Gemstone spotlight: Alexandrite


Name: Alexandrite

Moh Hardness Scale: 8.5

Specific Gravity: 3.7

Refractive Index: 1.76

Colour: Blue-green in daylight; pink-red in incandescent light



Alexandrite is precious gemstone with peculiar properties and a peculiar past. This gemstone exhibits a colour change effect, appearing green to blue in bright light, while in more moderate light it shifts to a raspberry pink or red.


This stone is as unsure of its history as it is of its hue. This stone was discovered in Russia by a French mineralist of Scandanavian descent, making it a mixed breed. Legend holds that the gem was unearthed on the same day that the Tsar Alexander II came into his royal powers. It was soon declared the official stone of the Russian Tsardom.


It is the most famed of all colour-change gemstones, and has given its name to the phenomenon which is called the Alexandrite Effect.


Originally, Alexandrite gemstones were only available from Russia, but deposits have been discovered in South East Asia and Africa, making this valuable gemstone more widely available.


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