Loose Gemstones

Are you planning to design your own ring with Alexandrite? Or, perhaps you're considering creating a gold and Alexandrite necklace. If this is the case, then it's going to be important that you understand the different types of stones and what sets them apart from one another.

GENUINE AND NATURAL ALEXANDRITE

Natural Alexandrite is in the chrysoberyl family of gemstones. Like other types of chrysoberyls, it contains iron and titanium. But, what differentiates it from other types of chrysoberyl is that it also contains chromium as a major impurity. The chromium is what causes those wonderful color-changing qualities. This is so important to the stone because only chrysoberyls displaying a distinct change of color can be considered true Alexandrite.

LAB-CREATED ALEXANDRITE

The best quality of lab-created Alexandrite is made by Czochralski pulling - which tends to be an expensive method used to create this stone. This method was devised to grow high quality crystals for the computer industry. It was quickly discovered that the crystal quality from this method was very desirable for creating gem-quality gemstones for jewelry. Lab-created stones are often referred to as "Lab Alex" and have a similar chemical composition and the same physical properties as the genuine thing.

Lab-created gems are some of the finest stones you can buy for the money. In most cases, the clarity in lab-created stones is far superior to natural stones. You can have a stone with all the properties of the natural stone - without the inclusions. Also, the cost of natural Alexandrite is cost-prohibitive for the average person.

These lab-created stones are considered fine gem quality . The Czochralski is the best lab-created Alexandrite technique available. However, beware of sellers who try to pass off stones created from Corundum as Czochralski stones. They will not have the same quality.

SIMULATED (OR IMITATION) ALEXANDRITE

Simulated Alexandrites are also created in the lab; however, they don't necessarily have the same physical properties or chemical composition as natural stones. The only similarities they share with genuine and natural stone is their color and appearance. Most simulated stones are made of "lab corundum," "lab cubic zirconia," or glass.

Beware of sellers who call their simulated stones "lab created." It would be more acceptable for them to refer to it as CZ, glass, simulated stones, or imitation stones. Beware of imitation Alexandrite created from glass. They are not durable, do not have the same appearance and quality as the natural ones, and should be avoided.

CONCLUSION

While we would all love to own a two carat genuine and natural Alexandrite gemstone ring, the reality is that most of us can't shell out that kind of money. So, the next best thing is a lab-created gemstone created using the Czochralski method. You can purchase a large, eye-catching stone for the price of a typical amethyst or peridot. These gorgeous stones are priced so that everyone - no matter what their budget - can enjoy the beauty of owning an Alexandrite.

About the Author

Lorraine Grant is a gem enthusiast and collector. She owns and operates Benchmark Gems [http://www.benchmarkgems.com], an online resource for loose precious and sem-precious gemstones. Click here [http://www.benchmarkgems.com/Gemstones/Alexandrite] for a listing of the Alexandrites she currently has available.

How are the very tiny gemstones cut that accent Jewelry? Are they done by hand or machine?

Just wondering...I have some very small loose Gemstones and looking at them it seems impossible that they could be cut by hand but they are beautiful...

Some stones are cut by hand using highly specialized tools, while most nowadays are cut using a machine. It's quite the tricky process, either way.

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