Precious gemstones are highly sought after, but can be expensive, leading to demand for more affordable alternatives. Two gemstones that are often confused with one another are amethyst and alexandrite. While they may have similarities in appearance, there are key differences between the two.
- Amethyst is a violet quartz used in jewelry, while alexandrite is a chrysoberyl mineral that can change colors.
- Alexandrite is harder than amethyst and has a different chemical composition.
- Amethyst is the February birthstone, while alexandrite is the June birthstone.
Amethyst is a type of quartz that is violet in color and used to make jewelry items. It is believed to prevent its wearer from becoming drunk. The ancient Greeks and Romans used amethyst, and even made vessels from it to contain beverages. Amethyst appears violet due to the presence of iron impurities and irradiation. It is a vitreous stone with a chemical formula of SiO2.
On the other hand, alexandrite is one of the three varieties of the mineral chrysoberyl, with a chemical formula of BeAl2O4. It is a very hard gemstone, with a hardness of 8.5 on the Mhos scale. Named after Russian Tzar Alexander, it was first discovered in the Ural Mountains in Russia in 1834. Alexandrite is found in both red and green colors, making it Russia’s national stone. Although it appears green in daylight, it can turn red or purple in incandescent light, making it a highly sought after gemstone.