Happy 2nd day of June! Today I'm covering the second of the birthstones for this month: Alexandrite!
Alexandrite is a beautiful and fascinating gem that changes color based on what type of lighting it is viewed in. In daylight/fluorescent light Alexandrite is green, and in incandescent light it is a reddish purple. People have often described the stone as "Emerald by day. Ruby by night".
Alexandrite is a relative newcomer to the gem world- as it was only discovered in 1831. The stone was originally discovered in Russia during the reign of tsar Alexander II, which is how alexandrite got its name.
Alexandrite is an incredibly rare variety of Chrysoberyl. The phenomenon of color-change can only happen when aluminum and beryllium mix with the trace elements titanium, iron, and most significantly chromium. Chromium is an extremely rare element, and the unlikely chance of it being near aluminum and beryllium under the right conditions for alexandrite to form is what makes the stone so rare and therefore expensive.
Alexandrite is an 8.5 on the Mohs scale, which makes it one of the most durable gemstones. It doesn't require any special care, so between that and its hardness, Alexandrite is a great stone for everyday wear!
Alexandrite has been considered a royal stone. It is very exclusive- it's scarcity and price often prevent it from being a widely worn stone by the general public. Alexandrites over 3 carats can be worth more than $100,000. It's colors (red and green) were also the principal colors of imperial Russia, which gave it a royal perception.
The stone is still primarily mined in Russia, but there are also deposits in Brazil and Sri Lanka.
Metaphysically, the stone is said to promote emotional balance and to heighten the wearer's instincts.
Alexandrite really is an extremely special stone. I'm always amazed by what nature is capable of, and watching a gemstone change color right in front of my eyes is nothing short of extraordinary.
Check back in tomorrow, June 3rd, and I'll be covering the last birthstone for the month of June: Moonstone!