Alexandrite is one of the most compelling and mysterious gemstones in the world, making it the ideal choice for a special occasion like an engagement.
These one-of-a-kind stones are rarer than diamonds and have color-changing properties. So, it comes as no surprise that they are quite popular among fiancées across the globe!
While diamond solitaire rings are seen as the ultimate classic, engagement rings featuring this delicate stone will stand out from the rest. Natural alexandrite is also the June birthstone, making these gemstones perfect for all kinds of jewelry, from earrings and bracelets to pendants on necklaces.
Keep reading to discover our complete guide to alexandrite engagement rings.
Alexandrite is a rare gemstone known for its unique color change effect.
The color of each stone depends on its setting and lighting, making it a pleochroic stone. At nighttime or in incandescent light, an alexandrite gemstone will appear pink, purple, or red. In daylight, it will appear blue or green.
Discovered in 1834, alexandrite was named after the Russian tsar Alexander (the second). They were found while mining for emeralds in Russia’s Ural Mountains.
According to legend, alexandrites were discovered on the day the young tsar came of age. During this time, alexandrite also became the national gemstone of Imperial Russia.
Combined with its stunning appearance and rarity, this regal history makes alexandrite gemstones even more special.
One aspect of an alexandrite engagement ring that makes it so popular is how alternative it is. Choosing an alexandrite gemstone makes the perfect ring if you want something different, yet elegant.
Alexandrite also feels more exclusive than a traditional diamond. It is rare, valuable, and unusual – perfect for people who are out of the box.
While diamonds are the most durable stones on the market, alexandrite isn’t far behind. It scores an 8.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, meaning alexandrite jewelry can withstand some wear and tear.
Because alexandrite gemstones naturally change color, the choice of setting, cut, and precious metal should be carefully considered when shopping for an engagement ring.
The price of alexandrite is determined by its color.
The best alexandrite stones are those with a strong saturation and a medium to dark tone. Thus, you will find that alexandrites that are light or desaturated in color are less expensive. Some alexandrite gems have a purple or brown hue. These stones also typically cost less as they are considered lower quality.
Alexandrite stones that change from green to red typically sell for the highest price. Shoppers can, therefore, expect to pay more for gems that display a dramatic color change.
To ensure your alexandrite is of high quality, many experts recommend buying from a certified, reputable laboratory. These labs grade gemstones, and their reports will include unbiased information about your gemstone. In this way, you will be able to make an educated choice before purchasing.
Alexandrites are softer than diamonds. This means that alexandrite rings are more susceptible to damage than traditional diamond rings. Because of this, it may be a good idea to have your alexandrite set in a harder precious metal, like platinum, or to opt for a protective setting.
The color change aspect of alexandrite can make it challenging for gem cutters to achieve the ideal cut. Thus, it is common to see alexandrite stones in mixed cuts – with crowns in brilliant cuts like the oval, round brilliant, or princess cut and pavilions in step cuts like the emerald cut.
Because alexandrite can be a different color depending on the light and variations in the stone itself, the gem is oriented to show its most saturated colors through the crown before cutting.
In recent years, art deco and vintage settings have become popular for engagement rings. An oval or pear-shaped alexandrite surrounded by a halo of diamonds and set in white gold is a great example of this. Three stone rings have also increased in popularity due to their inherent symbolism, representing the couple’s past, present, and future.
Of course, there are many other styles of engagement rings to choose from, and the setting you choose should ultimately reflect your personality.
Alexandrite pairs well with yellow gold and rose gold. The warm tones of these metals contrast beautifully with the stone’s cool hues and complement the warmer hues well.
However, the reverse is also true. A cool-toned metal like white gold or silver will complement the stone’s green/blue hues and contrast with its red hues.
Many professionals recommend steering clear of treated and lab-grown gemstones. However, they can be a great choice for a person on a tighter budget.
Treated alexandrite has been altered to change the clarity, durability, or color of the stone, which can lower its value. Treated alexandrite is, therefore, cheaper than natural alexandrite stones.
There is also the option of buying synthetic (lab-created) alexandrite. It is chemically identical to its natural counterpart and costs a lot less. The only con to these stones is that they are much less unique, and some may consider them ‘too perfect’.
If you’re looking for an engagement ring that contains your birthstone, but alexandrite is too expensive, you can opt for one of the other June birthstones. These include pearl and moonstone.
Our top picks for other alexandrite alternatives include:
Many jewelry makers offer an in-depth cleaning service with the purchase of a ring. However, between sessions, you may find it necessary to clean your alexandrite ring yourself.
It is best to wash your alexandrite engagement ring with mild soap, room-temperature water, and a soft brush.
You may also soak your ring in a bowl of warm water with a few drops of dish soap. Afterward, you can rinse it with clean water and dry it with a cloth.
Always remove your alexandrite ring and other jewelry before exercising, going swimming, or doing heavy cleaning with harsh chemicals.
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