The Gemstone Alexandrite is UUUUUUGGGLLLY!!!!
Now I will say that calling Alexandrite UGLY isn’t totally Fair. What I mean to say is: “Alexandrites are the Ugliest Gemstone in the World!” There! :)
I’m sure there are Lovely, Absolutely Beautiful Alexandrites out there… I’ve just never seen them. (Genuine that is!)
You see, most people don’t even Realize that you can’t find Real Genuine Alexandrites in the Stores… Stores usually only carry Created ones. Shocking? Maybe, but true!
The basic reason for this is: Alexandrites are not only Extremely Rare, but Extremely Expensive. (Good ones can Cost you more than a Diamond!) Every now and then you can come across a Genuine Alexandrite in the Jewelry Stores if you’re lucky, but I’m going out on a limb here and saying, it’s probably not pretty! Makes you wonder how it became a Birthstone in the first place???
Alexandrite IS the Alternate Birthstone for the Month of June (Pearl being the Official Birthstone). But since it’s so Scarce, Jewelers sell Created ones instead.
Genuine Alexandrites really are that Rare. Chances are good you’ll find very few of them (if any) in any Jewelry Store across the Country. And if you do, either the Price Tag will be insane, the Stone will be small, or the Gem won’t be Pretty!
We had a Genuine Alexandrite in our store for Years. No one ever looked at it. Why? Because even though it was a Fairly Large Stone (3 Carats), it was Very Pricey (because it was REAL), but what was really funny about it was this fact: It was Ugly! Really Ugly! Fugly! (Now you know why I call them that!)
Really it was! It didn’t look pretty in the least. It wasn’t really Green. It wasn’t really Purple. It had little Sparkle, no Shine, and it looked like Muddy Water to me (see Picture). Dark and Dirty, Grayish Purple… Yuck! Poor Stone! “Dim” is the appropriate word for it. (Not the sharpest Gem in the Case!)
Alexandrite is hard to find in any Good Qualities or Sizes. Which is Sad, because Alexandrite is a very Durable Gemstone. (It’s Great for Jewelry!) Alexandrite has a Hardness of 8.5 on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness.
Diamond and Corundum (Ruby & Sapphire) are the only two Natural Gemstones that are harder. And it’s not only Hard, but Alexandrite is actually Pretty Heavy too (Specific Gravity of 3.7 – 3.76). It Weighs more than a Diamond does! (S.G. of 3.52) Fascinating Stuff! (It Sinks Faster in Water!)
The Coolest thing about Alexandrites is their Famous Color Changing Abilities. (Sometimes called the Alexandrite Effect) In different lighting Alexandrites will look like two totally different Gemstones. In Daylight or Fluorescent lighting the Stone can appear Green. Under Incandescent Light or Light Bulbs the Stone can appear Red, Purple or Brown.
What causes this Cool Color Change in Alexandrites? Alexandrites are a Pleochroic Stone (it can show more than one Color at a time)… Pleochroism and our eyes that is! Our eyes can perceive Alexandrite’s Different Wavelengths and show them off as Greens and Reds depending on the Different Lighting Situations. Hence we see the different Spectrums of Light and the Stone looks either Green or Red to us. (And you thought it was Magic!)
Alexandrite’s Parent Rock is Chrysoberyl. (Which also gives us Cat’s Eye!) Chrysoberyl comes in neat colors like White, Green, Emerald Green, Asparagus Green, Greenish-Yellow, Yellow, Orange-Yellow, Orange, and Brown. The name Chrysoberyl actually is two different Greek words put together: Chrysos (Gold) and Beryllos (Beryl). (Just so you know!)
The main locations for finding Alexandrites are: Tanzania, Zambia, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Burma, and the Ural Mountains in Russia.
The Ural Mountains are where Alexandrites were first discovered back in 1830. And because of its Green/Red Colors (Which were also colors of the Russian Imperial Guard), the Gemstone was named “Alexandrite” (after Czar Alexander II on his 12th Birthday).
Naming it after a Czar was fitting too because the Gemstone stands for Good Fortune, Success, Happiness and Surprises!
“Surprise! This Ugly Gem is named after you!”
With Alexandrites being so Rare and Expensive, it was only a matter of time until they started Creating them in a Laboratory. A System called the Flux Process created Alexandrites and brought them to the market in 1972. And let me tell you, Created Alexandrites look Wonderful! I’m a Big Fan. They look Blue-Green in Natural Sunlight, and under Artificial Lighting they turn Red or Purple (See Picture). Simply Stunning!
Created Alexandrites have tons of Brilliance and Sparkle. Their Colors are Beautiful, they have no Inclusions (because they’re NOT made in Nature), and their Price is Fantastic (Cheap compared to the Genuine Stones).
Plus, Created Alexandrites have the same Hardness as the Real Stone. Very cool! It even has the same Chemical Composition as the real thing… (Are you sold yet?) Created Alexandrites don’t have any Flaws that I can speak of… Except that they’re not Real! But oh well, you can’t Win them all!
Alexandrite is the Anniversary Gift to give for the 1st, 12th, 14th, 15th, 18th, and 55th Anniversaries. (Just remember to Buy the Created ones, unless You Want to Spend an Arm and a Leg!)
I always Recommend Created Alexandrite Gems for all June Birthdays and Gift Giving Occasions. (They look Prettier than Pearls to me!) Plus, they’ll Match any other Gemstones you have because they’re Faceted. Bonus! And with them being so Durable you won’t have any problems with the Stone Lasting you for a very long time. Created Alexandrite is a Great Stone to Buy!
Trust me, this is truly one of the Few Occasions where you’ll ever hear me say…
Created Beats Genuine by a Mile!
But then again…
It also Beats it with an Ugly Stick!
Check out the great deals on Alexandrites at Amazon here! :)
Author Richard Scott. Certified Diamontologist and Gemologist. 30 years of experience.
Let Richard help you choose the best diamond, the most dazzling engagement ring, and save as much money as possible. Read more about the author here. Follow Richard on social media; Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest. Contact Richard Scott here.