Alexandrite Gems

Gorgeous Looks, Exorbitant Price - Alexandrite

Alexandrite is one of the rarest gemstones on our planet. This is ofcourse talking about natural alexandrite and not man made lab alexandrite. This gem stone is a type of chrysoberyl and a very special type indeed. Alexandrite exhibits a color change when the light conditions change, this is a very rare phenomenon in the world of gemstones. The high price levels of natural alexandrite is due to two clear reasons. The first reason is that alexandrite gems are very rare, most gem quality alexandrite is mined in small sizes. Another reason for the high price of this gemstone is due to it's color change property.

If you see a natural alexandrite gem stone in normal daylight, it appears greenish or bluish green in color. Move the same gem stone under an incandescent light and it amazingly changes color to a reddish or purplish red color. You might also come across alexandrite stones that change color to a raspberry red. Gemological experts agree on on one thing and that is alexandrite, needs to show a visible color change to be called an alexandrite. What you need to understand is that, all green or bluish green chrysoberyl cannot be classified as alexandrite. It is the color change property of such chrysoberyl that gives the gemstone the distinction of being alexandrite.

So what defines the quality of a good alexandrite gem stone, once again we would like to remind you that this discussion is limited to natural alexandrite gemstones only. Like most other gems clarity and lack of inclusions or limited inclusions, would imply a good quality alexandrite gem stone. The degree of color change that the alexandrite exhibits will also influence the price. The clearer the color change phenomenon, the more valuable the alexandrite. Gem experts like to use the terms, slight, medium, good and vivid or violent when talking about the degree of color change in an alexandrite gem stone.

Studying the size of alexandrite gem stones makes an interesting subject. Most of the alexandrite stones available in the gems and jewelry markets are of the below 1 carat size group. The fact is that alexandrite gems that weigh a carat or more, are very expensive and extremely rare. It is therefore a good idea to use alexandrite as an accent stone unless, you have a hefty budget allocated to your jewelry purchase. Just to give you an idea, a 2 to 2.5 carat alexandrite that shows medium color change, could cost as much as 3,500 U.S$ to 6,000 U.S$ per carat. It is the high price as well as the rare nature of larger alexandrite pieces, that has limited the demand for alexandrit stones in the 1 carat and beyond size range.

Rarely is a gem stone blessed with so many good features like the alexandrite. This gem stone boasts of a hardness rating of 8.5 making it suitable for all jewelry applications. It does not need any special care or fussing, you could say that it is expensive but gives great value for the price paid. The gem was first mined in the Urals in Russia, and is named after the Russian tsar Alexander. An interesting thing about alexandrite and Russia is that, the green and red color exhibited by the gem stone also happened to be the principal colors of Imperial Russia. It is therefore no surprise that the Russians have the Alexandrite gem stone close to their hearts.

The Russian alexandrite mines do not yield much of alexandrite these days. Other sources have been located for alexandrite in Brazil, Madagascar and also in the African nation of Zimbwabe. The Indian region of Orissa also outputs some fine alexandrite though, the size is generally in the half carat or smaller size. Alexandrite is a favorite among many gem and jewelry lovers, it is also one fo the most interesting gems adored by serious gem collectors and enthusiasts.

Some birth stone charts list Alexandrite as one of the birthstones for the month of June. However the high price of this rare gem, has encouraged many people to use the alternate June birthstone which is moonstone or pearl. If you are very particular about birthstones, and needed the June birthstone, you could get a moonstone ring and use natural 3mm to 4mm alexandrite stones as accent gems.