The very term evokes the image of royalty. Alexandrite is unique in every sense of the term. Not only is it rare, it has one of the most sensational features, that cannot be found in any other gemstone. It is a stone that magically changes colour under different lighting conditions. The transformation is so striking and dramatic that it led to the description: “Emerald by day, Ruby by night.” Discovered in the 19th century, it is a relatively new gemstone with a noble history. Its display of the colours red and green, which is also the main colours of Old Imperial Russia, led to it being crowned the national stone of tsarist Russia.
Today, Alexandrite enjoys the designation as a June birthstone, along with moonstone and pearl. The gemstone was named after Czar Alexander II, as the discovery of Alexandrite was made on his birthday. The uniqueness and value of the stone is not visible at first sight. However, once you come across its mysterious ability to change colours, you will be utterly fascinated by the gemstone. This fascinating gemstone has already made its way into the jewellery industry. While the large alexandrite gemstones can be found in old period jewelry, todays well-cut, faceted and polished alexandrite have become rampant in jewelleries like rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants, engagement rings, eternity rings and bridal set rings.
AG & Sons are known for their collection of rare gemstone. They are well renowned all over due to their extensive and comprehensive gemstone and jewellery collection. Alexandrite gemstones are aesthetically beautiful and when mounted on intricately designed metal, its beauty is further augmented. We have alexandrite rings, earrings, bracelets, pendants, necklaces, engagement rings, eternity rings and bridal set rings that captures not only the essence of the stone but also the contemporary trends.
History and Lore of Alexandrite
A new gemstone, Alexandrite’s short history is as intriguing as the gem itself. First unearthed in the 1830s in the spectacular Ural Mountains, it was named in honour of the future Russian tsar Alexander II, whose birthday also fell on the same day, the stone was discovered. The first few crystals, of very fine quality, vivid hues and dramatic colour transformation were said to have been discovered around April 1834 very near to the Ural’s Tokovaya River. As per the story, miners working there were busy collecting emerald. One of the miners gathered stones, and thinking they were emeralds as usual, took them back to the camp. However, they discovered that the stone which was green in broad daylight, turned into a brilliant shade of red by the light of the campfire. It was then that they realised they had discovered a mysterious gem.
With the passage of time, Alexandrite became a valuable gemstone amongst the Russian Aristocracy. Moreover owing to its red and green colours which as mentioned is also the national military colours of imperial Russia, the gemstone caught the fancy of the people in Russia. As per the Russian legend, alexandrite were believed to bring good luck, fortune and love. It is also thought to carry good omen. They also believed that the stone brings together the spiritual and physical world. The stone was associated with the crown chakra and hence was believed to carry strong healing energies.
The stone is also associated with the seventeenth path of the Tree of Life-Zain in Kabalistic magic. The stone is a symbol of the summer season and is said to calm the wearer after a period of hardship and struggle. Ever since its discovery, the stone has been used to treat a number of physical disorders and ailments. Because the gemstone is so rare, it is seldom used in modern jewellery. However, alexandrite’s distinctive optical characteristic makes it one of the most treasured gemstones, ideal for use in jewelleries like rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pendants, engagement rings, eternity rings and bridal set rings.
Formation of Alexandrite
Basically a form of chrysoberyl, alexandrite like any other gemstone is formed under specific geological conditions. The colour of the mineral chrysoberyl (an aluminate of beryllium) is due to the presence of iron. However, the colour of alexandrite is due to the traces of chromium. The formation of alexandrite depends on the combination of aluminum and beryllium with trace elements like titanium, iron and especially chromium. The presence of chromium in the rock formation is imperative for the formation of alexandrite. Without chromium, there will be the formation of chrysoberyl crystals, though they will not be alexandrite. They will also not have the incredible color-changing properties which alexandrite is so famous for.
Also, the elements chromium and beryllium have different chemical properties which makes it unlikely for them to occur together in the earth’s crust. Moreover, even if nature brings them together, they need to be devoid of the chemical element silica so that it stall the growth of emerald. This geological phenomenon is a rare occurrence in nature, thereby making alexandrite a very rare and valuable gemstone.
Nevertheless, when all these requirements are met, intense heat and pressure within the earth, pushes the magma up the earth’s crust. The magma then traverses through several layers inside the earth, even layers containing rock formations accompanied with chromium and water. After the water cools, the minerals and elements present in water and magma, merge and crystallise. The presence of high amounts of beryllium in the magma cause a chemical reaction which results in it mixing with chromium during the crystallisation process in the rocks. This culminates into the formation of a form of chrysoberyl-alexandrite. The presence of other elements may or may not affect the colour and clarity of the gem alexandrite.
Though very scarce, alexandrite when studded in rings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants, earrings, engagement rings, eternity rings and bridal set rings looks exceptionally beautiful and will surely garner a lot of attention from the passerby.
Sources of Alexandrite
In 1840 in the Urals, the largest piece of alexandrite weighing at 5724 grams was discovered. Though the Ural region of Russia, is credited to be the original source of alexandrite, the mines depleted over time. For many years, it was thought to be the only source of large alexandrite gems. In 1987, alexandrite in large sizes was discovered in Brazil, Minas Gerais. Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Myanmar, Madagascar, India etc are other sources of alexandrite with the most significant source being Brazil. The alexandrites found in Brazil and Sri Lanka are not as bright as the Russian stones have been famous for. Though scarce, they are much in demand for use in rings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants, earrings, engagement rings, eternity rings and bridal set rings.
Alexandrite Color and Properties
Alexandrite’s most phenomenal feature lies in its ability to change colours. This phenomenon, often referred to as ‘the Alexandrite effect’, is dependent on the lighting condition it is being viewed under. This magical feature of alexandrite is due to the presence of the element chromium. The most precious and desirable alexandrites are those with clear colour and a striking ability to change colour. In other words, the more drastic the colour change, the more the value.
Alexandrite color range usually varies as:
|Very light blue Green
|Light Green or Slight Green
|Slightly Purple Red
|Red Purple or Purple Red
Amidst the above ranges, the most sought after and valuable is said to be the green alexandrite that changes its colour to a fiery red under incandescent light. The alexandrites which are sourced from Brazil are said to undergo 100% colour change. They are therefore the most valued. The alexandrites sourced from Zimbabwe have very little colour change properties, whereas those from Tanzania have moderate to good color change abilities. Alexandrites are sometimes treated to perk up the appearance. Alexandrite has a hardness of 8.5 on the Moh’s scale. As far as alexandrite’s clarity and luster are concerned, they are usually clean in clarity and after they are polished and cut, they display a vitreous luster. Rough alexandrite ranges from transparent to opaque. This is one gem which rarely occurs in large size. In fact, alexandrites of over three carats are very rare. For use in jewelries like rings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants, earrings, engagement rings, eternity rings and bridal set rings
alexandrite can be faceted into shapes like round, oval, pear, cushion, heart, marquise etc.
Healing Properties of Alexandrite
Alexandrite is known to change the wearer or owner’s fortune. It brings luck, boosts one’s creativity and imagination. The stone encourages romance, hope and bring joy into the lives of the people. It induces strength in the individual and bring a calming effect on the wearer. Alexandrite is also known to show its magic on various physical ailments. People recovering from a surgery or a prolonged illness are recommended alexandrite. Alexandrite is believed to improve blood circulation and strengthen the blood vessels. It also aids in purifying the blood and has a positive effect on people suffering from problems in the pancreas and spleen.
Alexandrite’s hardness and durability make it an ideal gemstone for use in rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants, engagement rings, eternity rings and bridal set rings. If you are wondering what cut to opt for; you can go for the cushion cut as that brings out the best in alexandrite. The stone is also known to improve the emotional well being of the wearer and motivate them to change their perspective towards life in a positive way.
The Collection of Alexandrite at AG & Sons
Alexandrite is every designers dream gem as they are versatile and can be mounted on rings, bracelets, earrings, pendants, necklaces, engagement rings, eternity rings and bridal set rings. As bold as the gem, alexandrite jewellery makes a bold statement and what more would a woman want, than to make heads turn and look in awe at her jewellery. ‘AG & Sons’ has fine quality alexandrite jewellery in all types of metals, colours, designs and sizes. We also cater to customisation, so if you have your desired design ready, visit us!