How Does Alexandrite Change Color?

There are so many gemstones in the world today. The amazing thing about these gemstones is their distinct features. These features mark each gemstone as different from the other. One gemstone which surely has a striking difference from others is Alexandrite. It is one gemstone which has the ability to change its color at any point in time. What is alexandrite? And what makes alexandrite change color?

Alexandrite Unraveled

Alexandrite is one of the many gemstones that exist in our world today. It is made up of a mineral which is widely known as Chrysoberyl. The alexandrite gemstones are very rare and are not found in many places in the world today.

The history of the alexandrite gemstones can be traced back to 1830 when it was first discovered in the mountains of Ural, Russia. When this gemstone was found, it was referred to as the official gemstone of the USSR as Russia was then called. However, the stone was soon discovered in other places around the world. These places include the Eastern part of Africa, in Brazil and Sri Lanka.

How Does Alexandrite Change Color?

The alexandrite stone is also believed to be the birthstone of the month of June. It is also regarded as the perfect gift to be given during the 55th anniversary of any event or union.

The most defining feature of the alexandrite is its ability to change color. For this reason, this gemstone is easily mistaken for other gemstones. For example, most people would mistake this gemstone for an emerald if it is seen during the day. When night slowly approaches, this gemstone would be seen turning to purplish red. Thus, the color of the alexandrite is ever changing and has the ability to both leave people in awe and confuse them. The alexandrite gemstones have also been developed in labs around the world. These versions of the stone also have the ability to change color and are widely sought by many persons around the world. The question which remains on the lips of so many people remains “how does the gemstone Alexandrite change its color regularly?”

Alexandrite Explained

The alexandrite’s effect of changing color is often caused by the traces of chromium which is found in the gemstones. What this element does is that it readily accepts all the light which hits the gemstone. This light would then be absorbed right into the spectrum (blue and yellow sections). Due to the fact that the band of the Alexandrite is at 580nm, the gemstone would quickly change color when the light is different from the previous one. Thus, you would probably see the alexandrite change color in different lighting.

How Does Alexandrite Change Color?

Whenever alexandrite comes in contact with the light, there are several wavelengths which are absorbed by the stone. While these wavelengths are absorbed, others would also be reflected by Alexandrite. It is important to note that one of the strengths of this gemstone is its ability to especially reflect wavelengths that are green in color. Due to this reason, it is normal to see many alexandrite gemstones reflecting the green color during the day.

Things change though once the gemstone is removed or changed from its position under the light from the sun. If this gemstone is under a lamp which uses fluorescence, the green light would hardly make a presence. Instead, you would be seeing more of the red light. While the alexandrite gemstones would almost by default reflect the green light, the lack of light from day time would ensure that the red light would have a much higher portion of the color that is being reflected

Reflections of Alexandrite from other countries

Alexandrite has been noticed to change into different colors depending on the country where it is found. Here are some of the reflections seen in different countries;

  • Sri Lanka – Entering Sri Lanka, you would notice that alexandrite change in color is distinct from the rest. Alexandrite would normally have a brownish color whenever it changes its color.
  • Zimbabwe – In this country, you can expect to see the alexandrite change color to a darker purple color. This would be considered to be a small change from its original color
  • Tanzania – The alexandrite which is present in Tanzania is considerably lighter than others. The alexandrite change of color in this country would be moderate and not over the top
  • Brazil – Alexandrite change in color in Brazil would see the gemstone change to purple from its original blue color.

It is important to note that most of the variants of the alexandrite stones which is highly sought after are those ones which change color greatly and readily.

The Rarity of The Alexandrite Gemstone

Apart from when the alexandrite changes color, another major thing about this stone is its rarity. This stone would hardly be found in large uncut sizes around the world. In fact, the biggest sizes of this stone which has been found in the world so far are around 66 carats. It is currently being held in the capital of America, Washington DC.

The alexandrite gemstone would normally be found in various shapes. The more popular shapes would include the pear shape and the marquise. There are several synthetic versions of this gemstones. These versions that have been artificially created are given the chromium elements which gives the gemstones its color changing ability.

It is important to note that these processes are being monitored by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). This commission has also suggested that all producers of the gemstones should state the processes used to treat the synthetic stones. This is to ensure that the customers get value for their money.

How Does Alexandrite Change Color?


The striking ability of the alexandrite gemstone draws many persons to it. While this gemstone remains rare, several steps are being made to replicate this wonderful gemstone. It is important though to distinguish between the natural and synthetic gemstones. This would ensure that no one feels cheated after purchasing the alexandrite gemstone.




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