Exploring the Color Factor Regarding Alexandrite

When exploring the unique properties of alexandrite, there are a few minerals that are sometimes confused with this rare gemstone. Most of the allure of alexandrite is the fact that it can change colors. Are there any other gems in the world that possess this capability and what are some of the ins and outs regarding the color factor?


Whenever mentioning alexandrite, the term of chrysoberyl comes to mind.
  This is because alexandrite is the variety of gemstone that belongs under the species name of chrysoberyl. Just in case you don’t know by now, alexandrite is a special gem because it has the ability to change colors under different light sources. During the day, the gem shows as green, but under incandescent light sources, alexandrite becomes red.


Sometimes cat’s eye and alexandrite are mentioned in the same breath. The term, “cat’s eye” is used to refer to an optical details associated with this particular mineral. This gemstone also possesses a special relationship with light. Cat’s eye displays an effect called chatoyancy, which when coming into contact with light will reflect a streak that seems to open and close when rotating the stone. This effect is similar to the movement of the eye, hence the name.


While some may not notice the effect right off of the bat when it comes to the meeting of cat’s eye with light, but when under a spotlight or direct sunlight hits the stone, you will be able to truly view the effect. There are also additional stones that showcase this same effect (tourmaline, scapolite, beryl, and quartz), and are given names, such as tourmaline cat´s eyes or scapolite cat´s eyes. If a chrysoberyl cat´s eye shows a color change when introduced to different spectrums of light, it will be known as an Alexandrite cat´s eye.


If you are interested in learning more about gemstones that can change colors, you should know that there are many other recognizable gemstone names that possess this capability. The sapphire and garnet are well known, as well as represent birthstones for the months of January and September. Garnets present such a beautiful color change that they are often mistaken for alexandrite. If you read the article titled “The Controversy Behind the Naming of Alexandrite,” then you already know the similarities that sapphires have with alexandrite.
  The spinal is also known to change colors depending on the light source that it is exposed to.


Now, when it comes to the different colors that alexandrite showcases, you will learn that there are a few shades that are more common than others. If the alexandrite comes from the branch of Tanzanian stones hailing from Tunduru , there will be a handful of colors presented. When exposed to daylight, many of the stones bear a khaki-like color or a yellowish green. When introduced to an incandescent light, their shades turn into a brownish red. Some of the more brilliant colors tend to be the bluish greens, as well as some really intriguing purple-red colors.


When it comes from alexandrite uncovered in Brazil, they tend to highlight mostly a bluish green to blue-green when viewed in the sunlight, with reddish purple to purple-red when under an incandescent light. The Indian variety of alexandrite are quite advanced in clarity, as well as display a truly sharp bluish green color in daylight, where under incandescent light turns the gem into a reddish purple.