Alexandrite: Gemstone and Jewelry


Alexandrite is an extremely rare and valuable gemstone, famous for its remarkable color-changing properties. It is an interesting gemstone, both for its history and its beauty. The name “alexandrite” came from the name of Alexander II, the tsar of Russia, because the first discovery of this gemstone was in 1830 in the Ural Mountains of Russia. This article will explore the fascinating history of alexandrite, its physical and chemical properties, and its use in jewelry.



History of Alexandrite: 

The discovery of alexandrite is credited to a worker named Nils Gustaf Nordenskjöld, who found it while mining for emeralds in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 1830. He found the stone in a streambed, and it was a green color. However, when he took it inside, he noticed that the stone had changed color to red, in the light of a candle. The stone was later named after Tsar Alexander II, who came to the throne in 1855.

The tsar was only 16 years old when he came to the throne, but he was a big fan of gemstones, and he reportedly owned a significant collection of precious stones. The tsar himself was interested in the gemstone, and he ordered the Imperial Court to find more specimens of the stone.

The demand for alexandrite grew quickly, and by the end of the 19th century, Russia was producing large quantities of alexandrite. The Alexandrite Deposits of Russia were the only known source of alexandrite at the time, and they remained the sole source for several decades. Later, other sources of alexandrite were discovered, including Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and Brazil.



Physical and Chemical Properties of Alexandrite: 

Alexandrite is a variety of the mineral chrysoberyl, which is an aluminate of beryllium. Its chemical formula is BeAl2O4. The distinctive color-change of alexandrite is due to the presence of chromium, which absorbs light in the yellow and blue parts of the spectrum, leaving only green and red light to be reflected back to the viewer. The chromium content must be at least 0.1% for the color-change effect to occur.

Alexandrite has a hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs scale, meaning it is a very durable gemstone. It has a specific gravity of 3.5-3.8, and it has a refractive index of 1.746-1.755. Alexandrite is also pleochroic, meaning it exhibits different colors when viewed from different angles. The most prized alexandrite exhibits a bright green color in daylight or fluorescent light, and a vivid red or purplish-red color in incandescent light, such as candlelight or tungsten light.

physical and chemical


Alexandrite Jewelry: 

Alexandrite is a popular gemstone for use in jewelry, especially because of its color-changing properties. It is often used in rings, earrings, pendants, and necklaces. Due to its rarity, alexandrite is a very valuable gemstone, and it is often used in high-end jewelry. The most popular cut for alexandrite is the cushion cut, but it is also found in round, oval, and pear shapes. Alexandrite is often cut as a cabochon or shaped into beads for use in necklaces.

One of the most famous pieces of Alexandrite jewelry is the Smithsonian Institution’s “Alexandrite Necklace,” which is comprised of 28 alexandrite stones, totaling 243 carats. Each stone is set in a platinum pendant, which is decorated with diamonds weighing 60 carats. Another famous alexandrite piece is the “Tiffany Yellow Diamond and Alexandrite Pendant,” which is made of a 25-carat yellow diamond and an 11-carat alexandrite. The pendant is set in platinum, and it is considered to be one of the most valuable pieces of jewelry in the world.




Alexandrite is a fascinating gemstone, known for its unique color-changing properties. Its rarity and beauty make it a highly prized gemstone, especially for use in high-end jewelry. Its history is also fascinating, as it was discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in the 19th century, and it was named after Tsar Alexander II. Alexandrite has a hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs scale, and its chemical formula is BeAl2O4. Its distinctive color change is due to the presence of chromium. Alexandrite is often used in rings, earrings, pendants, and necklaces, and it is often cut as a cushion cut, as well as round, oval, and pear shapes. Overall, alexandrite is a unique and valuable gemstone, with a rich history and wonderful beauty.


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