Alexandrite – Colors, Shapes and Sizes
Alexandrite is the rarest of precious stones and has wonderful qualities that make it sought after. The most important quality of the stone that people who look to purchase Alexandrite look for is its ability to change hues. Alexandrite is made from Chrysoberyl and includes Chromium, as well as other materials such as copper that makes it appear yellow-green in sunlight, but under a single light source indoors such as a candle will make the stone appear brownish-red. Purple is another hue that Alexandrite can be found in.
The two colors that are usually sought are lush green and warm red. Probably the best of Alexandrite has already been mined, mainly in the Ural Mountains of Russia. The stones from this region usually are of the highest quality, largest in carat size, and aesthetically beautiful. While Alexandrite has been mined in many parts of the world and new mines have recently found more deposits in both Brazil and on the border of Tanzania and Zimbabwe, most people prefer Alexandrite from Russia.
The highest quality Alexandrite can be worth more than $20,000 per carat. High quality, but average grade Alexandrite is usually much, much less at about $5,000 per carat. Alexandrite is usually used for fine jewelry only. Due to its rareness and expense, it is not used in industry. Alexandrite can be found on the highest quality rings, earrings, charms, and bracelets. It can also be used for brooches. While color change is the most important quality, because of its hardness, it can be cut into almost any shape or form.
Where Its Formed and Found Alexandrite
Alexandrite is a rare and precious gemstone that was first founded in the Ural Mountains of Russia. It is said that it was first discovered on the birthday of Alexander the II, the Czar of Russia and because this stone has a wonderful property that makes the hues change from green to red, which happens to be Russians imperial colors, depending on the light source, it was named Alexandrite.
Alexandrite is the mineral Chrysoberyl. Chrysoberyl can be found in granite rocks, alluvia deposits, pegmatites, and mica schist. Most of the Chrysoberyl that is mined is usually found in gravels and river sands.
While the finest specimens of Alexandrite were found in the Ural Mountains, due to the value and beauty of this rare gemstone, practically all of this stone has been depleted from the area. However, throughout the last 170 years, Alexandrite has also been found in India, Brazil, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe. In fact, in 1987 a mine in Brazil found a huge reserve of Alexandrite, and six years later in 1993, a reserve of Alexandrite was found on the border of Zimbabwe and Tanzania. Although the size of the stones is not as large as those found in the Ural Mountains of Russia, they are large enough to produce wonderful jewelry pieces.
Alexandrite mined from Zimbabwe is known for its quality to change colors. Many of the stones mined in Zimbabwe have Chromium and other properties such as copper that create wonderful changes in hue from red to green.
The Uses of Alexandrite
Alexandrite is created from a very rare mineral called Chrysoberyl. Alexandrite also includes properties such as Chromium. Chromium plays an important part in giving the Alexandrite the ability to change between two colors depending on the light source. For instance, in direct sunlight, other elements inside the Chrysoberyl mainly copper give the stone a hue of green. When you place the stone indoors and put it under one light source such as a candle, the color of the stone will change to red.
Alexandrite is primarily used for jewelry and ornamental purposes. It is far too rare to be used for industrial purposes and due to its qualities and beauty is reserved for only the highest quality and well-designed jewelry pieces. Due to its value, Alexandrite which was mostly mined from the Ural Mountains were depleted, however, new mines have found large reserves, lessening the demand and ultimately the value of this precious stone.
Alexandrite is perfect for a ring, bracelet, or charm. It is extremely interesting to look at and looks quite regal in either an outside light source or under incandescent light. There are cheap imitations available that are similar in composition, but they do not express the warmth and beauty of true Alexandrite.
Origins and History
Alexandrite is created from the mineral Chrysoberyl, which is extremely rare. Other properties that Alexandrite includes are Chromium. Chromium plays an important part in giving the Alexandrite two colors that change the color of the stones depending on the light source. For instance, in direct sunlight, other elements inside the Chrysoberyl such as copper can make the stone look green. However, take the stone inside and place it under one small light source such as a candle or light bulb and the stone will change color completely, appearing red.
The origin and history of Alexandrite are very unique. Alexandrite is the name of the most precious and rare mineral Chrysoberyl. Alexandrite is steeped in folklore, it is said that Alexandrite was first discovered on the birthday of Alexander the II, the Czar of Russia in 1830.
It was found in the Ural Mountains of Russia and because the original stone found displayed two important colors, that being colors of red and green. These are the same Imperial colors of Russia at the time thus lending credence to the folklore.
Because of the popularity, beauty, and importance of Alexandrite, the major reserves of Alexandrite have all but disappeared from the Russian area where they were most commonly found. However, in the last 20 years, a huge reserve of Alexandrite has been found in Minas Gerais, Brazil and another large reserve was founded only 6 years after that by the border of Mozambique and Tanzania. If you are looking for a truly unique gemstone that has the ability to change colors depending on the light source, you should definitely look into Alexandrite.