It’s crucial to position the rough so the fashioned stone shows both purplish red and green pleochroic colors face-up.
Most cut gems weigh less than 1 ct. Larger, higher-quality gems rise in price immediately and dramatically.
“To find a perfect Alexandrite is as difficult as to find a needle in a haystack. This gem is expensive and extremely rare, being in particular demand among collectors. The best Alexandrites, for which there is a constant hunt, are from the Urals, Russia”.