Although relatively young compared to other gemstones, alexandrite is not at a loss for history, myth and symbolism with which to surround itself. In the late 19th century, the Russian writer Nikolai Semyonovich Lesov wrote a novella, “Alexandrite: Mysterious Interpretation of a True Fact”, wherein alexandrite is defined as being ‘prophetic’. In his book “The Key to the Grand Mysteries”, the French Victorian author and magician Eliphas Levi referred to alexandrite as a mystical gem that clears and strengthens the blood vessels.
In a list of acceptable birthstones drawn up in 1912 by the American National Association of Jewelers, the alexandrite was among those named. In 1952 the Jewelers Association, The Retail Jewelers Association, and the American Gemological Society approved a variation of this list. In it, alexandrite was designated as an alternative to pearl as a birthstone for June. Interestingly, in its native Russia, alexandrite is associated with August. In addition, alexandrite was deemed appropriate to celebrate a 55th wedding anniversary – as well as the 35th and 45th, which dates it would share with the emerald. Wednesday became alexandrite’s day in general, but especially so in the case of the extremely rare cats eye alexandrite.
Through the years it has been a common practice by jewelers associations whereby gemstones that are commonly available are added to “official” lists. It should be noted, however, that the term ‘common’ is rarely used in even the same vicinity as alexandrite.
It is traditionally accepted that alexandrite represents the rational world and the quality of mental clarity. However, the duality of its color just as traditionally represents the duality of characteristics associated with this special gem. Green is the color of revival, hope, prosperity, rest, peace, calm, and fertility. The red of alexandrite connotes energy, activity, self-expression, power, aggression and passion. It would seem that the combination that exists in alexandrite reflects the duality of human nature as exemplified by love and jealousy existing side-by-side or even in the very same place. The daytime color of alexandrite equates to luck and good fortune, while its nighttime appearance is more closely associated with love.
Many think that alexandrite speaks to a person’s ability to be aware of the interconnection of all things and the rejuvenation and realization of self. Certainly it is significant that the traits of alexandrite can be modified and interpreted, depending on how they apply to different eras and cultures – as well as individuals. Without a doubt, the eternally changing colors of alexandrite endow it with a universal appeal and attractiveness. With these imperial colors of another time, the tsarstone continues to fascinate and spur the creativity as well as the romance of today. The beauty and rarity of alexandrite will continue to inspire the imagination of future generations.
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