[ al-ig-zan-drahyt, -zahn- ]
/ ˌæl ɪgˈzæn draɪt, -ˈzɑn- /
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noun Mineralogy.
a variety of chrysoberyl, green by daylight and red-violet by artificial light, used as a gem.
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Origin of alexandrite

1830–40; named after Alexander I of Russia; see -ite1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is alexandrite?

Alexandrite is a very rare, transparent gemstone that appears green-blue in daylight but changes to red-violent under incandescent light.

It is one variety of the mineral chrysoberyl.

Due to its rarity and unique color-changing ability, naturally occurring alexandrite is extremely expensive, often surpassing even the price of precious stones like emeralds and diamonds. A small gemstone can reach a very high price. For this reason, synthetic alexandrite is popular for jewelry making.

Alexandrite is one of the birthstones for the month of June. It is associated with the zodiac signs Gemini and Cancer. It is also the gemstone for a 55th wedding anniversary.

Example: Having an alexandrite ring is almost like having two different pieces of jewelry—one with a green stone and one with a red stone.

Where does alexandrite come from?

The first records of the word alexandrite come from the 1830s—around the time it was first discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia (making it a relatively modern discovery in the world of gemstones and minerals). It’s named after Russian Tsar Alexander I, who was tsar from 1801–1825. The suffix -ite is used to denote a mineral.

Alexandrite is a variety of the mineral chrysoberyl, which consists of beryllium aluminate. It is found naturally in Russia, Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil, but natural alexandrite is very rare.

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How is alexandrite used in real life?

Alexandrite is known for its rarity and color-changing quality. Natural alexandrite is extremely expensive, so artificial alexandrite is popular for jewelry.

Try using alexandrite!

True or False?

Alexandrite changes color depending on the type of light.

How to use alexandrite in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for alexandrite

/ (ˌælɪɡˈzændraɪt) /

a green variety of chrysoberyl used as a gemstone

Word Origin for alexandrite

C19: named after Alexander I (1777–1825), tsar of Russia (1801–25); see -ite 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012