In this article, you'll learn why it changes colors under different lighting conditions, what type of jewelry settings are best suited for it, how to identify genuine Alexandrite from imitations and more. Plus I’ll share some fun facts about the history of this fascinating gemstone along the way!
The name 'alexandrite' comes from Tsar Alexander II who was born on June 12th 1818 – his birthstone was named after him. Alexandrite also symbolizes luck and success because it's so rare, making it wildly popular among gem collectors! To summarize, alexandrite is known for being extremely hard (8.5 out of 10 hardness) and very valuable due to its rarity, changing colors and associations with luck.
History Of Alexandrite
Now that we understand the definition of alexandrite, it's time to explore its history. Alexandrite is said to have been discovered in Russia around 1834 and was initially named diaphanite. It wasn't until later when Tsar Alexander II celebrated his coming-of-age ceremony that this gemstone was renamed after him as a tribute.
Russia remains the primary source for alexandrite today and continues to be associated with royalty, since it has become identified with power and prestige throughout its history. In 1897, Tiffany & Co unveiled their exclusive line of Russian alexandrite which featured only the finest quality stones mined from different regions in Russia.
Besides being an incredibly valuable gemstone, alexandrite also comes in various other forms such as chrysoberyl cat's eye - which exhibits strong chatoyancy or ‘cat’s eye effect’ similar to moonstones and opals. The colors range from red tones during daylight hours to greens under artificial light sources making them even more desirable among collectors and gem connoisseurs alike.
Types Of Alexandrite
The first type of alexandrite is synthetic or simulated alexandrite. As the name suggests, this kind of gemstone has been created in a lab using chemicals and other materials that imitate the natural properties of real alexandrite. Synthetic stones tend to be much cheaper than their naturally-occurring counterparts but may not have as strong color shifts or clarity.
Next up is lab-created alexandrite, which is made through heat treatments on lesser quality gems like chrysoberyls. This method produces beautiful jewels with intense color hues and vivid fire flashes – perfect for those who want something eye-catching without spending too much money.
Finally, we come to natural and treated alexandrites: both of these options exist in nature and can vary greatly in terms of value depending on their qualities such as luster, size, shape etc. Natural specimens will always be more expensive due to their rarity while treated ones are less costly because they require additional processing and care during production.:
* Synthetic/Simulated Alexandrite:
* Inexpensive alternative to real alexandrite
* Created in labs using chemical compounds
* May lack same intensity of color change found in real stones
- Lab-Created Alexandrite:
- Produced by heating low quality gemstones like chrysoberyls
- Intense colors & vivid fire flashes at lower price points compared to natural versions
* Natural/Treated Alexandrites:
- Exist in nature & can vary greatly based on quality factors such as luster & size
- More rare & expensive than treated varieties (which require extra processing)
So whether you’re looking for something affordable or simply seeking out the best possible quality, there’s an option within each category that should fit your needs perfectly!
Properties Of Alexandrite
Alexandrite is a rare and beautiful gemstone, renowned for its mesmerizing color-changing properties. It displays an array of captivating hues from the emerald green to red or pinkish purple when exposed to light sources with different intensities.
With a hardness rating of 8.5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, Alexandrite has decent resistance against scratches, bumps and fractures. The optical properties of this stone are truly remarkable as it exhibits high levels of pleochroism which means that the hue changes depending upon viewing angle.
Furthermore, there exists a slight fluorescence level in some varieties of Alexandrite which renders them more magical than ever! The refractive index (RI) of Alexandrite lies somewhere between 1.744 – 1.755 making it one of the most brilliant gemstones available today!
Overall, Alexandrite is considered to be one of the most sought after gems due to its stunning color changing abilities and impressive brilliance - making it ideal for adorning any jewelry piece you desire!
Identifying alexandrite can be quite tricky.
- Distinguishing Characteristics:
- Color Change:The most obvious sign of an alexandrite is its color change property; when exposed to different light sources, the hue may range from green to red or purple-red.
- Refractive Index: Alexandrites typically have refractive indices between 1.746 -1.755 along with strong dispersion values greater than 0.039.
- Specific Gravity:This type of gemstone usually has specific gravities ranging from 3.64-3.69 g/cm³
- Inclusions & Clarity :When viewed under 10x magnification, inclusions should appear white or grayish which will help set them apart from other similar stones like chrysoberyls or iolites, who have dark inclusions instead. Also, because of their higher clarity, they tend to show less visible inclusions compared to other gems as well.Authentication Techniques:
- Spectral Analysis:Using spectroscopy allows us to detect any molecular structure abnormalities such as absorption bands due to chromium impurities present in alexandrites, thus helping authenticate them further .
- Gemological Testing: Performing basic tests like checking for double refraction and hardness levels (8 on Moh’s scale) helps identify a real alexandrite from imitations easily .
Overall, there are various methods available for identifying genuine alexandrite stones by looking at their discernible features , analyzing their spectral properties and performing basic gemological testing too. Knowing these techniques is essential for anyone interested in buying or selling this precious gemstone!
Interestingly, the same rules that apply to identification also hold true for grading alexandrite. The most important criteria used in assessing an alexandrite are the 4 C's - color grading, clarity grading, cut grade and fluorescence grade.
Color is rated based on how vivid its hue is and whether it changes from green to red under different lighting conditions. Clarity rating refers to the gemstone’s lack of visible flaws when viewed through magnification.
Cut grade looks at how well-proportioned and symmetrical the stone has been crafted while fluorescence grade evaluates its strength or weakness when exposed to ultraviolet light. To make sure you get what you pay for, ask your jeweler for certification papers which include pictures of both colors of the alexandrite along with details such as measurements and weight.
A reliable seller will always provide these documents so don't be shy about requesting them! And remember, if something seems too good to be true then it probably is; never buy without doing some research first!
Cut And Carat Weight
When choosing an alexandrite, cut quality is one of the most important considerations. The cut should be well proportioned and symmetrical to ensure that light reflects off the gemstone in an even manner.
Additionally, carat weight can have an influence on the price of your stone; however, the size shouldn’t outweigh other factors such as clarity grade or cutting style.
Here are 3 things to keep in mind when selecting a cut and carat weight for your alexandrite:
- Consider gemstone shape carefully - certain cuts may enhance color change more than others.
- Aim for balance between larger stones with lower grades and smaller stones with higher grades.
- Make sure you understand how much money each increment in carat weight will cost before making a purchase decision. It's important to remember that the cut and carat weight of an alexandrite affects both its appearance and value – choose wisely!
The most obvious factor is carat weight - bigger stones will cost more than smaller ones. Cut quality also plays an important part; if the cut is particularly intricate or well done, then it will be priced higher accordingly.
Origin can make quite a difference too: Russian specimens are usually pricier than those found in other countries due to their high demand among collectors. Lastly, lab certification also affects the price tag - getting your stone certified by a trusted laboratory could add some extra dollars onto the bill.
Care And Cleaning Tips
Now that you know the pricing factors for alexandrite jewelry, let's talk about caring and cleaning tips.
First, store any alexandrite jewelry in individual soft cloth bags or padded boxes. This will help protect the stones from scratches and other damage. It’s also important to avoid storing it with other jewelry because certain metals may cause discoloration or tarnishing to occur over time.
Next, keep your alexandrite away from extreme temperatures, water and chemical cleaners since these could potentially harm the stone and/or metal settings. If necessary, use warm soapy water on a very soft cloth when cleaning any dirt off the surface of an item but do not scrub too hard as this might scratch the metal setting or remove protective coatings on plated items.
Also be aware that harsh chemicals such as bleach should never come into contact with any type of gemstone including alexandrite due to the risk of irreversible changes in appearance.
Lastly, if you ever need professional repairs done on your piece then always go through a certified jeweler who specializes in repairing gemstones like alexandrite rather than attempting to repair anything yourself at home.
Doing this will ensure that all repairs are done properly without risking further damage to the stone or metal settings which would devalue its worth even more.
When it comes to precious gems, alexandrite has been said to be the stone of good luck. Its ability to appear different colors in varying light lends itself well to many popular uses and makes for stunning statement jewelry pieces. It's no wonder that this unique gemstone is considered a perfect choice for engagement rings and wedding bands alike!
Custom designs featuring alexandrite can also make wonderful gifts - whether you're looking for something special for an anniversary, birthday or holiday celebration. If you know someone who loves bold and beautiful accessories, then consider giving them one-of-a-kind jewellery with a dramatic display of color changes under different lighting conditions.
You are sure to find plenty of options when searching online or at local retailers offering custom design services. From classic solitaires set into timeless eternity bands, to modern cluster necklaces strung with clusters of faceted stones, there’s an array of amazing looks available in genuine alexandrite jewelry.
And while they may come with quite the price tag due its rarity, it will definitely bring years of joy as both an investment piece and stylish accessory.
First, examine the color of your alexandrite carefully. It should be vibrant and show deep hues in different lighting settings. If possible, inspect several pieces from multiple angles before committing to buy one.
Next, check for clarity by looking through the stone with a loupe or microscope if available. Inclusions can affect both the appearance and value of alexandrite stones so make sure they are minimal or non-existent.
Finally, ask about any treatments done on the stone as this affects its authenticity and price tag significantly. With these tips in mind, you're ready to find your perfect piece of alexandrite!
Benefits Of Owning Alexandrite
Now that you know what to look for when buying alexandrite, let's consider the benefits of owning this gemstone. Alexandrite is valuable both in terms of its investment potential and its metaphysical properties.
On one hand it can be seen as an attractive asset, due to its rarity and high demand driving up prices. But on the other hand, it also offers therapeutic benefits and spiritual healing.
The first benefit of owning alexandrite is its ability to bring balance into our lives. It symbolizes transformation and helps us transition through difficult times with greater ease and grace by bringing peace, joy, and harmony into our lives. Its vibrations are believed to support creativity and help induce relaxation, making it an ideal stone for meditation or calming activities like yoga or tai chi.
In addition, alexandrite is said to stimulate all seven major chakras which are responsible for energy flow throughout the body. The unique combination of red-green hues has been linked to improved circulation, deeper sleep cycles, enhanced decision-making skills, increased mental clarity and improved concentration levels – helping us make better decisions about how we live our lives.
Overall, there are many advantages associated with owning alexandrite that go beyond just jewelry pieces but extend into self-care routines as well. Whether used as decoration or worn close to your heart during special occasions - this prized gemstone will always remind you of the beauty around you while providing comfort and stability during life’s ups and downs.
Where To Buy Authentic Alexandrite
Shopping for alexandrite is like searching for buried treasure. It's worth the effort to find quality stones and sources of authentic gems. You can search for dealer or supplier. Check their reputation by reading reviews online or asking friends who have experience with them.
You want someone who knows what they are doing and can provide quality customer service. It is also helpful to ask around about different alexandrite sources and look into places where you can buy genuine stones at reasonable prices. Talk to experienced jewelers or gemologists who have knowledge about these rare gemstones, so that you know you're getting the best deal possible.
Alternatives To Alexandrite
- Rubies: These vibrant red gems are perfect for those who want a colored stone but one that is not as rare or expensive as alexandrite.
- Emeralds:This deep green gemstone adds a pop of color without being too bright; plus it’s associated with eternal love!
- Garnet:Garnet comes in many different colors, including shades of pink and purple - this makes it great if you don’t want something too flashy but still unique.
- Sapphire:Blue sapphire has long been associated with romance and luxury – making it ideal for those special occasions when only the best will do.
Questions To Ask Before You Buy
To start off, make sure the seller provides authenticity assurance of their alexandrites. You don't want to purchase something that is not genuine and find out afterwards! It's also wise to consider your budget when buying alexandrite jewelry.
Ask about any discounts or promotions they may offer. In addition, inquire about their return policy in case you need to exchange or return the item after purchase. Another key factor is making sure the source of the alexandrite is conflict-free and certified by organizations such as Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC).
This ensures that no unethical labor practices were used for mining and cutting of the stone. Knowing where your alexandrite came from helps give peace of mind that your money has gone towards ethical production processes. It’s always best to do research prior to investing in one of these stunning gems — it pays off in the long run!
So why not treat yourself to this beautiful gemstone? After all, who wouldn't want to own such an exquisite and unique item? All things considered, adding an authentic piece of alexandrite would certainly make anyone's collection sparkle!