Myths and legends

How to distinguish real alexandrite from a fake?

Alexandrite stone is quite rare in nature, and usually has a blue-green color. But sometimes there are bronze-colored specimens, and the greatest rarity is colorless alexandrite. The characteristics of the stone are determined by the environment of its formation, due to which it is very hard, but at the same time, as a rule, transparent. It is one of the variations of chrysoberyl. Has a glassy sheen. These minerals are usually small in size.

History of alexandrite stone

It was first noticed by the Finnish mineralogist N. Nordenschel, who was working at that time in the Urals, on an emerald mine. In appearance, the stone looked like an emerald. At home, in the evening, upon closer examination, the stone, illuminated by artificial light, turned red. The scientist’s amazement knew no bounds. And the conclusion suggested itself: this is a completely different mineral, clearly not an emerald. Since the stone was found on April 30, the birthday of Tsar Alexander II, the discoverer decided to call it alexandrite stone. It should be noted that the mineral was encountered by people much earlier, but was not differentiated. A burial dating back to the XNUMXth century was found in Zaporozhye, in which a Polovtsian khan was buried, on whose finger was a gold ring with alexandrite. Alexandrite stone is extremely hard and also has high refractive properties. There are many legends and beliefs around it. One of them claims that during the day the stone becomes an emerald, and at night it turns into a red amethyst. Another legend says that if alexandrite was found in an emerald deposit, then there is no point in looking for emeralds – they mysteriously disappear. The Ural miners tried not to “notice” the amazing stone, they were afraid to meet it, so as not to “scare away” the emeralds. Although in all alexandrite deposits there is a connection between these two minerals. For a long time the stone was not considered precious. When a 532-carat stone was found in the Urals, a buyer for it was never found. As a result, it had to be cut, although the giant alexandrite was a stone with a price of only 25 thousand rubles. Today the price for it would increase a thousand times. Place of Birth The mineral alexandrite is mined in various countries, including Russia, Sri Lanka, Brazil, and African countries. But alexandrite is found in nature in the greatest quantities in the Urals and Brazil. It should be noted that African alexandrites are not so contrasting, while specimens from the Ural deposits are distinguished by their extraordinary brightness. What colors are alexandrites and the price per carat? Precious from other stones alexandrite First of all, it is distinguished by its color variability under different lighting: in the rays of the sun it shimmers from dark blue to malachite, and under artificial lighting it becomes purple or scarlet. This variability is caused by the presence of chromium ions Cr3+. The phenomenon of the stone formed the basis of the concept of “Alexandrite effect” – the ability of a stone to radically change color depending on the lighting. This unique feature of stones is otherwise known as reverse. The presence of the alexandrite effect as such is only spoken of in cases where the color of the stone changes significantly and can be seen with the naked eye. The reverse effect is assessed as a percentage. And although outwardly it may look beautiful and interesting, from the point of view of assessing the value of the stone, changing the color can also be unprofitable: the “daytime” color sometimes loses greatly, it can be dull and dim. Top red/green (90%-100% color change) $2500 to $6000/CT+ $5000 to $15000/CT+ up to $1.000.000/CT Medium Red/Green (70%-89% Color Change) $1500 to $6000/CT $1500 to $9000/CT Slight red/green (30%-69% color change) $100 to $2500/CT up to $6000/CT Cabochons – Strong Red/Green $500 to $2500/CT 1,5 carats and above Cat’s Eye – Strong Red/Green $1500 to $5000/CT

About fakes

Alexandrite, as one of the most expensive stones in the world, has always been in great demand and is still in demand. The problem is that it is very expensive and very rare. To compensate for the gap between supply and demand, it is faked. There are several categories of what alexandrite is replaced with: 1) Synthetics. Good quality counterfeits are difficult to distinguish at home; you need a good eye and knowledge. If you are not sure, it is better to conduct an examination. He’s not expensive. – Synthetic alexandrite. It is rare and expensive. It occurs in imported gold jewelry. You can find it at an exhibition of international-class gems, or buy it in an online store. We don’t produce it now – the technical conditions are too complex for normal production. It is impossible to distinguish synthetic alexandrite from natural one at home, because now people have become more adept at making inclusions in it as if they were natural. Not even every expert gemologist can do this. I will say right away that there is not much need to differentiate, because purchasing such synthetics, especially of good quality, is profitable, unless you expect to collect a collection of natural stones or put the stone up for sale. It looks better than natural stone, and it is impossible to identify its origin without instruments. Natural alexandrite is now very difficult to obtain in Russia. – Synthetic spinel. 99% of all modern fake alexandrites are her. The hue changes from bluish to pinkish without any yellowness, while natural alexandrite is trichroic. Easily differentiated when changing lighting at home. Under daylight, pure white (regular, not yellow or blue) is violet, while natural alexandrite shows transitions between greenish and reddish (multi-colored highlights). Synthetic spinel is never greenish or bright red when imitating alexandrite, but it can be in other cases. Synthetic spinel is also softer than alexandrite, but not by much (by 0,5 hardness factor). It is recommended to purchase this type of synthetic only if you are aware of what you are buying, since in terms of price and properties it is very different from natural alexandrite. Perhaps as a beautiful stone of artificial origin (see aquaurite, for example). Naturally, the price for it should not exceed the cost of a 4th order jewelry insert (along with amethyst, citrine, aquamarine). – Synthetic corundum. Good quality synthetics from Soviet times. Better than spinel (the stone exhibits trichroism, like the natural mineral), harder than natural alexandrite (+0,5). They can be distinguished by specific shades of light. Synthetic corundum is distinguished by a pronounced yellowish tint in fluorescent lamps or evening sunlight, ranging from bright yellow to brownish-dirty yellow. Alexandrite may turn a little yellow, but not much, and always shows a variety of greenish and reddish reflections. Nowadays, synthetic corundum has been replaced by spinel. They can be found mainly in products of the Soviet period in Russia – from the 30s to the 70s of the last century. Can also be found in products from the late 19th century. 2) Fake stones that are vaguely similar to alexandrite. Low-level counterfeits are used in costume jewelry. It’s mostly glass (and Swarovski crystals are also glass) with a lot of chrome. Rarely found and cheap. Leko can be distinguished by its significantly lower hardness (5,5 – 6 to 8,5) and poor play of light. Easily scratched by a knife. 3) Natural stones that have an external resemblance to alexandrite (pleochroism effect): – Chrome-containing garnets. Some Ural pyropes demonstrate a beautiful play of colors – transitions from pure green to red. Such stones are not cheap, since they are rare, and may well be comparable in price to diamonds. Unlike alexandrites, garnets are NEVER lilac or generally bluish. Pyropes are not trichroic, but dichroic; they lack yellowness and colored highlights. The color transitions are clear and unambiguous: green – red. Pyrope and alexandrite are difficult to confuse due to differences in hardness (7.0 and 8.5). – Ruby with pleochroism effect. A very rare stone, difficult to distinguish from alexandrite at home (hardness tests, ruby ​​+0.5 to hardness, cannot be taken with a needle). In principle, the price of such a stone can be quite comparable with the cost of natural alexandrite, taking into account the rarity of rubies in particular and with the effect of pleochroism in particular. In addition, such stones are not widely sold, as they are piece goods. Pleochroic ruby ​​exhibits even richer color transition effects than alexandrite. It may well be orange. If you suspect that you have a ruby ​​(and not synthetic corundum), then congratulations. This is a good investment of material capital, no worse than alexandrite, and the stone is beautiful. – Tourmaline. Some of its varieties are similar to high-quality Ural alexandrites with a clear transition. Pleochroism is not a color, it depends on the viewing angle and not on the chemical composition; watermelon tourmalines can be red and green at the same time. Happens quite often. The price is difficult to determine. – Andalusite. Natural stone with pronounced optical effects of color transition. Multi-colored, has a much richer range than alexandrite, and the colors may be different. Only some greenish specimens resemble alexandrite. The color changes not only depending on the lighting, but also on the viewing angle quite strongly. A rare stone, not very expensive (can be found in silver) and beautiful. Each andalusite is unique in its play of colors; even from the same vein, stones come out with different colors. As a decoration it is good, but as a material contribution – not so much. The remaining stones with the effect of pleochroism (zircons, spodumene) demonstrate a range of shades far from alexandrite. Conclusion. Alexandrite has a lot of synthetic fakes and a decent number of natural similar stones. Determining it at home is extremely difficult. Since alexandrite is quite expensive, it would be wise to have it professionally checked (or try to pawn it at a pawn shop and then refuse it – it will be free). Keep in mind that natural alexandrites are expensive. They are found in one-piece products, for example, placed in handmade wedding rings, and not every person can afford them. You won’t find them on wide sale, and it’s difficult to buy in Russia.

You need to understand that in 95% of cases, only a specialist in a gemological laboratory, where there is special equipment, can distinguish natural alexandrite from its synthetic counterfeit. The same applies to determining methods for refining natural stones.

Do you have any questions or suggestions?

Our expert gemologist will help you choose the stone of your dreams!
Contact by phone: +38 (068) 092 68 88
or: Precious stones have been attracting people’s attention for thousands of years, becoming desirable for everyone. When thinking about gems, diamonds, emeralds, and rubies come to mind, but the “royal” stone, alexandrite, deserves no less attention. Once you see a mineral, you will never forget it! A real “royal” stone has amazing properties, for example, it changes color depending on the lighting. This feature places the gem among the most expensive and rare stones. What else unusual, mysterious, alluring does natural alexandrite contain? Read more about the origin, properties, cost, who is it suitable for, interesting facts, and what alexandrite looks like in the article.

History, deposit and characteristics of the stone

  1. It is a variety of chrysoberyl. It also belongs to the group of the youngest gemstones.
  2. Hardness on the Mohs scale is 8,5.
  3. Has a glassy sheen.
  4. The structure of the stone is transparent or translucent.
  5. Changes color depending on the lighting, they call it the “Alexander effect”. Under sunlight it has blue and green shades, and under artificial light it has red, purple-red or crimson shades.

What does alexandrite look like?

The mineral is called a chameleon stone due to its ability to change color under different circumstances. The color change occurs due to chromophore chromium ions present in the stone. The color range can range from green to red-violet.

Interestingly, the stones may differ in appearance due to different deposits. The minerals found in Russia have brighter shades than in Brazil and Africa. Alexandrites from Sri Lanka have the greatest number of different effects, including the “cat’s eye” effect.

Cost of natural jewelry stone

Natural alexandrite stone has a fairly high cost, as it is a rare and unusually beautiful gem. Basically, rings, earrings, and other jewelry with alexandrite are made by jewelers to individual orders. The price of a gem ranges from $5 thousand and can reach almost $40 thousand.

The cost of the mineral will be influenced by the following indicators:

  • Field.
  • Color.
  • The size.
  • The presence of unusual effects.
  • Cut.

Surprisingly, the weight of a cut stone very rarely exceeds one carat!

Magical and healing properties

After the discovery of the “royal stone,” he was credited with powerful miraculous powers, calling him a soothsayer, but the unusual property of changing color was considered a harbinger of illness, misfortune, and other things. But Europeans, on the contrary, considered it a symbol of passionate love and jealousy.

Alexandrite was also considered the “widow’s stone.” The reason for this was that noble ladies, having lost their husbands in the war, wore the gem as a sign of the loss of a loved one.

Modern experts claim that the stone has an ambiguous effect on the fate of its owner: for the weak it will bring destruction to life, for the strong it will bring luck, courage, and the ability to overcome difficulties. However, the mineral itself does not bring misfortune in any way, but helps warn of impending danger in the future.

As for the healing properties, for healers it is a reflection of the human circulatory system. For example, a bluish tint reflected blood in the veins, while a red tint reflected arterial blood. Back in those days, alexandrite was used to treat problems with the heart and blood vessels, helps cleanse the blood and is an excellent hemostatic agent.

Jewelry with alexandrite will help you concentrate, improve mental ability, bringing emotions into balance.

Who is alexandrite stone suitable for?

The gem represents strong people, so it will protect them from the negative influence of others, protect them from disasters, and give them confidence and weight in the eyes of others.

According to the zodiac sign, alexandrite is best suited for representatives of Aries, Gemini, Scorpio, because they have a strong, strong-willed character. It is not recommended to wear the mineral for Taurus, Virgo, and Cancer.

Brief meaning for each zodiac sign:

  • Aries – will protect you from adversity and give you luck in all endeavors.
  • Gemini – will bring inner balance, but may restrain their varied hobbies.
  • Scorpio – will be able to help fulfill your most secret dreams, overcoming any problems or obstacles on the path of life. The talisman will improve determination and self-confidence.
  • Aquarius – will improve intuitive abilities, creativity.
  • Leos – will help you achieve power, will contribute to your career.
  • Capricorns will improve your financial well-being, but you cannot remain idle.
  • Libra – will improve creativity, help you unlock your potential and find your business.
  • Pisces – will bring good luck, help you find yourself.
  • Sagittarius – will become more confident, strong, and will be able to help you make the right choice in life.

Artificial alexandrite stone

Reserves of primary deposits of the precious mineral are practically empty, and demand is only growing. Therefore, jewelers found a solution – artificial alexandrite or synthetic corundum. The cultivation method was invented by a chemist from Poland, Jan Czochralski. The crystals were grown at high temperatures – about 2500 Kelvin. The result was quite large and long crystals. Also, scientists from the USA tried to synthesize the stone by polarizing a solution of salts that melted. However, the crystals turned out to be slightly smaller. Therefore, the “Czochral” method was recognized as more effective and began to be widely used.

How to distinguish natural alexandrite from a fake?

The main difference between natural gems and synthetic ones is cost. If a jewelry store offers you a piece of jewelry at a low price, assuring you that it is real alexandrite, then you are being deceived. Interestingly, artificial stone is not so easy to distinguish from real stone, because it also changes color under different lighting conditions.

However, there are several methods or recommendations to differentiate:

  1. Certificate authenticity. In any case, a natural mineral goes through a gemological examination. The results are recorded in a special document – a certificate, which will be a guarantee of quality and confirm the authenticity of the alexandrite. The manufacturer’s tag also contains information about the stones. If the store does not provide at least one of these documents, then you are being deceived.
  2. Confirmation of the authenticity of the stone jeweler or gemologist. You should only contact trusted, well-known jewelers.
  3. Identify a fake at home. Synthetic alexandrite, if turned at right angles, can give off a double glare. However, high-quality artificial stone is also counterfeited from glass or plastic. Such minerals are considered low-quality and have virtually no value. You can also detect cheap fake glass using light. If you bring a stone to it, you will notice how the gem sparkles with rainbow colors. This effect is inherent in glass. But natural or synthetic alexandrite will exhibit a yellow or purple tint.

“Did you know. ” Interesting facts about alexandrite

  • In 2014, the most expensive alexandrite weighing 21,41 carats was sold for $1,5 million. The price for one carat is about $70 thousand.
  • The largest gem found in Russia was a stone weighing 30 carats.
  • The Ural alexandrite was recognized as the model stone. However, unfortunately, this stone deposit was closed in 1995.
  • In the modern jewelry industry, artificial alexandrite is used in jewelry; there are very few antique products or jewelry with natural stones; they are very expensive.
  • Most gemstones are dark in color. Very rare alexandrites with a cat’s eye effect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button