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 Alexandrite

 

Gemstone :
Alexandrite

Birthstone Month :
Alexandrite is the birthstone for the month of June.

Zodiac :
Alexandrite is associated with the zodiac sign of Scorpio.

Chemical Symbol :
BeAl2O4

Chemical Make-up :
Alexandrite is a very rare variety of the Chrysoberyl mineral, mixed with Aluminium,
Iron, Titanium and Chromium.

History & Lore :
There is not 100% agreement regarding the exact date that this phenomenal stone was discovered, but it was reportedly discovered in 1830 in the Emerald mines near the Tokovaya River in the Ural Mountains of Russia. It is said that it was discovered
on the day the Czar Alexander II came of age and for this reason the stone was named Alexandrite. Alexandrite soon became the national stone of Czarist Russia because of its colors red and green, the principal colors of the old Imperial Russia.

Alexandrite has been known to boost confidence and self-esteem, to balance one's emotional state, and to help bring about positive change. It has been said to intensify the feelings of compassion, love, and sensuality and is also known to induce happiness and success. Physically, Alexandrite is said to help treat pancreatic
disorders, ailments of the spleen, and swollen lymph nodes. It has also been said to be helpful in the treatment of leukemia.

 

 

Availability :
Alexandrite is extremely rare and very expensive. Finding stones that are over five carats is incredibly rare. Because of this, Alexandrite is hardly ever used in modern jewelery, although there has of late been a large upsurge in demand, particularly
within the Far Eastern marketplaces.


Sources :

The original source of Alexandrite in the Ural Mountains of Russia has long since dried up. Today they have been re-opened, but only produce a few carats each year. Today Brazil and Sri Lanka (Ceylon), are the two major producers of the stone. However it is also found in Myanmar (Burma), India, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe Unfortunatley, none of these locations produce as rich and vivid colors as the original gemstones mined in Russia.

Evaluation :
Alexandrite is rated at 8 – 8.5 on the Moh's Scale of Hardness and as such, is suitable for all jewelry applications and suitable for everyday wear. The reason this stone is so revered is because of it's ability to change colors. In daylight Alexandrite is most commonly a bluish mossy green. When viewed under incandescent light from a lamp or candle, the color switches to a warm raspberry tone. This color change is due to its chemical composition. Alexandrite is capable of this color change because it is a Chrysoberyl, a rare oxide mineral. The spectacular color change is caused by the partial replacement of aluminum by chromium within the stone.The most important factor to take into consideration when evaluating Alexandrite is the intensity of the color change.

The more intensive and complete the color change, the more rare and valuable the stone is. The most desirable and therefore the most valuable Alexandrites are stones that appear pure green in daylight and pure red under incande scent light, with 100% color change exhibited. This means that there should be no unwanted bleeding of brown with the switch from one color to the next. If the origin of the stone is undisputably Russian, the stone is enormously rare and valuable. The other important factors to take into account are the clarity and the cutting quality. The majority
of the Alexandrites on the market today are less then 1 carat due to the fact that larger sizes command very high premiums. To help put value into perspective, fine Alexandrite values are comparable to fine Ruby or Emerald prices.

Common Cuts :
Alexandrite is most usually cut into Cushion and Oval shapes, but Emerald and Round cuts are also quite common.

Routine Enhancements :
There are no known treatments for Alexandrite.

Care & Cleaning :
Alexandrite can be cleaned in warm, soapy water and can also be cleaned in alcohol or commercially available products. Ultrasonic and steam cleaning processes are generally considered to be safe but should these methods be used, they should really be undertaken by suitably qualified jewelers. Alexandrite should be kept away from prolonged exposure to excessive heat as this can effect the stones color change effect.

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