THE STONE OF DUALITY: EMERALD BY DAY, RUBY BY NIGHT.
A rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl, Alexandrite is known for its vivid to blush green in the daytime or under fluorescent light, which changes to an intense to purplish red under incandescent light. This variation of the mineral is unique in that it contains chromium alongside the more common elements of iron and titanium.
Ranking at around 8.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, Alexandrite is a much tougher and more resilient gemstone for June babies. It does not cleave or break easily, and thus is a great choice for pieces intended to be worn daily. Best cared for with warm and soapy water, or ultrasonic cleaners.
First discovered in substantial amounts in 1830 in Russia's Ural Mountains, Alexandrite was named after the young prince and likely heir to Russia at the time, Alexander II. The high demand for Alexandrite at this time of aristocratic decadence lead to Russia’s mines being depleted very rapidly and basically running dry by the end of the 19th century. Large deposits found in Sri Lanka, Brazil, Tanzania and Mozambique ensured the survival and popularity of the gem in the global jewelry industry. While it is a relatively new member of the precious gemstone family and thus has less history and lore, Alexandrite is given as a 55th anniversary gift.
"Look, here it is, the prophetic Russian stone! ... It was always green as hope and only toward evening was it suffused with blood. It was that way from the beginning of the world, but it concealed itself for a long time, lay hidden in the earth, and permitted itself to be found only on the day when Tsar Alexander was declared of age, when a great sorcerer had come to Siberia to find the stone, a magician."
— Leskov Nikolai Semyonovich. Alexandrite, 1884.
The green and red colored gemstones prophetically matched Old Imperial Russia’s green and red military colors, and thus became prized as the national stone of tsarist Russia. Alexandrite was popularized particularly in the United States by Tiffany’s, whose master gem buyer George Kunz reportedly fell in love with the gem and traveled to Russia to purchase as much as he could, securing Tiffany's as the world's leading supplier of Alexandrite for decades.
In Russia, Alexandrite is considered to be a good omen and brings good luck. Typically associated with the crown chakra, this gemstone is said to bring the wearer closer to the warm and healing energies of the universe, and strengthen one’s intuition and imagination. Alexandrite’s greens are associated with growth and peace, while its reds are associated with power and passion. Its changing colors are believed to bring balance and serve as a reminder of the duality of life.