Introduction: Alexandrite is the variety of Chrysoberyl that displays a change of color from green to red. A distinct color change is the primary qualification for a Chrysoberyl to be considered Alexandrite.
Color: Daylight color: bottle green, green-blue, mint green. Color in incandescent or candlelight: raspberry red, coppery red or pinkish, purple-lavender.
Clarity: In terms of clarity, Alexandrite is a Type II stone and is comparable to ruby, with clean faceted stones in sizes above one carat being rare and extremely rare in sizes above 2-3 carats. Crystals and silk are common inclusions.
Cut: Alexandrites are found in a variety of shapes and cutting styles. Ovals and cushions are the most common, but rounds are also seen as are other shapes.
Moh’s hardness: 8.5
Specific Gravity: 4.0
Refractive Index: 1.744-1.755
Countries of Origin: Alexandrite was discovered in 1830 in the Russian Ural Mountains. The major sources of Alexandrite are Russia, Brazil, Sri Lanka Tanzania, Burma and India.
History, Literature and Lore: The stone was discovered on the birthday of Czar Alexander II, and thus is named after him. The name is also appropriate because its dramatic color change echoes the red and green colors worn by the Russian Imperial Guard. The largest stone of 1876 carats was found in Sri Lanka. A 66 carat Alexandrite is on display in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
How To Choose: Assuming a high level of transparency, a good appearance, and no eye-visible imperfections, gem-quality alexandrite is that which shows an attractive green under sunlight, distinctly changing to a purplish red under incandescent light. Alexandrite over 5 carats with a beautiful green and red color is extremely rare and valuable. The key in purchasing an alexandrite lies in evaluating the strength of the green-to-red color change. Avoid Highly included stones, poorly cut stones and stones with low color change. We at INTA Gems will be more than happy to help you choose the best stone for you!
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