shape
carat
color
clarity

Alexandrite

Discussion in 'Colored Gemstones' started by oddoneout, Oct 7, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies. Please create a new topic or request for this thread to be opened.
  1. oddoneout
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    3,002
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    by oddoneout » Oct 7, 2008
    I''m sure all the gem lovers out there can help me. What are the pros/cons (eg. price, durability, availability, etc.) of Alexandrites? What are the differences between synthetic and natural ones (well besides price)?

    Thanks
     
    


    


  2. T L
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    22,301
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    by T L » Oct 7, 2008
    Well, the good news is that Alexandrite is extremely durable. Chrysoberyl (the mineral family that alexandrite belongs to) is the third hardest gem at an 8.5 on the Mohs scale after diamond and corundum (sapphire).

    The bad news is that most of them are pretty ugly and the typical color change is something like brown to muddy green, if there even is a strong color change. If you want a good one that changes colors from red to green, which is the most prized color change range, and you also want it to be pretty, you're looking at spending a lot.

    I have a couple. I wouldn't say they're the most drop dead gorgeous stones on the planet, but the phenomenon and the royal ties to Czar Alexander give the stone a much needed push. The best source was Siberia, but now some pretty stones are coming out of Brazil and Tanzania. Check out multicolour.com for several - they have a wide array from the hideous with hardly any color change, to some pretty ones that go from pinkish purple to green.

    There's lots of synthetics out there, which is just man made color change crysoberyl (alexandrite) and for experts, they're pretty easy to tell apart from the natural stones. Simulated alexandrite is typically synthetic color change corundum, which has been around since your great grandmother.
     
  3. Pandora II
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    9,613
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    by Pandora II » Oct 8, 2008
    A great one will cost you a king''s ransom and once you''ve seen a good one you won''t want anything but...

    I saw an INCREDIBLE one in the coloured e-ring section at Tiffany in London. It was 5+ct and was over $50k.
     
  4. oddoneout
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    3,002
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    by oddoneout » Oct 8, 2008
    Do the synthetic ones have good colour change?

    Thanks
     
    


    


  5. Fly Girl
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    7,312
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    by Fly Girl » Oct 8, 2008
    The ones here do! Link

    ATGsynalex3.jpg
     
  6. diamondringlover
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    3,655
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    by diamondringlover » Oct 8, 2008
    Mine does, it goes from a teal green in daylight to a royal purple in normal household light, when I am at work it is between green and purple and it throws off sparks of red, I just love my lab grown alex [​IMG]
     
  7. LisaRN
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    2,956
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    by LisaRN » Oct 16, 2008
    I have been Alexandrite obsessed I admit and own 3 genuine very nice ones with the largest at over 4 carats. VERY pricey stone and if you want to have the unique and rare then you will be willing to pay for a genuine alexandrite. Take out a loan if needed. lol

    The pros and cons of natural alexandrite: They look real. They have inclusions at least under a loupe. They will have colors from blue green to green yellow to green and green brown in sunlight and flourescent light. In GE bulb light and candle light they will change to pinkish brown, purple, grey purple, orange or red with flashes of pink or purples.. My big Alexandrite is green with a brown saturation in daylight that turns orange with red flashes in GE or bulb light and candlelight. What a beauty!!!! Some stones can have a grey saturation (the muddy look some people refer too) in mixed lighting sources. The very best representation of an Alexandrite will be from green to red or blue green to purple. Much like a larger D color IF Diamond. But who really owns those? lol

    Lab Stones pros and cons: Lab stones usually look stunning with a teal blue green to purple. They can be included as well and people think this means they are natural. Not so as impurities in the lab process can produce included fake stones. They are gorgeous and look fake IMHO. I don''t like synthetics so they are not for me. A well cut slighty included Alaxandrite in the greenish yellow to red, orange range is relatively affordable or a bluish green to faint purple can also be had without going broke too. Try MultiColour Gems website.

    Color change garnets can give you the same look at a lower (but not cheap) price and I think they are gorgeous!!!! If I had it to do all over again I would have chosen cc garnets instead. More bang for the buck.

    Lisa
     
  8. T L
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    22,301
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    by T L » Oct 17, 2008
    If you're interested in color changes stones, there's also more out there than just alexandrite. You can find color changes sapphires, garnets, diaspore (kind of soft though). There are also stones that are highly dichroic or trichroic, meaning they change colors depending on the angle (axis) you're viewing them from. Andalusite, and even your common tanzantite and amethyst are very dichroic, as well as many tourmalines. I'm just a bit jaded about alexandrite. I never saw one that made me fall dead at the knees, even in those famous Tino Hammid photographs in gemstone books. There's a huge one at the Field Museum near my house, and I barely notice it when I go there. When it was first discovered in the Ural mountains of Siberia, it became a craze because those changed from a purplish red to a forest green (I never saw or heard of one changing from a ruby red to emerald green as attested to, and some of the owners of the finest alex's say the same thing - no ruby red to emerald green). Those colors (red and green) were the official royal colors of the Czar, so the stone became the craze since I think only royalty at one time could own it, and it was rare. The phenomenon is nice, but there are plenty more affordable color change options. I would love a nice color change sapphire, and I think you can find ones that go from purple to blue, or even reddish to green. Turkish diaspore changes from an olive green to a brownish red and is much more affordable.

    My one carat Brazilian alex is a very clean one carat that goes from forest green to a brownish violet color. It's pretty, but it's not the most gorgeous stone on the planet. I also have a quarter carat super clean stone from the Ural mountains. It goes from deep purple red to forest green. It has quite a color change, but again, it doesn't knock my socks off. The color change is cool though.

    LisaRN,
    I would love to see pictures of your alex's though. I think they sound lovely. I'm sorry for my jadedness about alexandrite.

    Good luck on your pursuit of color change gems!
     
  9. LD
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    9,616
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    by LD » Oct 17, 2008
    As an Alexandrite collector I can honestly say I''ve seen great stones that change from emerald green to purplish red and then others that you wonder how they were ever classified as Alex! I wear a 3ct pear shape every day and always get comments. It''s a fascinating gemstone BUT you have to get a good one to truly appreciate it OR buy synthetic which actually has a colour change that always too good to be true!

    As somebody has mentioned you can get colour change garnets that go from green to red but these attract a premium and are slightly more difficult to find than the other colour ways. Colour change sapphire is amazing and there''s no way of telling by looking at the daytime colour what the change will be in incandescent light. I have a bracelet with 10 oval cut colour change sapphires that looks "ok" during the day but at night it changes to a vibrant jaw dropping stunning bracelet!!!!

    I also have some Diaspore (that I think has been re-marketed as Zultanite) and whilst some does change from a lovely apple green to a pinky/peach colour some doesn''t change at all!

    The only tip I would give is that you should see the gemstone in person before buying. Colour change gemstones are notoriously difficult to photograph and colours and the strength of change can be misrepresented greatly.

    Have fun trying to find a great stone!
     
  10. T L
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    22,301
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    by T L » Oct 17, 2008
    I don''t think I''ve ever seen an Alex that has changed from emerald green to ruby red. I''ve heard reports of that, but the finest ones seem to have an olive or forest green component to the green, and a purple to the red. Wouldn''t it be nice to have a stone that goes from a fine Muzo emerald to a fine Burmese Ruby, all in one stone.
     
    


    


  11. LD
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    9,616
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    by LD » Oct 17, 2008
    I''ve got a few that are Muzo emerald green in daylight but you''re quite right, nearly all turn to a purple/red/pink at night and the majority are more of a forest green. I''ve never seen a ruby red in incandescent light - the nearest I''ve got is a burgundy with flashes of dark pink.

    The Indian Alexandrites seem to have the best daytime colour and are much more green than the Brazilians which I think tend to veer more to the teal blue/green colourway. The Tanzanians in daylight usually have more underlying browns and greys.

    There is a very famous photo in Richard Wise''s book of an Alex that shows almost ruby red and is divine but I''m not sure if it''s been widely seen. Now that''s one Alex that I''d love to play with!!!!
     
  12. T L
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    22,301
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
  13. LD
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    9,616
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    by LD » Oct 17, 2008
    That''s the one! I was being too lazy to go upstairs and have a look! It might be my monitor but it looks less red than the photo in Richard Wise''s book.
     
  14. oddoneout
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    3,002
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    by oddoneout » Oct 17, 2008
    Thanks everyone for the info and discussion. Please keep more coming. Are smaller natural alexandrites easier to find/cheaper (than large ones)?
     
  15. T L
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    22,301
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    by T L » Oct 17, 2008
    They start getting pricey over a carat in good quality, and I think it goes up exponentially from there. There are some affordable finds, but again, most of the affordable stones are not the bees knees. Here's my 1.05 carat Brazilian alex, and I didn't pay a fortune for it. It's not 100% color change so you can see both the colors in this shot (like a grey violiet and a forest green). It's a very clean stone - probably VS, but as you can see the color is not exactly over the top. I get more compliments on the setting than the stone.

    alex_showing_both_colors.JPG
     
    


    


Thread Status:
Not open for further replies. Please create a new topic or request for this thread to be opened.

Share This Page