Alexandrite is a rare and mysterious gemstone.
Alexandrite is another gem variety of the mineral chrysoberyl . Its distinctiveness in addition to it’s chantoyant effect, lies in that it actually changes color from green in daylight to red in incandescent light. The first time you see it, it is hard to believe your eyes! Swarovski makes a crystal very similar in visual characteristics to Alexandrite and has named the man made crystal in honor of the unusual natural gemstone.
The alexandrite variety of chrysoberyl is colored by chromium and is dichroitic, appearing green when viewed in one direction and red in another; in artificial light the green color is lost and the red alone becomes apparent.
No gems have afforded more interest to the Asiatic peoples than those that are known as phenomenal gems; that is, those that exhibit a phenomenal quality, either as a moving line as in the chrysoberyl cat’s-eye, or the quarts cat’s -eye, or as a star ( Star Ruby or Star-sapphire). The cat’s-eye effect found within Alexandrite is caused by a twinning of the crystal. That means when the gem is cut, with a dome, across the twinning line, a smooth band of white light, with a translucent or transparent space at one slice shows. The line varies in sharpness and breadth as the illumination becomes more intense. If the light is very bright, the line is no wider than the thinnest possible silver or platinum wire.
Alexandrite has a distinguished and glamorous past: it was discovered in 1830 in pre-Revolution Russia. Since the old Russian imperial colors are red and green the gemstone Alexandrite was named after Czar Alexander II on the occasion of his coming of age.
- Alexandrite is associated with Friday due to the ancient custom of wearing silver-blue robes and ornaments set with diamonds on that day.
- Alexandrite is the gemstone used to honor 45th wedding anniversaries in the West.
- Chrysoberyl stones are associated with 13th wedding anniversaries or any multiple thereof. The gem is believed to counteract the malign influences of the number.