Vaughan's Jewelers
Shoppes at Brentwood
2801-3E Ward Blvd
Wilson, NC 27893
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Monday - Friday: 10 to 6
Saturday: 10 to 4
Sunday: Closed
Also open by appointment

June Birthstone – Alexandrite

Wilson_Alexandrite_JewelryAnother of June’s birthstones is the Alexandrite.  The stone is named after Prince Alexander of Russia (which is the reason why the “A” in Alexandrite is capitalized), who later became Czar Alexander II in 1855. Found in 1839 on the day of the prince’s birthday, Alexandrite was discovered in an emerald mine in the Ural Mountains of Russia.

Since it was a relatively recent discovery, there has not been much time for myth and superstition to build about this unusual stone.  In Russia, the stone was also popular because it reflected the Russian national colors, green and red, and was considered to bring good luck.

The Alexandrite has a captivating chameleon-like personality.  In sunlight, it appears as a beautiful green, occasionally with a bluish hue or with a brownish tint.  Under artificial light, however, the gem turns reddish-violet or violet.

Alexandrite belongs to the chrysoberyl family, a mineral called beryllium aluminum oxide in chemistry jargon, that contains the elements beryllium, aluminum and oxygen.  It is a hard mineral, only surpassed in hardness by diamonds and corundum (sapphires and rubies).

The unusual colors in Alexandrite are a result to the presence of chromium in the mineral. Chrysoberyl crystallizes in pegmatites (very coarse-grained igneous rock, crystallized from magma) rich in beryllium.  They are also found in alluvial deposits, weathered pegmatites containing the gemstones that are carried by rivers and streams.

Alexandrite is a rare gemstone, and consequently very expensive.  Sri Lanka is the chief source of Alexandrite today, and the gems have also been obtained in Brazil, Malagasy, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Burma.

Synthetic Alexandrite, resembling a reddish-hued amethyst with a hint of green, has been manufactured, however the alteration in color seen from natural to artificial lighting cannot be reproduced.  These stones have met with only minimal market success in the United States.