Of all the birthstones, June’s birthstone is perhaps the rarest of all. To many, alexandrite is an enigma; a gem they have heard of, but never seen. A gemstone chameleon, alexandrite has been described as “emerald by day; ruby by night”.
Alexandrite is a unique and rare colour-changing variety of the mineral chrysoberyl, and was first discovered in the 1830’s in Russia’s Ural Mountains. Named after Alexander II, this gem captured the imagination of Russia with its vivid red and green colours mirroring the national military colours. These early deposits of alexandrite were of exceptional quality but were quickly depleted.
More recent deposits have been discovered in Sri Lanka, East Africa and Brazil, but overall the quality of these crystals is a far cry from the original Russian alexandrite gems.