History and Folklore
Many believe alexandrites were discovered by mineralogist Nils Gustoaf Nordenskiöld (1792-1866) on the sixteenth birthday of Alexander II. He named the stone in honor of the future Tsar Alexander II of Russia. While this is a very popular story of the discovery of alexandrites, its origins are steeped in mystery.
Facts and Information
The material that displays a color change in the chrysoberyl species are called alexandrites. In daylight this color appears green, bluish green, yellowish, brownish yellow, greyish and changes to red, purplish red or brownish red in incandescent light. Alexandrite from the Ural Mountains in Russia have the “ideal” color change - green to red or purplish red. Because of their rarity and color change capability, these gems are very expensive, and larger stones are very rare. Alexandrites are the birthstone for June.
Identification and Characteristics
- R.I.: 1.746 - 1.755 (+.004, -.006)
- Hardness: 7.5 - 8
- S.G.: 3.73 (+.02, -.02)
- Species: Chrysoberyl
- Usually safe in steamer or ultrasonic
- Safe in warm, soapy water