All About Alexandrite
Everyone has their story with Alexandrite
“Everyone has a story with their Alexandrite,” Jeffrey says on an afternoon in his studio. The stone that changes color from incandescent light is known for its rare properties—and popularity of synthetics.
ALEXANDRITE HISTORY: EMERALD BY DAY, RUBY BY NIGHT
The main mines for Alexandrite were in the mountains in Russia. It’s a gem variety of chrysoberyl, which appears green in daylight and red in artificial light. The name Alexandrite comes from the day it was discovered in 1830, on Prince Alexander II of Russia’s birthday. The gemstone was found in the emerald mines near the Tokovaya River in Russia’s Ural mountains.
The miners who discovered the gemstone thought it was emerald at first in the daylight. When they took it back to their campfire that night and it turned bright red, the miners realized they’d found a new mysterious gem. The next day, the gemstone turned back to emerald. Because of these characteristics, the stone has been called, “emerald by day, ruby by night.”
Since the stone was green and red—the colors of Old Imperial Russia’s military—Alexandrite became the national stone of tsarist Russia.
THE ONLY PLACE YOU’LL FIND REAL ALEXANDRITE
Most of Russia’s big Alexandrite was mined in the 19th century. Some deposits have since been discovered in Brazil, Southern Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Burma, Madagascar, India and Sri Lanka. These gemstones are smaller and with different color variations—many with a more blue tone, lacking the true emerald green and ruby red characteristic of classic Alexandrite.
Many people claim to have Alexandrite, but most is synthetic. If they really did, they would have body guards surrounding them. The only place you’ll find real, large Alexandrite is in the Smithsonian.