Alexandrite, June’s birthstone, is emerald by day/ruby by night

Alexandrite, June’s birthstone, is emerald by day/ruby by night

There’s a June birthday gem in town that you probably haven’t heard of. We’ve already discussed pearls and moonstones, so let’s examine alexandrite, the most expensive of the three.

The most amazing thing about alexandrite: It changes color in different types of lighting. In daylight or fluorescent light it appears green; in incandescent light (lightbulb), it’s purple red, according to the GIA. This is actually called “the alexandrite effect.”

  • The stone was named for Alexander II when it was found in Russia in 1830.
  • It was actually added as the third June birthstone in the 1950s.
  • There are cats-eye alexandrites, the result of thin, parallel inclusions—REALLY rare.
  • Its color comes from chromium.
  • This is one of the rarest and most expensive gemstones around—about $15,000 for a single carat. (And it’s rarely found in carat-size.)
  • The largest faceted alexandrite is 65.7 carats, in the Smithsonian.

Healing properties

  • Healers believe that it helps the nervous system and glands. It can soothe tension in the neck, and supports the pituitary gland, pancreas, and neurological tissue.
  • Alexandrite enhances creativity. It can supposedly help you find joy in life and accept changes that help you find that joy.

Buying, care, and cleaning

  • According to the International Gem Society, the two characteristics that boost the gem’s value are the purity of the two colors and the stone’s clarity.
  • With a Mohs hardness rating of 8.5, this is a pretty tough stone. It’s good for any kind of jewelry—rings (and engagement rings!), necklaces, and earrings.
  • This is a relatively scarce stone, so it’s very expensive—more than its June birthstone counterparts, pearls and moonstones.
  • If you find an inexpensive alexandrite, it’s likely not real. There are synthetic gems made to change colors.
  • You can use warm, soapy water and soft cloths to clean the stones.

You may not have alexandrite in your collection, but whether you’ve got pearls, moonstones, gold, diamonds, or any precious heirloom, make sure they’re all protected with insurance. And that begins with an updated professional appraisal. Contact me to set yours up, either by phone at 617-304-0174 or by email:

Brilliantly yours, Aimee

About Aimee Berrent

Aimee M. Berrent is the owner of A Matter of Brilliance and a GIA Graduate Gemologist. She offers appraisal services such as jewelry appraisals, diamond appraisals, and estate appraisals within Massachusetts and all over the East Coast.
Aimee has over 25 years experience in the jewelry trade, and received her Graduate Gemologist (G.G.) in Residence diploma from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in Santa Monica, California, and is a member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA).
Aimee has advanced training in jewelry appraisal theory. She frequently attends jewelry conferences and takes courses to stay on top of current gemological advances and appraisal training.

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