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March 15, 2024
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Discover the Enchanting World of the Alexandrite Gemstone: Value, Properties & Care Tips

What makes the alexandrite gemstone a coveted treasure? Discover the reasons behind its admiration, from the enchanting color change and rarity that dictate its value to expert advice on keeping your alexandrite in pristine condition. Delve into the world of alexandrite with us, where marvels of nature meet human craftsmanship.

Key Takeaways

  • Alexandrite is a rare color-changing gemstone highly valued for its ability to shift from green to red, with the quality and intensity of this change significantly affecting its value.
  • The rarity of alexandrite gemstone, especially in larger sizes, exponentially increases its worth, with top-quality specimens of one carat fetching up to $15,000 per carat, and the price for bigger stones exceeding five carats can escalate even further.
  • Proper care of alexandrite gemstone involves gentle cleaning with soapy water and soft brushes, while ethical considerations have led to the rise of lab-grown alternatives that offer the same properties without the environmental and social impacts of mining.

Exploring the Allure of alexandrite gemstone

A stunning alexandrite gemstone reflecting green

The extraordinary color-changing ability of alexandrite, known as the ‘alexandrite effect,’ contributes immensely to its allure. This unique quality allows the gemstone to dazzle with a green hue in daylight, only to transform into a red or purplish red under incandescent light. This enchanting color play has elevated the status of alexandrite among gemstone enthusiasts, making it a prized possession in many a collector’s treasury.

While alexandrite gemstone can be sourced from several regions worldwide including Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil, the historical Russian rocks hold a special place in the gemstone universe. These Russian alexandrites are renowned for their precise color change, a characteristic that contemporary sources often struggle to match, making them highly sought-after precious rocks.

This beautiful gemstone’s allure is not solely due to its color-changing properties but also the quality of this change. The valuation of an alexandrite gemstone stone significantly depends on the intensity and distinctiveness of its color shift. The more striking the shift from green to red, the higher is the gemstone’s value.

The Rarity and Value of Alexandrite Stones

A collection of rare and valuable alexandrite stones in various sizes

Its rarity and value further magnify Alexandrite’s appeal. The true charm of this extremely rare gemstone lies in its ability to exhibit a 100% color shift from a pure green to a pure red. This intensity of color change is a key determinant of the gemstone’s worth, making alexandrite gemstone a highly valued possession among rare gems collectors.

The size of an alexandrite stone is another significant influence on its value. As the gemstone’s size increases, so does its price, reflecting the scarcity of large, high-quality gems. Larger alexandrite gemstones are rare, making them a coveted item among antique collectors and gem enthusiasts.

Carat Weight and Price Insights

Carat weight plays a crucial role in the pricing of alexandrite gemstone. Most alexandrite rocks weigh 2 carats or less. However, top-quality gems of up to one carat can command impressive prices, selling for as much as $15,000 per carat.

The correlation between carat weight and price is even more evident when the gemstone’s weight exceeds single carat. As the size of alexandrite gemstone increases beyond single carat, the prices climb exponentially, ranging from $50,000 to $70,000 per carat. This price surge is a testament to the gemstone’s rarity and the great demand for larger specimens.

Alexandrite rocks that exceed five carats are especially rare and highly sought after. These larger stones command even higher prices, particularly if they exhibit a strong color change. Thus, the value of alexandrite gemstone experiences a marked increase as the carat weight grows, reflecting the gemstone’s scarcity and the high demand for larger specimens.

The Russian Heritage

The history of alexandrite is deeply connected to Russia. The gemstone was first discovered in the 1830s in the emerald mines of Russia’s Ural Mountains, marking a significant addition to the gemstone world. This discovery coincided with the reign of Czar Alexander II, after whom the gemstone was named, further cementing its royal connection.

The colors of alexandrite, red and green, mirror the military colors of imperial Russia, further elevating its status as a national symbol of pride. This connection to royalty and national pride has added to the allure and prestige of Russian alexandrite, making these stones highly prized among gemstone collectors.

The initial discoveries of alexandrite in the Ural Mountains set a high standard for this gem. These stones were of exceptional quality, and their rarity has only enhanced the gemstone’s prestige over time. Today, the term ‘Russian Alexandrite’ is synonymous with the finest quality alexandrite gemstone, setting the benchmark for this captivating gemstone.

Physical Properties of Alexandrite

Alexandrite is more than just a beautiful gemstone; it’s a marvel of nature. This alexandrite gem boasts a hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs scale, making it one of the hardest gemstones after diamonds and corundum. This combined with its excellent toughness and absence of cleavage, makes it resilient to being struck and suitable for daily wear.

Alexandrite’s tangible properties also enhance its optical character. The gemstone exhibits strong pleochroism, showing varied coloration such as dark red, orange, and dark green from different angles. This characteristic, along with its high refractive index and specific gravity, makes alexandrite gemstone a feast for the eyes.

Some alexandrite gemstone rocks also exhibit a distinct cat’s eye effect, adding another layer to their visual appeal. Despite its captivating beauty and complex tangible properties, alexandrite is remarkably stable under normal wearing conditions, being unaffected by everyday heat, light, and common chemicals.

Alexandrite Jewelry: A Touch of Magic

Exquisite alexandrite gemstone jewelry including rings, pendants, and bracelets

Many choose Alexandrite as a gemstone for various jewelry settings due to its enchanting properties. From a lush green in daylight to a deep red under incandescent lighting, this gemstone adds a magical touch to any piece of jewelry. Over the years, the popularity of alexandrite in jewelry has skyrocketed, thanks to its unique properties and growing recognition as an alternative birthstone for June.

Whether it’s contemporary custom pieces inspired by the renowned Ural Mountain alexandrites or timeless estate jewelry collections that showcase the gemstone’s age-old brilliance, alexandrite jewelry is as diverse as it is beautiful. Rings, pendants, bracelets – each piece is a testament to the stone’s alluring beauty and the creative artistry of the jeweler.

Colorful Engagement Rings

A vibrant alexandrite engagement ring symbolizing love and uniqueness

Alexandrite provides a distinctive and colorful alternative to the traditional diamond in engagement rings. An alexandrite marriage ring is more than just a piece of jewelry; it’s a symbol of a couple’s unique and dynamic relationship. Its ability to change color from green to red depending on the lighting mirrors the ever-evolving journey of love and commitment.

The rarity and enchanting color-changing characteristic of alexandrite make it a particularly sought-after choice for engagement rings. Just as love transforms and grows over time, so does the color of alexandrite, reflecting the dynamic and ever-evolving aspect of a couple’s relationship.

Choosing an alexandrite gemstone engagement ring is like choosing a symbol of love that is as unique and magical as the journey it represents. It’s not just about the gemstone’s beauty or rarity; it’s about the story it tells and the promise it holds.

The Science Behind the Alexandrite Effect

Alexandrite’s magic comes from its color-changing properties, but what scientific explanation supports this? The answer lies in the gemstone’s chromium content and the way our eyes perceive light filtered through the stone. Chromium ions within alexandrite do not absorb much red light, which is why the stone appears green in daylight and red in incandescent light.

The strong optical absorption of chromium at the wavelength of yellow light is central to alexandrite’s color-changing properties. This results in the gem shifting from a blue green color to purplish-red, depending on the lighting conditions. Our eyes respond to this filtered light by absorbing certain wavelengths and reflecting others, further accentuating the alexandrite effect.

The cut and orientation of the alexandrite gemstone also impact its color change. By orienting the table facet perpendicular to the b-axis, jewelers can achieve the ‘best’ color change, maximizing the gemstone’s pleochroism and enhancing its visual appeal.

Care and Maintenance of Alexandrite Gemstones

As important as appreciating its beauty is, caring for an alexandrite gemstone is equally crucial. To maintain its condition and beauty, alexandrite should be cleaned with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Regular cleaning is essential to remove accumulated substances such as makeup, hairspray, and lotion that can diminish the gemstone’s luster over time.

While ultrasonic and steam cleaners are generally safe for alexandrite, it’s important to exercise caution when using ultrasonic cleaners for stones set in tungsten due to potential damage to the metal. After cleaning, the gemstone should be rinsed with cool water and dried with a soft cloth to prevent water spots and preserve its appearance.

With the right care and maintenance, you can ensure that the enchanting beauty of your alexandrite jewelry remains unscathed, allowing you to enjoy its captivating color-changing properties for years to come.

Ethical Considerations and Lab-Grown Alternatives

Despite alexandrite’s undeniable allure, one must consider the ethical implications of mining this gemstone. Alexandrite mining can have significant environmental impacts including rerouting water sources and potential land degradation. Additionally, safety risks to miners and the need for responsible mining practices are critical considerations.

Synthetic alexandrite offers an ethical and sustainable alternative to the concerns associated with alexandrite mined from the earth. By eliminating the need for landscape disruption and endangering miners, lab-grown alexandrite reduces environmental destruction and pollution. It also helps avoid unethical labor practices associated with large-scale mining operations.

Moreover, Synthetic alexandrite is chemically identical to natural alexandrite gemstone and exhibits the same captivating color-changing properties. By choosing lab-grown stones, consumers can appreciate the beauty of alexandrite ethically and sustainably, without contributing to environmental and social harms.

Summary

In conclusion, alexandrite is a gemstone like no other. Its enchanting color-changing properties, known as the ‘alexandrite effect,’ its rarity and value, and its connections to Russian heritage make it a truly unique gemstone. Whether you’re a gemstone collector, a jewelry enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, alexandrite offers an allure that’s hard to resist.

Whether it’s natural or lab-grown, alexandrite stands as a testament to the magic that nature can create. Its captivating beauty, coupled with its fascinating history and tangible properties, make it a gemstone worth exploring. And with the right care, you can ensure that the allure of your alexandrite gemstone remains intact, allowing you to appreciate its magic for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is an alexandrite worth?

The value of an alexandrite can vary, but top-quality natural gems can sell for up to $15,000 per carat for sizes up to one carat, and prices range from $50,000 to $70,000 per carat for sizes over one carat.

Why is alexandrite special?

Alexandrite is special because it is a rare gemstone that symbolizes good fortune and luck, and is known for its unique ability to change color, embodying the spirit of change and balance. This gemstone appears green or red depending on the light it is observed under, a phenomenon known as the 'alexandrite effect'. These qualities make alexandrite one of the world's most desirable gemstones.

Who should not wear alexandrite?

If you are a Taurus, Sagittarius, Cancer or Virgo, it is advised to treat alexandrite with caution, according to astrologers. These signs should not wear alexandrite.

Who should wear alexandrite stone?

People born in June or celebrating their fifty-fifth wedding anniversary, as well as those with Cancer zodiac sign or ascendants of Leo, Gemini, Taurus, and Virgo, are recommended to wear alexandrite rock.

Is alexandrite the rarest birthstone?

Yes, alexandrite is considered the rarest birthstone, making it a unique and valuable choice for June birthdays.

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