Alexandrites are beautiful color-change varieties of the Chrysoberyl family of gemstones and are very rare and expensive gemstones. The Alexandrite possesses almost mystical qualities due to the way its colors change from green to red and purplish reds when light is reflected upon them.
Originally discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia is 1830, the Alexandrite was named after the young Czar, Alexander II. Following this, the gemstone became very popular due to its green and red colors being the same as the Imperial Russian flag.
Unfortunately, the Ural Mountain Alexandrites are no longer available due to the source becoming exhausted in supply. However, alternative sources have fairly recently, been discovered in Brazil, India, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Tanzania – although they are still a rare gemstone. Original Ural Mountain Alexandrites can now only be found in authentic Antique Estate Jewelry and these exquisite gemstones form the quality standard for all other Alexandrites.
Because of the demand for these gemstones and their rarity, it is now possible to obtain synthetic Alexandrite. Commercially grown Alexandrite displays many of the characteristics of natural Alexandrite, in that it has similar color change qualities but less refraction and differences in its fluorescence. Synthetic Alexandrites are also being made from other stones such as corundums, spinels and garnets.
Naturally sourced Alexandrites are very durable, having a hardness of 8.5 on the Moh’s Scale. However, Synthetic Alexandrites created from garnets will be less hard, but comparable in hardness if created from corundums or spinels
Whilst a synthetic gemstone may still be quite stunning, there is nothing quite like the magic of owning a real natural Alexandrite – but be prepared for a large price tag.