The Gemstone Alexandrite
What Is Alexandrite?
It is a variety of the Chrysoberyl gemstone. It appears to be emerald green in sunlight, but appears to be red under incandescent light. The ability to change color depending on the light source, is a distinctive property of Alexandrite. The reason is that it absorbs light in a narrow yellow area of the spectrum but let blue-green and red areas of the spectrum be transmitted. According to a popular story Alexandrite was discovered by Nils Gustaf Nordenskiold during the 1800’s, in the Ural Mountains of Russia. As the old imperial colors in Russia was red and green the name Alexandrite was given in honour of Tsar Alexander II and the stones were only mined for royalties until mid-1880.
How is Alexandrite formed?
Alexandrite begins it’s journey to be formed, deep inside the Earth, about 250km from the surface. Molten lava is pushed through to the thin crust of the Earth and on the way up towards the surface various types of gemstones are formed through mixing with various minerals.
For Alexandrite to form and grow it is necessary that Beryllium is present and that this Beryllium reacts with Chromium which also must be present. The reason for the rarity of Alexandrite is that the two elements, Beryllium and Chromium, seldom coexist in the same type of rocks. The size of the Alexandrite stones found, are relatively small compared to many other types of gemstones, it is seldom to be found in sizes above 3 carats.
Where can it be found?
Alexandrite was first found in Russia and it was traditionally thought that stones up to 5 carats were only found in the Ural Mountains. However, lately it has been found in even larger sizes in Brazil. Other areas where Alexandrite has been found include Burma, Ceylon, India, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
What is the value of Alexandrite?
The value of the Alexandrite is fairly high compared to other gemstones. The most common Alexandrite processed into simple shapes are in the range of US $220 to US $250 per carat (200 grams). In smaller sizes, below 1 carat, Alexandrite are generally more expensive than diamonds. As it is very rare to find stones weighing more than 5 carats, fine Alexandrite larger than that may cost as much as US $40,000 per carat.
It is believed that Alexandrite balance your emotional state and to increase your self-esteem, and also to generate changes. (it most certainly will generate changes in your wallet… ) It is also believed to help you in rebirth situations!?!, to help treat swollen lymph nodes and also assist in treatment of leukaemia. It is claimed to stimulate happiness and pleasant surprises… (Well, I strongly believe my wife would be happy and pleasantly surprised to receive an Alexandrite jewelry)