Alexandrite

 Alexandrite in the rough Photo: Manfred Kampf

Alexandrite in the rough Photo: Manfred Kampf

Known to gem enthusiasts as "Emerald by day, ruby by night", this unique color-morphing  gemstone is easy to be captivated by. This extremely rare gemstone was first discovered around the 1830's in the Ural mountains of Russia. There is controversy surrounding who first discovered Alexandrite, however in 1842 Finnish Mineralogist Nils Gustaf NordenskjÖld was the first to formally publish the scientific description of this color-changing Chrysoberyl under the name "Alexandrite". 

 Gustaf Nordenskiöld aged 74

Gustaf Nordenskiöld aged 74

Alexandrite is an 8.5 hardness on the  Mohs Hardness Scale, and is a great stone for everyday wear. What makes this gem so sought after, is its ability to change colors drastically in different environments. In natural or fluorescent light, Alexandrite appears to be green, blue-green, or even blue-violet. When viewed in a warmer light source, (candlelight or incandescent light), this brilliant gem transforms into red, orange-red, or red-violet.  

A wide variation of colors in different Alexandrites depend on many different factors. Different colors and color intensity depend on quality, if the stone is lab-created, or if it’s a synthetic color-changing Chrysoberyl such as a “color-change sapphire”. 

The reason Alexandrite is able to change color is due to the presence of Chromium as well as three Ions. Alexandrite simultaneously reflects both green, and red wavelengths. The human eye is most sensitive to green wavelengths compared to red. There’s a higher density of green wavelengths in natural light, therefore when Alexandrite is presented in daylight, our eyes see the stone as green. In warmer-toned light, there is  a lack of  green wavelengths, but an abundance of red wavelengths, and we see the stone as red.

Celebrity News

 Anna Faris wearing Omi Prive' designed by Niveet Nagpal "Alexis" with Alexandrites 

Anna Faris wearing Omi Prive' designed by Niveet Nagpal "Alexis" with Alexandrites 

Alexandrite is somewhat popular with celebrities today. Television and film actor Felicity Huffman was seen wearing an oval Alexandrite diamond ring at the Golden Globes in 2015. Anna Farris (Above), is known for her part in the Scary Movie series, she dazzled in a n Alexandrite and Diamond lizard brooch at the 65th Emmy Awards in 2013. The brooch (below)  that Anna wore is from Omi Prive’ and designed by  Niveet Nagpal from OMI Pavie’ and named the piece “Alexis”. Pictured is the brooch shown in it’s two color forms.

 "Alexis" Broach showing Alexandrites in Daylight & Candlelight.

"Alexis" Broach showing Alexandrites in Daylight & Candlelight.

Possible Healing properties of Alexandrite

*Information on this page is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, treat or diagnose, or to cure any health related problems. We place no guarantee on the effects (or lack thereof) of the healing properties of the stones discussed.

Potential healing properties of Alexandrite include healing the nervous system, can stimulate the liver, and is a great detoxifier of the body.* The changing colors of Alexandrite can reflect the heart and mind, and can help illuminate the wearer's perspective between the intuitive and rational viewpoints. This stone is said to help the wearer give, as well as receive forgiveness, and can increase the feeling of self-worth. Alexandrites are said to increase your imagination, and can help the wearer connect with their inner voice, as well as inspire the wearer to seek joy in everyday life.

Poetry Corner

 Marilyn Hacker, Author & Poet

Marilyn Hacker, Author & Poet

In 1973, Marilyn Hacker published a poem entitled "An Alexandrite Pendant for My Mother". In her poem retrieved from poetryfoundation.org, Marilyn describes Alexandrites’ unique beauty as a “purple stone”:

I am not in my country, and my home shifts in the prism of a purple stone looped around by slender golden straits. Within, a fist of windy palm-swards clashes, bends behind the grey ephemera of rain. Another night. Dogs bark against the dawn...
— Marilyn Hacker

Alternative Engagement Rings

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Many modern brides-to-be are looking for unique engagement rings that don’t include any diamonds at all.  Diamonds are the traditional choice in engagement rings due to its rarity, as well as it’s hardness (10). Any stone with the hardness between 8 and 10 are likely to last a lifetime. Therefore as an engagement stone alternative, Alexandrite is a great fit ranking as an 8.5 on the hardness scale. However, Alexandrites per carat are about equal to the price of diamonds. This is because lab-created alexandrites require highly sophisticated expertise, and expensive equipment.     

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We carry a small selection of alexandrites in-store, here at the Gem Shop. We carry a wider selection within our online shop, including a variety of elegant rings.   If you want to witness the unique brilliance of Alexandrites with your own eyes, then stop into your local, family owned jewelry shop. We will help transform your dream ring into reality, and work within your price range to help you find the perfect gift for a loved one, or for yourself!