Alexandrite is known for its spectacular color-change ability. The most valuable alexandrite stones are those with a strong color change between green and red, although alexandrite with a blue to violet or purple color change is also highly valued. The finest alexandrite stones are found in Russia, but fine-quality stones are also found in Sri Lanka, Brazil, and Africa.
This article will dig deeper into How Much Is Alexandrite Worth and the reasons of Alexandrite being expensive.
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How Much Is Alexandrite Worth?
Romantic, unique, and charming is how a gemstone lover would describe Alexandrite, sought as one of the three June gemstones. Unfortunately, Alexandrite is simple to like but difficult to own, because of this stunning rock is extremely expensive and rare
Alexandrite is rarer than diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire. The value of a particular alexandrite stone is based on its color, clarity, carat weight, and cut. A single carat of non-treated, natural Alexandrite ranges from $15,000 to $20,000 and Alexandrite which is more than one carat cost between $55,000 to $70,000.
What makes Alexandrite valuable?
The overall value of Alexandrite depends on different factors. But the most crucial factors affecting the price are size, clarity, and color. So naturally, richer and brighter colors are more expensive.
Remember that Alexandrite has two main value drivers. First, the closer the colors to pure red and green, the higher their value. Moreover, the more unique the color change, the higher its value.
This gemstone can show everything from 5% to 100% color change. Therefore, the most valuable Alexandrite would have a 100% color change from pure red to pure green. Therefore, brownish or purplish reds and blue-greens hold less value.
Clarity also plays an important role in grading an alexandrite. As is the case with most gemstones, much naturally-occurring Alexandrite is not clean, face table material. Therefore, many are best appropriate for cabbing.
Nonetheless, the color change of Alexandrite has more effect on its value than its clarity. For instance, you can take two Alexandrite of the same size.
One gemstone is eye clean, along with a fifty percent greenish blue to brownish-red color change. The other gem is an opaque cabochon with a 100% green to red color change. Thus, the opaque cab would be more valuable.
Size always impacts the value of Alexandrite. Top-quality natural gems could sell for at least $15,000 per carat in sizes up to one carat. Over one carat, the prices could range from $50,000 to $70,000 per carat. Can you believe that?
Where does Alexandrite come from?
Alexandrite was initially found in the Ural Mountains of Russia in the 1830s. Mineralogist Nils Gustaf Nordenskiöld was the first to know that strange green. The color-changing gemstone was something new.
In 1834, Count Lev Alekseevich Perovskii dubbed the stone in honor of the then-future Czar of Russia, Alexander II.
That clink to the Czars helped the gemstone gain fame by association. In the early nineteenth and twentieth century, the Czars were widely believed as the standard for the royal pump. A combination of rarity, celebrity, and beauty creates a mystique around the gemstone in the public imagination.
Alexandrite entered the list of birthstones by the 1950s as the modern alternative to June’s standard pearl.
Is Alexandrite rare?
If it were not for the popular associations of Alexandrite, the circumstances needed for its creation, combined with its mining history, might have guaranteed the gemstone would be a little popular and rare.
The gemstone needs both chromium and beryllium (one of the rarest elements on the planet). Emerald also needs such two elements.
Nonetheless, chromium and beryllium rarely take place in the same rocks or in geological conditions where they engage. Moreover, the original source of Alexandrite was nearly exhausted after a few decades of mining.
More sources have emerged since the 1980s. Nonetheless, the gem stays one of the rarest gemstones of today.
What are the identifying qualities of Alexandrite?
- Color change
The color change gem phenomenon can happen under different lighting types. Therefore, when grading the color change of Alexandrite, gemologists consider the stone’s color in natural sunlight as the baseline.
Therefore, the classic color change is red in incandescent light and green in the sunlight. Nonetheless, other types of lights can create other colors.
The color changes from AAAA to A when looking for Alexandrite for daily jewelry, normally below one carat. Stones are also labeled with such letters based on rarity.
For instance, an AAAA (heirloom quality) accounts for ten percent. AA accounts for twenty-five percent, A for fifty and seventy-five percent (a commercial-grade gemstone).
When looking for an alexandrite stone that is made of fine quality, it will help if you ask the jeweler to find you a “gem.”
Remember that a gem is a term utilized to describe the best quality in gemstones, for any size more than one carat. A gem must have an excellent color change when it comes to Alexandrite.
When a client searches for natural Alexandrite, the original will likely be Brazil.
Luster is the way light engages with the stone’s surface. It’s also referred to as crystal or the life in the gemstone. That slight difference between gemstones can increase the gem’s price substantially.
Luster is also crucial in identifying the value of Alexandrite because the stone’s interaction with light causes its color to change.
- Regional variations
Brazilian Alexandrite is more likely to have pale colors, pale mauve to pale blue-green. Nonetheless, finer gems have been discovered recently in limited numbers.
Gemologists have located significant numbers of the element gallium, replacing aluminum in some Brazilian materials.
Also, Sri Lankan alexandrite often shows deep olive green in sunlight, whereas Russian alexandrite stones display bluish-green.
The gem from Zimbabwe offers a fine, emerald-green color in sunlight but usually is small. If clean, they often weigh under one carat. The color change in such gems is among the best poplar, but big, clean stones are nearly unobtainable from the rough from that locality.
A substantial market exists for much lab-made Alexandrite, first synthesized in the 1960s. Most manufacturers can grow the gem through flux, hydrothermal, and melt methods.
Such synthetic stones have the same physical and chemical properties as natural Alexandrite. They are real stones but unnatural. Nevertheless, they still rank among the most expensive synthetic stones available, even though they cost far less than their natural counterparts.
Gemologists can often determine synthetic Alexandrite by inclusions caused by different growth methods. For example, melt methods such as the Czochralski technique can make curved striae.
Hydrothermal growth can produce liquid inclusions and bubbles. Flux methods can also leave inclusions of platinum and other seed materials.
A massive market is also present for simulants or lookalikes. Those could range from actual, natural color-change chrysoberyl stones to synthetic corundum with alexandrite-like color change.
The gem is a variety of chrysoberyl, but not all color-change chrysoberyl is Alexandrite. So you should keep that in mind.
Those gems also ordered a high price, but not all are as high as Alexandrite. So, if you find a gem at a bargain price, it is not natural and potentially not a real one. Again, a professional gemological lab can make a good determination.
Miners in the Urals in Russia have re-opened but only supply a few carats of gem-quality material every year. Alexandrite was discovered in Brazil in 1987 and later in Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Madagascar.
None of those places produce as vivid and rich a color change as the original Russian source. The main source of big, natural alexandrite gems today is antique jewelry.
- Sizes of the stone
The biggest known faceted Alexandrite is a 65.7-carat green-red color change stone from Sri Lanka. It currently lies t the Smithsonian Institution. The biggest Russian gems weigh at least 30 carats.
Nevertheless, most alexandrites weigh only under a carat. Gemstones more than 5 carats are extremely rare, particularly with excellent color change.
Treatments are rarely applied to Alexandrite, but you will often find gemstones with oil-filled fractures.
The procedure is identical to the oil treatment done on emeralds. Also known as Palma, palm oil is the most typically utilized to improve the stone’s clarity. That further enhances the stone’s overall grade and quality.
When buying a big alexandrite, particularly as the main stone of an engagement ring, you may get a certificate. Certifications often include notable labs like IGI, AIGS, CBD, and GIA.
The stone’s density is what identifies its carat weight. Because density differs between stone types, carat weight varies even when two stones have similar dimensions.
For instance, if an alexandrite is 9 x 7 millimeters, it weighs around 2.96 carats. Nonetheless, an emerald with the same density weighs at least 2 carats.
You will find numerous types of inclusions, which can be seen in Alexandrite. For example, twinning and crystals have the same inclusions as those found in diamonds.
Nonetheless, multi-phase, rutile, mica platelets, apatite, and fluorite inclusions are inclusions often seen in Alexandrite thanks to the elements present throughout the growth process.
Hollow tubes, liquid inclusions, and fingertips are typical, even though such types of inclusions could be seen in other precious stones, irrespective of the elements present.
How should you take care of your alexandrite jewelry?
Alexandrite makes a durable stone ideal for any jewelry setting with a hardness of 8.5. However, it would help if you took care when faceting the stone. This gem is still sensitive to extreme heat and knock.
On top of that, such gems have no special care requirements. You can just clean them mechanically, per the system’s instructions. Indeed, you can wash them with warm, soapy water and a brush.
Where can you test the value of your Alexandrite?
Each gemstone, including Alexandrite, should have the backing of at least one dependable lab. The American Gemological Laboratories are the most reliable labs for any gemstone collector.
Here is a list of some of the most trusted and responsible gem labs:
- Gubelin Gem Lad Ltd. in Switerzland
- GIA Laboratory in the United States
- AGL American Gemological Laboratory in the United States
- SSEF Swiss Gemological Institute in Switzerland
- GRS Gem Research Lab (Hong Kong)
A decent color change, transparent, good quality natural alexandrite could easily cost you a five-figure sum per carat and beyond. However, that is an acceptable price to pay for such an exceptional and spectacular gem.
We hope you find our guide on how much Alexandrite is worth engaging and useful. Would you like to get your hands on alexandrite jewelry? What aspect of this stone do you love the most? Share your thoughts by leaving your comments.
Would you like to know more about gemstones and learn their physical properties? Consider reading our gemstone guide now.