Alexandrite: A Russian Form of Chrysoberyl

A mineral that fascinates people is a stone that sells. Such is the mineral Alexandrite which has a unique ability to change between two colors depending on the light that is directed upon it. It is also a stone that comes from a parent mineral that is also the parent of many other stones that are currently used for semi precious stones for birthstones. Alexandrite is also a stone that is hard to find due to the amount of synthetics out in the market, but even so it is a stone that has a name that comes from royalty.

Alexandrite is a form of a stone called chrysoberyl, and as such shares a similar formation process with this stone. Alexandrite, as well as all other forms of chrysoberyl, is formed in volcanic chambers and results from the magma rising to the surface melting the layers of the crust as it goes along. As the magma rises it encounters particles of water which combine together with the magma to form many different minerals, in this case the mineral being chrysoberyl.

Chrysoberyl before it changes to become Alexandrite, or any of its other varieties, is a yellow to yellowish green color or a brownish color and can be transparent to translucent. This color spectrum is due to the presence of iron in the rock as well as the substitution or limitation of other element. In the case of Alexandrite, the reason for its different colors is due to the substitution of aluminum for chromium. Normally this will only give a stone one color but by a rare occurrence it has given Alexandrite two colors that it interchanges between. Alexandrite is called a color changing stone, a stone that changes between two colors, and in this case it is due to the type of light that is shown directly upon the stone. In natural light or fluorescent light the stone will appear the color of green while in incandescent light the stone will appear to be a reddish purple color.

There are also many other forms of chrysoberyl that are also widely known. These stones are diamond, corundum, topaz, spinal, garnet, and tourmaline. Tourmaline also can be found in a wide range of colors ranging from strawberry tourmaline, a stone with both green and pink colors, to a jet black color. Many of the other forms of chrysobery are widely known, because they are frequently used as birthstones. Garnet is the birthstone for the month of January, diamond being the birthstone for the month of April, and blue topaz being the birthstone for the month of December. Although in some instances yellow topaz is a preferred stone as opposed to citrine which is the birthstone for the month of November.

There are many pieces out on the market which are not true pieces of Alexandrite. These pieces have a variety of forms in which they are made and date back to the 1900s. Two of the most widely used synthetic Alexandrites are a synthetic Alexandrite and a synthetic color changing corundum. The synthetic Alexandrite is an Alexandrite that has been grown in a lab and can sometimes be given away by the inclusions, but sometimes the synthetic is so good that it is hard to tell the difference. A synthetic color changing corundum is a ruby or sapphire that has been forced to become a color changing stone taking on the color changing properties of an Alexandrite.

Alexandrite gets its name from a royal source after it was discovered deep in the mountains. This mineral was discovered deep within the Ural mountain range in Russia on the day of the Tsar Alexander II’s birthday, thus how the stone received its name. The mineral was also very special to those in Russia due to the fact that the colors that the stone changed between were those of the Imperial flag. Other places that this mineral has been found since its discovery include Sri Lanka, Brazil, India, Tanzania, and Madagascar.

Alexandrite is a mineral that comes from a stone that has many other forms. It is also a stone that was discovered and named after a royal figure in Russia. Although the most interesting feature is that the mineral Alexandrite is a stone that can change between two different colors depending on the light that the holder is standing in at the time.