As one of the three birthstone choices for June, Alexandrite is the name of the color-changing mineral, Chrysoberyll. This gemstone has amazing color-changing properties, as such that the finest quality Alexandrite can change from emerald green to bright red.
It wears extremely well in both white and yellow gold, and looks great in any setting with diamonds for accent.
Natural vs Synthetic or Lab-created Alexandrite
Natural Alexandrite is extremely rare, thus it is also one of the most expensive gemstones in the world. Good quality Alexandrite gems as small as a 1/3 ct can cost in the neighborhood of $700 to $1,400. Jump up to a 1 carat stone and you can spend upwards of $25,000 for the finest quality.
Due to the rarity and price of a natural Alexandrite, almost all Alexandrite jewelry sold in stores is created, or man-made.
There is also the difference between created Alexandrite and synthetic look-a-likes. A common substitute for Alexandrite is color-changing corundum, the base mineral of ruby and sapphire. These stones are much less valuable than actual lab-grown Alexandrite, so be sure you know what you’re paying for.
The Chatham company (a pioneer in the lab-grown gemstone industry) sells a man-made Alexandrite gemstone that retails for about $360 per carat. In natural daylight it exhibits a bluish green color, while under artificial lighting it shows more of a reddish purple with hints of blue.
Alexandrite is also very durable (rated 8.5 on the Moh’s scale of hardness) as it is the third hardest gemstone after sapphire/ruby. It wears well in everything from rings to pendants. It can also be subjected to higher temperatures, similar to ruby and sapphire, so any jewelry repairs subject to a torch are not a problem.