Alexandrite is a very rare variety of chrysoberyl, an aluminate of beryllium, one of the hardest gemstones in the world (with a hardness on the Mohs scale of 8.5).
Alexandrite is particularly appreciated because of the way it changes its color based on the lighting, a phenomenon known as metamerism: it's green in daylight and red in incandescent light.
Other gemstones also demonstrate such properties, but in its case the change is dramatic, and alexandrite's value is partially determined by the color changing effect. A specimen that fully changes colors and whose colors are the closest to green and red would be more expensive than other combinations of these factors.
Alexandrite's price is usually very high, which is to a big extent due to its rarity - it remains one of the gemstones that are the most difficult to obtain. Most alexandrite gemstones are rather small - of 2 carats or less. Bigger ones are extremely rare.
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