GEMSTONE GUIDES

Alexandrite Gemstone Guide

Welcome to the fascinating world of alexandrites – a remarkable gemstone renowned for its captivating colour-changing properties. Lets delve into the origins, characteristics, and qualities that make alexandrite a gemstone of unparalleled beauty.

GEMSTONE GUIDES

Alexandrite Gemstone Guide

Welcome to the fascinating world of alexandrites – a remarkable gemstone renowned for its captivating colour-changing properties. Lets delve into the origins, characteristics, and qualities that make alexandrite a gemstone of unparalleled beauty.


Glossary

Synthetic, laboratory grown, laboratory created, man-made, or cultured alexandrite: Lab grown alexandrite 


MOHS Scale:  This tells us the Hardness (or strength) of a gemstone. Diamonds are the Hardest!


Heat Treating: The act of applying heat to a stone, bringing it to near-melting point to improve colour or clarity. 


Inclusions: An inclusion is a cavity or crystal cluster within a gemstone. These can cause problems if they form too close to the surface, and their presence will often decide the value of a stone.

What is Alexandrite?

Alexandrite is an exceptional and uncommon gemstone, celebrated for its mesmerising colour-changing abilities. In natural light it may exhibit captivating shades of purple or blue, while under additional light, it dazzles with vibrant greens and even hints of red. This remarkable ability to transform its colour makes alexandrite an exceedingly rare and highly coveted gemstone, sought after by those captivated by its enchanting hues and unique character.

Shop Alexandrite Collection

If you're looking for a piece of alexandrite jewellery, take a look at our collection of engagement rings and loose gemstones or book an appointment to begin your bespoke journey.

Alexandrite Meaning

Alexandrite is a rare and prized gemstone renowned for its remarkable ability to change colour depending on the lighting conditions, shifting from greenish-blue in daylight to purplish-red under incandescent light. This colour-changing phenomenon symbolises adaptability and harmony, making alexandrite a cherished gemstone associated with transformation and balance.

Alexandrite Hardness

Alexandrite is one tough cookie! It scores high on the MOHs hardness scale at 8.5, meaning it can handle a bit of rough and tumble without easily getting scratched. Making alexandrite engagement rings and jewellery a great choice for everyday wear!


The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is a scale used to measure the scratch resistance of various minerals. It assigns a relative hardness value to minerals based on their ability to scratch or be scratched by other minerals. With 10 being the hardest (diamond).

Lab Grown Alexandrite

Lab-grown alexandrite is an artificial version of the natural alexandrite gemstone, crafted in a laboratory setting rather than occurring naturally. Alexandrite is known for its unique ability to change colour, shifting from green in daylight to red or purplish-red under incandescent light. Scientists create lab-grown alexandrite by replicating the conditions found in nature, resulting in a gemstone that closely resembles its natural counterpart. The advantage of lab-grown alexandrite is not only its ethical and sustainable production but also its potentially more affordable price compared to the rare and limited supply of natural alexandrite.

Alexandrite Value

Alexandrite stones are generally on the pricey side. This is due to the rarity and unique colour-changing properties of alexandrite which contributes to its high market value. Aspects such as the intensity and quality of its colour, or the carat weight influence the price. Fun fact, the largest natural alexandrite in the world weighs in at a staggering 122,400 carats and was discovered in Brazil!


Natural alexandrite, especially those with vivid colour-changing effects, is among the more valuable and sought-after gemstones. Lab-grown alexandrite, while more accessible, still holds high value due to its ability to replicate the unique colour-changing characteristics of natural alexandrite.

"Alexandrite is a stunning gem, its magical colour changing properties and rarity means its a really special stone, I love using it in my designs because it creates such a beautiful end result."

EMMA FATHERS, SENIOR DESIGNER

Alexandrite Rarity

Mined alexandrite is super rare and is often thought of as one of the rarest and most sought-after gemstones globally! Often considered rarer than well-known gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, each alexandrite gem becomes a unique and precious treasure. This scarcity, combined with its mesmerising optical properties, places alexandrite in a category of its own, making it a prized and highly valued gemstone in the world of fine jewellery.

Alexandrite vs Sapphire

Alexandrite and sapphires are distinct gemstones. Alexandrite is prized for its remarkable ability to change colours—green or blue in daylight and red in artificial light. Due to its rarity, it can be on the expensive side. On the other hand, sapphires, available in various colours but commonly blue, are generally more affordable. Alexandrite is exceptional for its unique colour-changing quality, while sapphires provide a classic option with a range of hues. The choice depends on whether you prefer the rarity and colour-shifting charm of alexandrite or the broader colour options and affordability of sapphires.

Lab Grown Alexandrite vs Natural Alexandrite

Lab-grown alexandrite and natural alexandrite share the same chemical composition and crystal structure, the only difference is in the way they are created. Natural alexandrite forms deep within the Earth under specific geological conditions, and it is known for its rarity and unique colour-changing properties. 


On the other hand, lab-grown alexandrite is created in a controlled environment using advanced technological processes that replicate the conditions under which natural alexandrite forms.


The advantages of lab-grown alexandrite include ethical and sustainable production, potentially lower cost, and a more controlled colour outcome. Lab-grown alexandrite also allows for the creation of larger stones with consistent and vivid colour-changing effects. 


Some collectors and enthusiasts may prefer the rarity and uniqueness associated with natural alexandrite. But both natural and lab-grown alexandrite can be stunning and exhibit the captivating colour-changing characteristic that defines this extraordinary gemstone.


Alexandrite Ring Inspiration

Alexandrite Colours

Alexandrite showcases a captivating colour range, transitioning between greenish-blue in daylight to purplish-red under incandescent light. This remarkable phenomenon, known as the alexandrite effect, is caused by the presence of chromium and provides each gemstone with a unique and enchanting appeal.

Cats Eye Alexandrite

Cat's eye alexandrite is a mesmerising variety of alexandrite with a striking chatoyancy that creates a captivating 'cat's eye' effect when viewed under a single light source. This rare and enchanting gemstone exhibits the remarkable colour-changing properties of alexandrite alongside the unique optical phenomenon, making it highly sought after by both collectors and enthusiasts!

Caring for Alexandrite

To care for alexandrite jewellery, avoid exposing it to harsh chemicals, extreme temperatures, and prolonged sunlight, as these can damage its colour-changing properties. Clean alexandrite gently using mild soap and warm water, and dry it with a soft cloth. Store alexandrite jewellery separately from other gemstones to prevent scratches and keep it looking radiant for years to come.


If you think your jewellery needs a refresh by a professional, book in for our repair and refresh service!

Where to Buy Alexandrite Jewellery UK

If you're on the hunt for alexandrite jewellery then look no further! At Jessica Flinn, we pride ourselves on working with unique and unusual gemstones, and alexandrite is a firm favourite! 


Get in touch with one of our team members today and find or create your perfect alexandrite ring.

Visit Us

At Jessica Flinn, we pride ourselves on creating a friendly atmosphere where all are welcome. If you book an in person appointment with us you will be welcomed into our beautiful showroom with a beverage of your choice, whether its a cup of coffee or a glass of champagne, we're here to make your appointment as memorable as possible. One of our experts will then guide you through the ring choosing or designing journey and make sure you leave with a ring you absolutely adore!


Book an appointment today and start your journey.

Alexandrite FAQs

Is alexandrite expensive?

The rarity of alexandrites and the fact that it changes colours make alexandrite a bit of a splurge. As with any gemstone, the cost of Alexandrite is also influenced by factors such as the intensity of its colour, carat weight and overall appeal. Natural alexandrite, especially those with vivid and distinct colour changes, is among the more valuable gemstones. While lab-grown alexandrite is a more accessible option, it, too, holds value due to its ability to replicate the colour-changing characteristics of natural alexandrite.

Is alexandrite a good investment?

Because it's rare and everyone loves it, investing in alexandrite is putting your money in something that's both valuable and beautiful.

How is alexandrite formed?

Right, let’s get sciency! Alexandrite comes to life under unique natural circumstances. It happens when certain elements like aluminium, beryllium, and chromium join the mix during the crystal's formation. It gets its colour changing abilities from chromium. The best alexandrites form deep in the earth where there’s high pressure and heat, adding an extra layer of rarity to these already special gems. 

Does alexandrite change colour?

Yes, it does! One of the defining characteristics of alexandrite is its remarkable colour-changing ability. This unique gemstone can display different colours under different lighting conditions. In daylight or fluorescent light, alexandrite often appears green or bluish-green. However, when exposed to incandescent light (such as from a lamp or candle), it undergoes a dramatic shift and can showcase shades of red, purplish-red, or even brownish-red. This colour change phenomenon, known as the alexandrite effect, adds to the gemstone's allure and contributes to its rarity and value in the world of gemstones.

Where is alexandrite found?

Natural alexandrite first found fame in the Ural Mountains of Russia, where it was originally found and gained popularity in the 19th century. Beyond Russia, alexandrites are also known to be found in Brazil (known for its vibrant colours), Madagascar (known for rich hues and strong colour changes), Sri Lanka (famed for Ceylon tones) and Burma!