alexandriteAlexandrite, along with pearl, is the gemstone for the month of June. Alexandrite is a rare chrysoberyl variety with chameleon- like qualities. Its color is a lovely green in daylight or fluorescent light, and changes to brownish or purplish red in the incandescent light from a lamp or candle flame. Alexandrite’s dramatic color change is sometimes described as “emerald by day, ruby by night.” Other gems also change color in response to a change in light source, but this gem’s transformation is so striking that the phenomenon itself is often called “the alexandrite effect.”

Abundant alexandrite deposits were first discovered in 1830 in Russia’s Ural Mountains. Those first alexandrites were of very fine quality, and displayed vivid hues and dramatic color changes. The gem was named after the young Czar Alexander II, and it caught the country’s attention because its red and green colors mirrored the Imperial Russian flag.

Today, most alexandrite deposits are found in Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil. Because of its scarcity, especially in larger sizes and finer qualities, alexandrite is a relatively expensive member of the chrysoberyl family.

Content provided courtesy of GIA