Time spent: 0 hours
Birthstone Jewellry For June - Alexandrite
By Janet Ashby
Alexandrite, which is used inJune birthstone jewelry, is one of the uncommonest of gems to surface on theearth. It is recognized as the June birthstone and is the gemstone used tocommemorate both the 45th and 55th wedding anniversaries. It belongs to thechrysoberyl family and made of a mix of iron, chromium, titanium, aluminum andchrysoberyl mineral.
Colour Changing Properties ofAlexandrite
This June birthstone is greatlyvalued because of it's capacity to significantly change colours. In comparisonwith other gem for example diamonds and sapphires, alexandrite is a fairly newgem to the market, having only been found close to 150 years ago. TheAlexandrite gemstone was first discovered in the Russian Ural Mountains around1830 and was named after Alexander II the Czar of Russia. This precious stone wasgiven the name "magic gem" because of it's mystical display ofcolours.
The colour of this gemstonedepends on the wavelength of the illuminating light and the chemical bonds thatexist in the gem. In sunlight alexandrite displays a a colour that is bluegreen like moss but when seen under incandescent light from a candle or lampthe colour transforms to a lovely raspberry hue. This transformation isreferred to as the alexandrite effect. It's a result of the chemical mixing ofchrysoberyl, which is a rare oxide mineral, and chromium. the lovely colour ofAlexandrite come from chromium.
Alexandrite Gemstone Quality
It is important to considerthe strength of the color change when evaluating an alexandrite. The preciousstone is considered rarer and of higher value if the color change is morecomplete and intense. A further factor to bear in mind is the clarity andcutting quality of the gem. Alexandrites that are found in Russia arebelieved to be of better quality and colour, consequently making them moreexpensive. The majority of the alexandrites on sale are below 1 carat sincelarger sizes are too expensive by most people.
Caring for Your AlexandriteJewels
it is best to keepalexandrites away from extreme heat as this can impinge on their colour changeeffect. When cleaning these gemstones soapy warm water may be used or alcoholor any commercially available products. If ultrasonic or steam cleaning arenecessary properly skilled jewelers should be used.
Sources of Alexandrite
The original source ofalexandrite in Russiahas now virtually been mined out, though the mines are still working andproduce a small number of tiny stones every year. These days there are twochief sources of alexandrite gemstones, Braziland Sri Lanka (Ceylon). In the1990's Alexandrite stones were also found in countries such as Zimbabwe, India,Burma and Madagascar.Sadly, none of these new sources has managed to produce as intense and vividcolors as the gemstones produced in Russia. Stones from these sourceshave their own characteristics: for example the grayish hues of Ceylon stones and Brazil stones having yellow toneson the green colour.
Despite the relatively shorthistory of this attractive gemstone it has already been attributed with avariety of mystical and magical properties. It is a rare and gorgeous gemstoneand makes a wonderful June birthstone jewelry gift for a loved one with a Junebirthday.