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The original source for alexandrite was in the Ural region of Russia, but these mines have long been depleted.
For quite some time, the worked out mines of the Urals were thought to have been the only source for large alexandrite stones, specifically specimens weighing 5 carats or more, but very recently in 1987, large specimens were discovered in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Despite its name, chrysoberyl, which is an aluminate of beryllium, does not actually belong to the beryl mineral group, but rather, it is classified as its own independent mineral group.
The history of alexandrite is quite controversial, dating back to the times of Imperial Russia.
Other sources for alexandrite include Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Tanzania, India (Andhra Pradesh) and Madagascar.
Alexandrite's green hue is a result of chromium impurities.
Many alexandrites are synthetic (lab-grown) and others may be natural 'simulated' gemstones, such as color change garnet, sapphire or spinel.
Most chrysoberyl is colored by iron, but alexandrite color is a result of chromium traces.Alexandrite is one of the rarest of all colored gemstones available today.More specifically, it is an extremely rare color change variety of chrysoberyl (a cyclosilicate).The largest cut alexandrite gemstone weighs 66 carats and is currently located in Washington, D. Alexandrites are often faceted in traditional shapes such as oval, round, pear, marquise and cushion cuts, but they are also commonly found in fancy shapes such as heart and trillions cuts too.They are not typically cut en cabochon, unless they possess chatoyant properties.
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The change in color can be observed under certain lighting conditions, typically under daylight and incandescent lighting. It can display emerald green, red, orange and yellow colors depending on which angle the stone is viewed from.