Alexandrite is a relatively recent entry to the jewellery world. The first recorded discovery of this amazing Gem occurred in 1830, during the reign of Tsar Alexsander, in Russia’s Ural mountains. It is a species of Beryl, of the same family as Emerald, Aquamarine, Heliodor Beryl and Chrysoberyl. Alexandrite is one of the birthstones for the month of June.
It occurs with varying degrees of extraordinary colour change: in daylight or fluorescent light, the stone is Green, and under incandescent lighting the stone changes to Red. The price of the stone is directly related to the clarity, size and the degree of colour change. A stone with little or no change is relatively modest in price. If a stone is eye clean, well cut, and exhibits an extreme colour change, the price can be exorbitant. A fine example of Alexandrite will be more highly prized, and priced, than a comparable diamond, due to its greater rarity.
The Russian mines are almost depleted now and Alexandrite is predominantly mined in Brazil, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. It is formally divided into two major classes: Brazilian and Russian.
Brazilian Alexandrite is a relatively new find in the gemological world. Russian Alexandrite had long been considered the superior stone: however, Brazilian specimens are beginning to challenge that view. Although Brazilian Alexandrite does not usually boast the same saturation and brilliance of colour as Russian stones, it excels in colour change. In addition, Brazilian Alexandrite is relatively plentiful. Alexandrite has begun to achieve mainstream popularity thanks to these Brazilian stones.
Alexandrite’s origins are in the Ural mountains of Russia. This stone was discovered in 1830 on Czar Alexander II’s birthday and was named after him. At one time it was only found in Imperial Russia and was declared a “royal treasure” ruling that only nobility may lawfully possess jewellery set with it. Tiffany & Co., founded in 1837, soon heard of the find and bought enough of the stones to dominate the market. Until Brazilian stones were introduced into the market decades later, Russian Alexandrite set the standard for both the richness and the change completeness of colour. Even now, some dealers prefer Russian stones when they can get them over Brazilian for their historical and cultural value.
Alexite (and others):
A “Simulant” is a material that appears to be the same as something, but is not, in fact, the same at all. A “synthetic Sapphire exhibiting Alexandrite like properties” has been available for decades as an inexpensive replacement for true Alexandrite. It displays a Blue to Purple colour change and is easily identified because the colours differed so radically from true Alexandrite.
A “Synthetic” in the jewellery trade means that the stone is identical in chemistry and properties to the natural stone, but it has been created by man, in a factory lab, rather than by nature. Alexite is one of the trade names for a man made, synthetic, Alexandrite. The colour shifts from Light Green to a Mid Range Pinkish Red. All of the other properties are identical wit the natural stone. These recent technological advancements permit scientists to synthesize this amazing gem material that not only accurately mimics true Alexandrite, but does so at a fraction of the price of the real gem.
Alexite and genuine Alexandrite are both regularly available from our in stock inventory.