Alexandrite and Simulant Variations: A traditional birthstone for June

Is pearl really the main birthstone for June?  It is the primary precious stone and has been on the US birthstone chart since 1912.  However, the traditional birthstone is rare and therefore very expensive.  The stone is Alexandrite, which was discovered in 1834 and named for the on-throne Russian Tsar.  Alexandrite is the color-change version of chrysoberyl and comes from many countries.  Most often the quote that goes with Alexandrite is “emerald by evening and ruby by day,” because it shifts from blue/green to red/purple depending on the light source.  However, it really can be a variety of colors depending on where it is mined. The gemstone designation is merely for true-color change with a specific chemical make-up, not for a particular color.

There are various simulants and lab-grown versions of Alexandrite.  The best lab-grown Alexandrite comes from Russia, which is where the original stones were from so they know how to imitate the chemical composition.  Newer simulants have great and quick color-change.  Look for variations of the Alexandrite name such as Zandrite or Alexite to find the simulants.  Simulants should be cheaper than the real thing, but beware as not everyone will tell you whether you are getting natural or created Alexandrite. 

The best bet for buying natural, simulants, or lab-created may be home shopping channels.  Check JTV, SHQP, LC, HSN, and EBAY.  Otherwise jewelry containing this gemstone would be beyond most people’s price point at a fine jewelry store, if they even have it in stock.

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