A l e x a n d r i t e
by Kerrie Howard

Figure 1. Images taken from Alexandrite at Gemstones.com




Chemical and
Physical Properties

Natural vs. Synthetic

Cost, Value and

And More!


I n t r o d u c t i o n

Figure 2. Image
taken from
Spirit Quest
which is no longer an active URL
Alexandrite is the gem variety of the mineral chrysoberyl that exhibits a color change from green in daylight to red in incandescent light. This webpage will give information on historical aspects, location and occurrence, and the chemical and physical properties of alexandrite. There will also be material comparing natural and synthetic alexandrite as well as facts on cost, value, and availability. This web site was created by Kerrie Howard in conjunction with Gemstones & Gemology, an online course through Emporia State University, Fall semester 2000.

Figure 3. Image taken
which is no longer an active URL

H i s t o r i c a l    I n f o r m a t i o n

Figure 4. Image
taken from


L o c a t i o n s


C h e m i c a l    &    P h y s i c a l    P r o p e r t i e s

Image taken from:



N a t u r a l    v s .    S n y t h e t i c

Because of the rarity, many imitations and synthetics have been created. Other gemstones that have the color change effect are often sold as being "alexandrite." Some examples of these are diaspore (pastel green to light rose/champagne), color change sapphire (violet-blue to purplish-red), and andalusite (yellowish-green to reddish-brown, because of strong pleochroism). These gemstones offer the color change features at a significantly lower cost.


C o s t ,    V a l u e    &    A v a i l a b i l i t y

Alexandrite is normally faceted and the most common cuts are the oval and the cushion. When evaluating alexandrite, attention should be paid to the color change, with the more dramatic and complete the shift of color, the more rare and valuable. Other important factors to consider are the attractiveness of the two colors, the clarity, and the cutting quality. Alexandrite that is certified of Russian origin is highly valued.


A n d    M o r e ! !

Figure 11. Image taken from
Large alexandrite stones are rare and most are in private collections. The Smithsonian's collection includes two alexandrite gems weighing 65.7 and 16.7 carats (www.pioneergem.com). The argest alexandrite was found in Sri Lanka and weighs 1876 carats. It is interesting to note that alexandrite has other uses than as a gemstone, with one use being as a solid-state crystal for lasers.

R e f e r e n c e s

This page was created on December, 2000.

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copyright 2000 © Kerrie Howard. All rights reserved.