A relatively modern gemstone, alexandrite was
discovered in Russian emerald mines located in the
Ural Mountains. Legends claim that it was discovered
in 1834 on the same day that future Russian Czar
Alexander II came of age, and was named to honor him.
Often described as “emerald by day, ruby by night,”
alexandrite is a rare variety of the mineral
chrysoberyl that changes color from bluish green in
daylight to purplish red under incandescent light.
This chameleon-like color shift is the result of its
uncommon chemical composition which includes traces
of chromium, the same coloring agent found in
emerald. The unlikelihood of these elements
combining under the right conditions makes
alexandrite one of the rarest and most expensive gemstones on earth.
The alexandrite mined from Russia’s famed deposits
set the quality standard for this gemstone. Today most
alexandrite comes from Sri Lanka, Brazil, and East
Africa generally paling in comparison to the vivid
colors of Russian gemstones.
With a hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs scale,
alexandrite is softer than sapphire and harder than
garnet—the other gemstones that can change color.
However, due to its scarcity, alexandrite is more
valuable than most gemstones, even rubies and
Associated with concentration and learning,
alexandrite is believed to strengthen intuition, aid
creativity and inspire imagination, bringing good
omens to anyone who wears it.