Other Names: Chrysolite during Victorian era
Origin of Name: Gemologist Nils G. Nordenskiold named it as a tribute to Tsar Alexander II of Russia
Meaning of the Stone:
Classification: Precious gemstone
Region: Ural Mountains, India, Sri Lanka,Madagascar, Tanzania,
Color: emerald green, red, blue green, orange yellow, color according to angle and type of light
Transparency: Transparent to Translucent
Fracture: Conchoidal to uneven
Hardness (Gravity): 8.5( 3.70-3.78)
Crystal System: Orthorhombic
Similar minerals: Chrysoberyl, Cymophane
1. Legend and History
Alexandrite is a relatively new stone, as it was discovered in 1834 in the emerald mines of the Ural mountains in Russia, by a Finnish gemologist, Nils G. Nordenskiold, whom is said to have named it Alexandrite in honor of the future Tsar Alexander II of Russia. The main reason for Aexandrite becoming the stone of the Tsar, but also the fascination of Russian jewelers around this stone lies in the color; Alexandrite demonstrates the principal colors of old Imperial Russia’s flag. Despite it’s young age however Alexandrite is thought as a highly noble stone, with royal roots due to it’s impeccable beauty, and rareness in some varieties. Russian jewelers were fascinated with the colorations of this stone, and created many pieces, however, it is highly difficult to come across such antique jewelry pieces nowadays as they are kept well guarded by their owners.
As all precious stones, Alexandrite too is said to have certain healing abilities and mystical powers, such as improving the central nervous system, relieving from spleen and pancreas problems, but also assisting one in matters of self-esteem and the ability to be joyful.
2. Origin in nature and use:
Alexandrite is not easily found, due to it’s rather rare chemical disposition, despite being a variety of chrysoberyl. The primary source of Alexandrite is Russia, and more specifically the Urals, however, when the Russian deposits were thought almost obsolete, excavations began in search of new sources of Alexandrite, and they were indeed found in Brazil, more specifically Minas Gerais, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Madagascar. This remarkable gem was mainly used for the creation of expensive and extravagant jewelry, affordable only to the most fortunate of persons.
3. Interesting Facts:
When the Russian deposits of Alexandrite were thought to have been exhausted, interest in the stone showed a significant decrease due to the fact that other deposits did not show the same characteristics, mainly that of the color change, until 1987 when the deposit in Minas Gerais of Brazil was discovered and showed similar attributes to the rare beauty found in the Russian Alexandrite.
Furthermore, this gem is rather understated, as the uniqueness and rarity may be seen only by an expert or enthusiast, as at first sight, it’s interchanging colorations and mysterious sparkle cannot be seen, unless exposed to different light sources.
4. Care and Storing:
Alexandrite is a high valued precious stone, and must be kept well and safe in order for it’s wearer to be able to enjoy it’s fascinating colorations for years. Frequent cleaning with a soft cloth and salt water will help keep the gem sparkle, while rubbing down with a pure cotton cloth will keep it’s shine. Alexandrite must be kept in a presentation box and not in direct reach of light at all times.