Is Alexandrite As Hard As Diamond?

By | June 27, 2024

In the dazzling realm of gemstones, alexandrite stands out for its remarkable color-changing property. But, when it comes to comparing its hardness to that of a diamond, things get intriguing. As you explore the world of these two magnificent stones, you’ll discover that while Alexandrite is robust and durable, it doesn’t quite match the legendary hardness of a diamond. Dive into this fascinating comparison to understand why Alexandrite still holds a unique allure despite its softer nature. Have you ever wondered if alexandrite is as hard as diamond? It’s a fascinating inquiry, especially for those with an interest in gemstones and jewelry. Appreciating the allure of gemstones is often tied to their distinct characteristics, including their hardness. This article delves deep into understanding the hardness of alexandrite and how it compares to the unmatched benchmark that diamonds represent.

Is Alexandrite As Hard As Diamond?

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What is Alexandrite?

Before diving into the specifics of hardness, it’s essential to understand what alexandrite is. Alexandrite is a rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl. It is highly regarded for its remarkable color-changing properties, shifting from green in daylight to reddish-purple in incandescent light.

Origin and Discovery

Alexandrite was first discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in the early 1830s. The gemstone was named in honor of Tsar Alexander II, and its unique color-changing property was considered reminiscent of the Russian national colors, red and green.

Composition and Structure

Alexandrite is composed of beryllium aluminum oxide (BeAl2O4). Its unique color-changing ability is due to trace amounts of chromium within its structure. Additionally, alexandrite often forms as prismatic crystals, though it may also be found in rounded or tabular shapes.

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Understanding Hardness in Gemstones

When discussing gemstones, “hardness” refers to a material’s resistance to scratching. This is a critical factor because it influences the gemstone’s durability and, consequently, its use in various types of jewelry.

The Mohs Scale of Hardness

The Mohs scale, developed by Friedrich Mohs in 1812, is the primary scale used to measure mineral hardness. It ranges from 1 (talc) to 10 (diamond), based on a mineral’s ability to scratch another mineral. Here’s a quick look at some common minerals and their positions on the Mohs scale:

MineralMohs Hardness

Importance of Hardness

Understanding the hardness of a gemstone is critical for both jewelers and consumers. Higher hardness implies better scratch resistance, making the gem more suitable for everyday wear. It also affects how the gemstone is cut, polished, and handled during the jewelry-making process.

Is Alexandrite As Hard As Diamond?

Hardness of Alexandrite

Now that we have a solid understanding of gemstone hardness, let’s focus on alexandrite.

Where Does Alexandrite Stand on the Mohs Scale?

Alexandrite has a Mohs hardness rating of 8.5. This places it above many commonly known gemstones but below the more resistant corundum and diamond. Here’s a breakdown for better clarity:

GemstoneMohs Hardness

Practical Implications

Although alexandrite is not as hard as diamond, its hardness rating of 8.5 makes it quite durable. It’s well-suited for various types of jewelry, including rings, which are subject to more wear and tear.

Is Alexandrite As Hard As Diamond?

Comparing Alexandrite to Diamond

Composition and Structure

The fundamental difference between alexandrite and diamond lies in their composition. Diamonds are composed of carbon atoms arranged in a crystal lattice, giving them unparalleled hardness. In contrast, alexandrite is composed of beryllium aluminum oxide with trace amounts of chromium.

Durability and Everyday Wear

Due to its hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale, diamonds are almost entirely resistant to scratching. This makes diamond the preferred choice for engagement rings and other jewelry worn daily. Alexandrite, with its hardness of 8.5, is also quite durable but might show signs of wear over time when exposed to rough conditions.

Cost and Rarity

While both gemstones are rare, their cost structures differ significantly. Diamonds, despite being widely available, maintain high prices due to market control and demand. Alexandrite is rarer than diamonds and therefore can command higher per-carat prices, particularly for stones with an excellent color change effect.

Visual Appeal

Choosing between alexandrite and diamond often comes down to personal preference. Diamonds are renowned for their brilliance and fire. Alexandrite’s unique color-changing ability provides a different kind of allure, making it a favorite among those who seek something distinctive.

Is Alexandrite As Hard As Diamond?

Alexandrite in Jewelry

Types of Jewelry

Given its substantial hardness, alexandrite is suitable for different types of jewelry, including:

  • Rings: Particularly those designed for occasions where durability is crucial, such as engagement rings.
  • Earrings: Less prone to wear and tear but benefit from alexandrite’s captivating color.
  • Pendants: Showcase the stone’s beauty without subjecting it to much wear.
  • Bracelets: An excellent choice, as the gem can withstand daily abrasions.

Care and Maintenance

Like any gemstone, alexandrite requires care to maintain its beauty.


To clean alexandrite:

  1. Use warm, soapy water and a soft brush.
  2. Rinse thoroughly to remove any soap residue.
  3. Avoid harsh chemicals and ultrasonic cleaners, which can damage the stone.


When not being worn, store alexandrite jewelry separately in a soft pouch or a lined jewelry box to prevent scratches.

Is Alexandrite As Hard As Diamond?


So, is alexandrite as hard as diamond? No, but that doesn’t diminish its value or allure. Alexandrite is a unique and captivating gemstone with a hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs scale, making it durable enough for everyday wear. While it falls short of the diamond’s unrivaled hardness, it offers a distinct charm with its remarkable color-changing property.

Understanding these differences can help you make an informed decision when choosing between these two exceptional gemstones. Whether you are drawn to the enduring brilliance of a diamond or the mesmerizing shift of colors in alexandrite, each stone has its own set of qualities to appreciate.

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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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