What Makes Alexandrite a Rare and Magical Gemstone?
Alexandrite is a rare and magical gemstone that changes color and is quite popular among buyers. It belongs to the family of minerals Chrysoberyl is described as an emerald of day and ruby of night. The color of this gemstone changes into bluish-green under daylight, and again into bright red at night under the luminescent light.
Buyers find it interesting, and intriguing, and thus the gemstone is so popular. It is the birthstone of June people, colorful in nature and considered the best gift among all gemstones for the 55th wedding anniversaries and birth anniversaries.
Alexandrite was first discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia during the early 19th century and was declared the official gemstone of Imperial Russia. In the current times, the gemstone is found in Brazil, parts of East Africa, and Sri Lanka. The processed form of Alexandrite is valuable, and in fact, the lab-generated ones are expensive in the market.
It is due to the difficulty in initiating the process of color change in Alexandrite. In artificial procedures, it is not easy to imitate this characteristic. Sometimes, this gemstone can also exhibit colors like pink or yellow, and in a few rare specimens, it exhibits the color of a cat’s eye when cut en cabochon. In such circumstances, it's known as a cat’s eye gemstone.
The Secret Behind Color Change
Alexandrite effect is the term used to denote the color-changing capacity of this particular gemstone. It happens due to the presence of chromium in little percentage inside the gemstone. The chromium inside the gemstone absorbs strong light in the yellow and blue spectrum, causing the color change.
The absorption band of Alexandrite is high around 580 nm, allowing the gemstone to alter its color from red to green when placed under strong light. The daytime light is yellow, while the fluorescent lamps emit blue light, thus giving Alexandrite its color.
The gemstone under different lights catches the wavelength of some colors while reflecting the others. It is capable of reflecting the green color, thus making it appear green during the day. On the other hand, at night when the gemstone is under a fluorescent lamp, it's seen reflecting a large amount of red light, which is the blue line making it bluish-green.
It is quite a magical effect for the onlookers. The most precious form of Alexandrite is the one that contains pure shades and alters colors in a great range. It changes colors and also the density of shades in different countries.
The list is as follows:
- Sri Lankan Alexandrite emits a khaki to brown hue.
- Zimbabwe Alexandrite exhibits different shades of purple.
- Tanzanian Alexandrite emits softer tones of different colors.
- Brazilian Alexandrite gemstones are regarded as some of the most precious ones because they change tones from deep blue to purple ones.
Alexandrite is Naturally Scarce
This gemstone does not occur in amounts naturally. Large-sized Alexandrite is very rare to come by. The largest ever discovered specimen weighed around 6 carats and is found in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.
The gemstone is cut into diverse conventional shapes like round, oval, marquise, and pear. Other shaped gemstones like a trillion, cushion, and heart are also available in the market but are rare. Alexandrite is not cut en cabochon unless it possesses the property known as chatoyant.
The lab-created variety is available in the market, where corundum is infused with vanadium or chromium to achieve the color palette. Also, the durability and clarity aspects are taken care of properly by the industrial processes using which the artificial ones are created.
In fact, in the United States, the Federal Trade Commission has asked the manufacturers to divulge information on the process so that the buyers can know about the standards of safety and quality of the gemstone.
Why Lab-Created Alexandrite is Gaining Popularity
The lab-created Alexandrite is gaining rapidly in popularity because the original ones are becoming extremely rare, and mining them damages the ecological balance. The lab-created ones, on the other hand, are eco-friendly and pocket-friendly. They are the more sustainable versions with almost the same aesthetic properties as natural stone.
This version offers the same color combination as the original or the natural stone provides. The gemstone does not come cheap; it is expensive, but the lab-created ones provide better durability.
The price is affordable compared to the natural one. Many people are opting for artificial ones now because of all the properties it exhibits and the price. In combination, it is a better option and also eco-friendly.
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