Chrysoberyl - Variety Alexandrite

Are you looking for a unique and beautiful gemstone? Look no further than the chrysoberyl family. Chrysoberyl is an interesting stone, especially the variety called alexandrite.

This rare and beautiful gemstone is known for its color-changing properties, making it one of the most unique and sought-after gems on the market, and has a very interesting origin. Let’s take a closer look at what makes this gem so special.

What is Chrysoberyl?

The first thing to know about chrysoberyl is that it is one of the rarest minerals on earth. It was first discovered in Russia in 1789.

The most common form of chrysoberyl is a yellow-green or brownish-green transparent variety, but there are several other varieties, including the much sought-after alexandrite.

So what is all the fuss about? It is because Alexandrite has this amazing ability to change color from green in natural light to red or purplish red when exposed to artificial light sources such as lamps or candles, it earned the nickname “emerald by day, ruby by night”.  The more dramatic the color change (in some stones you can barely perceive the change) the more valuable it will be.

Color Change Alexandrite

Let's look at a few examples of this beautiful gem:

Angara - Alexandrite Diamond

Why we love this pendant:

We love the design of this pendant, the soft lines, and double halo are so elegant. The detail in the criss-cross bale covered in diamonds is truly gorgeous. The delicate rose gold diamond settings are almost invisible and create a beautiful contrast against the diamonds and the alexandrite. There is no doubt that in evening light, when the stone turns raspberry red, it is equally as stunning.

What you should know:

  • 1.65 Carat Oval Natural Alexandrite (GIA Report)
  • 0.32 TCW Round Diamonds G-H Color VS Clarity
  • 14K Rose Gold 18 Inch Chain (Available in all Precious Metals)

History of Alexandrite

In terms of history and lore, Alexandrite was first discovered in Russia's Ural Mountains in 1834. Nils Gustaf Nordenskiöld discovered the gem on his birthday, the birth date which he shared with Czar Alexander II, April 3rd.

Rather than name the precious new discovery after himself, he felt it was more appropriate to name the gem after the future Czar (1855), thus Alexandrite was born.

The stone quickly became popular among Russian royalty and nobility who used it as their national stone since the colors mirrored the Russian Imperial flag, and was named after their Czar.

Angara Alexandrite Ring

Why we love this ring:

The setting of this ring DOES do justice to this beautiful alexandrite. The delicate halo that surrounds the stone frames it with brilliance and certainly does not overpower the alexandrite. The bezel set diamonds on each side gives the ring a modern touch.

What you should know:

  • Natural 1.60 Carat Alexandrite (GIA Report)
  • 0.13 TCW Diamonds G-H Color VS Clarity
  • 18K White Gold Setting - available in all precious metals
  • Sizes 3-14 available


Today alexandrite still carries strong symbolism of love since its colors represent both passion (red) and peace (green).

Many people believe that this phenomenon symbolizes transformation and change—making this gemstone incredibly popular with individuals who are going through big life changes or starting fresh chapters in their lives.

Gemstone Specifics:

CHEMICAL COMPOSITION: Beryllium Aluminum Oxide (BeAl2O4) + Chromium

CRYSTAL HABIT: Orthorhombic System

COLOR RANGE:                                                                                       Brownish green or bluish green, greenish blue in day light: brownish red to purplish red, reddish-purple in incandescent light (i.e., Candlelight).

Apart from the stones ability to change color under different light sources, alexandrite also has strong pleochroism. This means it can show a different color depending on the angle you view the stone from—green, orangey red to purple-red being the most common shades as you look through the stone from either the top or side views.

SOURCES INCLUDE: Brazil Sri Lanka India Madagascar Tanzania Ural Mountains Russia (mined out in 1890) also considered the highest quality - color change from a Christmas green-Christmas red or raspberry red. The colors are deep and saturated, and the stones are less translucent than stones from other locations.


HARDNESS: 8.5 - It also has very good hardness making it suitable for everyday wear.

TOUGHNESS: Excellent

CARE: Basic jewelry care


Alexandrites are also extremely rare which makes them all the more desirable among collectors and jewelers alike. But do not expect to walk into any jewelry store and find top-quality stones, or any at all unless they are synthetic.

Only the jewelers at the top of the food chain, have connections to find such a rarity and the process can take months and months.

High jewelry auctions are most likely the best source if you have a desire for a beautiful Russian stone, and you also have deep pockets, start with the likes of Christie's or Sotheby's.

If you think you may have an alexandrite, but it has never been tested, take it to a jewelry appraiser, who can give you some answers.  There are alexandrite simulants, gems that may look like alexandrite, but are actually other stones, such as synthetic spinel or corundum (sapphire.)

Angara Alexandrite Ring

Why we love this ring:

Besides the beautiful alexandrite, the setting on this ring is superb. We love the subtle slope of the split shank and the fact that diamonds cover almost all surfaces of the ring. The claws that hold the alexandrite secure are delicate, but do their job all the same.

What you should know:

  • 1.60 Carat Natural Alexandrite (GIA Report)
  • 0.53 TCW Round Diamonds, G-H Color  VS Clarity
  • 18K White Gold- Available in all precious metals
  • Sizes 3-14 available

Synthetic Alexandrite

Just as with other gemstones, there are synthetic, lab-created alexandrites. They have the same chemical, optical and physical properties as natural stones, just their origin is different - they are made in laboratories.

For this reason when purchasing an Alexandrite that is represented as natural, it should always be accompanied by a gem lab report that confirms its origin.

Synthetic Alexandrite

Why we love this pendant:

This is a very pretty color, it looks like blue zircon and we love how it sparkles. This is a handcrafted piece sold on Etsy, so you know it's priced well. A simple classic design that's always a crowd pleaser.

What you should know:

  • 0.80 Carat Synthetic 6mm Alexandrite
  • 14-20 inch 14K Rolo Chain- White and Rose Gold also available
  • CAROL- Owner of DaisyAngelJewelry
  • Made to order


Is Alexandrite a birthstone?

Yes, alexandrite is the designated birthstone for June, along with pearls.

How expensive is alexandrite?

As of January 1, 2023 the per carat price for large top quality alexandrite is $70,000. Alexandrite is always in the top ten most valuable gemstones.

What is the largest Alexandrite?

The largest faceted alexandrite is 65.7 carats and can be found in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. Most stones are under one carat.

Are there any other color change gemstones?

Yes, sapphire, some garnets, diaspore (zultanite) but the most dramatic color change gem is alexandrite.

How durable is alexandrite?

Alexandrite is very durable. It is hard at 8.5 on the Mohs scale, which means it is scratch resistant and it has excellent toughness, which means it is resistant to chipping or breaking. It can be worn daily.


Chrysoberyls have been prized gems for centuries and alexandrite specifically has captivated many with its mesmerizing color-changing capabilities.

Whether you are looking for an eye-catching piece of jewelry or simply want to add an exotic gemstone to your collection, consider adding an alexandrite from the chrysoberyl family!

Not only will it provide you with years of admiration but its rarity also ensures that no two stones will ever be exactly alike! So if you’re ready to make your mark with something truly unique then make sure to check out this beautiful gemstone today!

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Happy Shopping!

Francesca de Granville, G.G. (GIA) F.G.A.

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