Alexandrite is a gem is a variety of Chrysoberyl. It is most famous for its dramatic color changes from emerald green in daylight to pink, red, mauve or brown in low light situations. The color changes as well as rarity make alexandrite a unique and valuable stone.
This gem was first discovered in Russia in the beginning of the 19th century. It was Alexander Nikolaevich's birthday on the day of the discovery and in honor of this future czar, Alexandrite was named.
Aside from the color changing qualities, alexandrite is a pleochroic gem which basically refers to a feature that shows different color intensities when viewed from different angles.
Until recently, alexandrite was extremely difficult to obtain due to its rarity. However, new sources in Brazil and Tanzania have made the gemstone available on the global market.
Because of its distinct features, alexandrite is often faceted and cushion-cut to bring out the best of its color. This gem is used primarily in rings and pendants to showcase large sizes. On average, most alexandrite gems available are 2 carats or less.
As a rule, alexandrite is neither treated nor enhanced. Instead, the gem is complimented with vanadium or chromium to induce its chameleon-like behavior. Because of this alexandrite is often compared to Garnet and Sapphire.
The dramatic color changing features along with the rarity of the stone make alexandrite the most popular of the chrysoberyl family.