is a color change stone and belongs to the chrysoberyl family
- Alexandrite was discovered in 1830 on the birthday of Alexander
II in the rural mountains in Russia, and named after him.
- Can be cleaned in ultra-sonic cleaners (no longer than 3 to 5
It is emerald green during daylight and a purplish red under artificial
lights or twilight.
Chrysoberyl is known for its fine cat's eyes of greens and greenish
yellows and grey.
Cat's eyes are very expensive and hard to find stones.
Alexandrite is well known as a extremely scarce and very costly
gem. The quality of color change with different illumination is
the primary basis for its quality and price. No more than one
person out of 100,000 has ever seen a real one.
Stones over 5 carats are almost unknown. Brazilian gems tend to
have pale washed out colors when cut. Recently a find was made
in Ceylon of a limited number of crystals, these tend to be olive
green in daylight and a blue-red-black at night.
A few are found from time to time in Brazil, Ceylon, Russia, and
One of the most fascinating gemstones throughout history is alexandrite:
a gem variety of the mineral chrysoberyl that actually changes
color from green in daylight to red in incandescent light. The
first time you see it, it is hard to believe your eyes! Gems that
show special optical effects are known as phenomenal stones. Chrysoberyl
dominates this category, because not only is alexandrite the most
spectacular color change gem, cat's eye chrysoberyl has the most
dramatic eye. Alexandrite has a distinguished and glamorous past:
it was discovered in 1830 in Czarist Russia. Since the old Russian
imperial colors are red and green it was named after Czar Alexander
II on the occasion of his coming of age.
Alexandrite can be found in jewels of the period as it was well
loved by the Russian master jewelers. Master gemologist George
Kunz of Tiffany was a fan of alexandrite and the company produced
many rings featuring fine alexandrite in the late nineteenth and
early twentieth century, including some set in platinum from the
twenties. Some Victorian jewelry from England features sets of
Alexandrite is also sometimes available as an unset stone but
it is extremely rare in fine qualities. The original source in
Russia's Ural Mountains has long since closed after producing
for only a few decades and only a few stones can be found on the
market today. Material with a certificate of Russian origin is
still particularly valued by the trade. Some alexandrite is found
in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe and Brazil but very little shows a dramatic
color change. For many years, alexandrite was almost impossible
to find because there was so little available.
Then in 1987, a new find of alexandrite was made in Brazil at
a locality called Hematita. The Hematita alexandrite shows a striking
and attractive color change from raspberry red to bluish green.
Although alexandrite remains extremely rare and expensive, the
production of a limited amount of new material means a new generation
of jewelers and collectors have been exposed to this beautiful
gemstone, creating an upsurge in popularity and demand.
When evaluating alexandrite, pay the most attention to the color
change: the more dramatic and complete the shift from red to green,
without the bleeding through of brown from one color to the next,
the more rare and valuable the stone. The other important value
factors are the attractiveness of the two colors - the more intense
the better - the clarity, and the cutting quality. Because of
the rarity of this gemstone, large sizes command very high premiums.
the Alternate to Alexandrite
and versatile, pearls are the perfect gift alternative to Alexandrite.
Whether they are saltwater or freshwater, natural or cultured,
pearls can be found to match skin tones, blend with hair color,
accent casual and formal wear. Select from round to unusual baroque
shapes, in lusters from iridescent white to burnished black. Wear
them as chokers or let them cascade from neck to waist.
Depending on your mood, wear them with jeans, pinstripes or a
gown. For more information on pearls, read our article on how to judge a pearl & our intriguing info about pearls.
See also: Proper Care.
almost seems magical with a ghostly shimmering glow floating in
a crystalline material. The Romans thought that moonstone was
formed out of moonlight. Moonstone is a variety of feldspar and
the shimmer, which is called schiller or adularescence, is caused
by the intergrowth of two different types of feldspar, with different
In Europe, moonstone is considered the birthstone for June, although
in the United States it shares that distinction with alexandrite
Moonstones come in a variety of colors. The body color can range
from colorless to gray, brown, yellow, green, or pink. The clarity
ranges from transparent to translucent. The best moonstone has
a blue sheen, perfect clarity, and a colorless body color.
Sometimes moonstone will have an eye as well as a sheen. Another
related feldspar variety is known as rainbow moonstone. In this
variety of labradorite feldspar, the sheen is a variety of rainbow
moonstone is quite rare and becoming rarer. It is mined in Sri
Lanka and Southen India. The rainbow variety can also be found
Moonstones are usually cut in a smooth-domed cabochon shape to
maximize the effect. Sometimes they are carved to show a man-in-the-moon
face. Moonstone beads also display the sheen very well and are
simply stunning against a black dress.