How Rare Is Real Alexandrite?

By | June 21, 2024

You find yourself captivated by the allure of real alexandrite, a gemstone revered for its mesmerizing color-changing properties and rich history. This gemstone, known as the “emerald by day, ruby by night,” is incredibly rare and highly sought after by collectors and jewelers alike. Natural alexandrite’s scarcity is due to the unique geological conditions required for its formation, often found in only a few select locations around the world. As you dive into the shimmering world of real alexandrite, you’ll discover the intricate factors that contribute to its rarity and the enchanting beauty that makes it so exceptional. Have you ever wondered just how rare real alexandrite is? You might have heard about its remarkable color-changing properties or seen it featured in luxurious jewelry pieces. Alexandrite is indeed a fascinating gemstone, but its rarity is something that often piques interest and fuels its allure. Let’s dive deeper to understand what makes real alexandrite so special and rare.

How Rare Is Real Alexandrite?

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What Is Alexandrite?

Alexandrite is a rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl that changes color depending on the light source. Typically, it appears green in daylight and transforms to red under incandescent light. This unique color-changing ability is what sets alexandrite apart from other gemstones and contributes significantly to its rarity.

Basic Gemstone Characteristics

Before understanding the rarity of alexandrite, it’s crucial to grasp its fundamental properties. Here’s a quick look:

Mineral ClassChrysoberyl
Chemical FormulaBeAl2O4
Mohs Hardness8.5
Refractive Index1.741 – 1.760
Specific Gravity3.73
Color ChangeGreen to Red

The gemstone’s ability to change color is due to the presence of chromium in its chemical makeup, which replaces aluminum ions and causes this fascinating effect.

The Origins of Alexandrite

The history of alexandrite is as captivating as the gemstone itself. Discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in the 1830s, it quickly gained prominence and was even named after the Russian tsar, Alexander II. This initial discovery and subsequent mining activities in Russia set the stage for the gem’s rarity.

Russian Alexandrite

Initially, Russian alexandrite was the hallmark of quality and rarity. However, the Ural mines were mostly depleted by the late 19th century, creating scarcity in the market. The gem sourced from Russia still holds a high value due to its excellent color-changing property.

Other Sources

While Russia was the original source, alexandrite has since been found in other countries like Brazil, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and India. Nevertheless, the quantity and quality from these locations vary.

  • Brazil: Known for significant finds, offers some high-quality but generally more abundant than Russian varieties.
  • Sri Lanka: Produces lighter and less intense color changes.
  • Tanzania and India: Offer darker stones with varying degrees of color change.

Each of these sources contributes to the gemstone’s overall availability but doesn’t significantly diminish its rarity.

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Why Is Alexandrite So Rare?

The geological conditions required to form alexandrite are incredibly specific, making it one of the rarest gemstones in the world.

Geological Formation

For alexandrite to form, several unique conditions must align:

  1. Presence of Beryllium and Chromium: Both elements need to be present in high concentrations. This is rare because these elements don’t frequently occur together.
  2. Specific Geological Conditions: The pressure, temperature, and other geological conditions needed for the formation of alexandrite are stringent.

Mining and Availability

The specific conditions needed for its formation mean that it is found in very limited areas. Furthermore, even in those areas, high-quality stones are scarce. Mining alexandrite is labor-intensive and often yields a very low quantity of gem-quality stones, making it even rarer.

Quality Factors of Alexandrite

When assessing the rarity and quality of alexandrite, gemologists look at several factors:

Color Change

The most crucial factor is the extent and quality of the color change. High-quality alexandrite shows a dramatic shift from green to red. Variations in this property significantly affect the gem’s value.


Like most gemstones, clarity is a vital factor. Alexandrite may contain inclusions, but a clean stone is more valuable. However, finding a flawless alexandrite is extremely rare.

Carat Weight

Larger stones are rarer and command higher prices. Alexandrites over one carat are particularly scarce.


A well-cut alexandrite maximizes the color-change effect and overall appearance of the stone. Expert cutting can make a significant impact on its value.

How Rare Is Real Alexandrite?

Synthetic and Imitation Alexandrite

Due to its rarity and high value, synthetic and imitation alexandrites exist. It’s important to distinguish between natural and synthetic stones, as well as imitations, to understand their worth accurately.

Synthetic Alexandrite

Synthetic alexandrite is created in laboratories and possesses the same physical and chemical properties as natural alexandrite. It was first developed in the 1960s using the Czochralski method. While they are visually and chemically similar, synthetic stones are less valuable.


Imitation alexandrite is made from different materials, such as corundum treated with vanadium to mimic the color change effect. These imitations do not hold the value of real or synthetic alexandrite and are typically used in less expensive jewelry.

Alexandrite Pricing

The rarity and quality factors greatly influence the price of alexandrite. Let’s break down the price ranges you might encounter.

Price Per Carat

Here’s a rough guide to the price per carat for different qualities of alexandrite:

QualityPrice per Carat (USD)
High Quality (1 carat+)$15,000 – $70,000+
Medium Quality$3,000 – $15,000
Low Quality$100 – $3,000

These prices can fluctuate based on market demand and the unique characteristics of each stone.

Factors Affecting Price

  1. Color Change: Stones with a vivid and dramatic color change command higher prices.
  2. Origin: Russian alexandrite is typically more expensive than stones from other regions.
  3. Clarity and Cut: As with any gem, clearer stones and better cuts increase value.

Caring for Alexandrite

Given its rarity and value, special care should be taken when handling and cleaning alexandrite.

Cleaning Tips

  • Mild Soap and Water: Gently clean your alexandrite jewelry with mild soap and water.
  • Soft Brush: Use a soft brush to remove any dirt. Avoid harsh chemicals.
  • Professional Cleaning: Consider professional cleaning for heavily soiled or valuable pieces.


Store alexandrite separately from other jewelry to avoid scratches. Use a soft cloth pouch or a fabric-lined jewelry box.

Investing in Alexandrite

Given its rarity and rising demand, alexandrite can be a good investment. Here are a few tips if you’re considering adding alexandrite to your investment portfolio.

What to Look For

  • Certification: Ensure the stone is certified by a reputable gemological institute.
  • Quality and Origin: High-quality stones and those sourced from Russia typically hold better investment value.
  • Market Trends: Monitor market trends and consult with gemological experts.

Long-Term Value

Alexandrite’s rarity and unique properties make it a gemstone that generally appreciates over time. However, like any investment, it’s essential to diligently research and only invest funds you can afford to tie up for the long term.


In summary, real alexandrite is exceedingly rare due to its unique geological formation requirements, limited mining locations, and the quality factors that contribute to its incredible allure. While it can be expensive, its beauty, rarity, and potential for investment make it a sought-after gemstone for collectors and enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re a gem lover or an investor, understanding the factors that contribute to the rarity and value of alexandrite can help you appreciate this extraordinary gemstone even more.

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Author: marklsmithms1

Hi, I'm Mark, the author of Maura Gems and Jewellery. As a team of qualified gemmologists and goldsmiths, we bring you world-class jewellery at Bangkok prices. With offices in both Bangkok and the UK, we ethically source the finest gemstones directly, eliminating any middlemen. We offer a wide range of stunning ready-made jewellery items in our new online store, available for retail or wholesale. Additionally, we specialize in custom-made jewellery where we can bring any design to life. Whether you're a trade professional or an individual customer, we cater to all. Feel free to email me at or call/WhatsApp me at 07470547636 or +66949355718. Discover our incredible collection by visiting our online store. I guarantee you'll love what you find there!

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