When gem connoisseurs speak of rarity, often the first example given is the rare form of chrysoberyl known as alexandrite. All alexandrite changes color under different light sources, but the best gems change from teal-green in daylight to raspberry or purplish-red in incandescent light. Legend has it that in 1830 a local Russian peasant was walking along the bank of the Tokovaya River at the base of the Ural Mountains when he stumbled across some green stones. The area already had several other mines and the local town of Ekaterinburg had developed into a center of lapidary and gem trade. The green stones turned out to be emeralds and mining began in earnest. Tokovaya’s mica schists produced a variety of gem rough and eventually it was discovered that one type had the strange ability to change color from red to green at different times of day! The unusual gem was named for Czarevitch Alexander Nicolajevitch and was immediately popular, helped along no doubt by its color’s resemblance to those of the Russian national military. The actual amount of color change varies from stone to stone and has a major impact on the stone's value. Alexandrite, the birthstone for June, is an untreated, natural gemstone. It has a hardness of 8.5 which makes it a good choice for all types of jewelry.
Treatments: none (many synthetics however)