Alexandrite vs Sapphire: What Are They, And What’s The Difference?

Are you struggling to tell the difference between alexandrite and a sapphire stone?

You aren’t alone. Sapphire can come in the colors of white, pink, purple, yellow, or even changing colors.

Below we go into depth on how you can tell the difference between an alexandrite and sapphire stone.

Alexandrite vs Sapphire: Explained

What Is an Alexandrite Stone?

One of the rarest gemstones in the world, alexandrite, is known for its ability to change colors, which causes many to be awed by the beauty of the stone.

Often, modern rock collectors romanticize this gem with the expression, “emerald by day, ruby by night.”

This is due to the gem’s brilliant dual colors of vibrant grass green during daylight and deep raspberry-red under incandescent lighting.

If you’re trying to identify a stone is real an alexandrite, the first thing you want to do is check its color-changing ability.

In fluorescent lighting, the gem should be an emerald green color, and in incandescent lighting, the stone should change to a deep purple or red color.

If the stone does not do this clearly, it might not be an alexandrite.

But why does the alexandrite stone changes color?

It’s due to the amount of chromium content inside the gem.

The same chemical composition gives emeralds and rubies their striking colors.

Color changes with 100% saturation are most valuable as they produce the greatest color change.

However, it might raise the question of whether or not the stone is an alexandrite if the colors diverge too much from the expected hues.

Years ago, Russia was the primary source of this beautiful gem, but now you can mainly find them in the countries of Brazil, East Africa, and Sri Lanka.

Although the colors are not as vibrant as the ones found in Russia, it’s scarce to find the gem in these areas of the world.

A gem of the chrysoberyl family, alexandrite has a hardness level of 8.5, making it highly durable.

Furthermore, the gem has traces of iron, titanium, and chromium, helping to give it a unique color effect.

An exquisite gemstone full of magic is the result of the elements coming together.

The alexandrite gemstone is thought to represent wealth, prosperity, and intellect.

What Is a Sapphire Stone?

The sapphire gemstone is considered a precious gem due to its color, hardness, durability, and luster.

However, many people only believe the gem comes in the deep blue color its name after but come to find out it can come in many different colors.

So, how can you identify a sapphire gemstone?

First, get a magnifying glass to check for impurities to determine if your stone is a sapphire.

Natural imperfections and small spots on a sapphire’s surface affect the gemstone’s development.

Another test you can try is the breath test.

All you have to do is breathe on the stone until it fogs up.

Once condensation forms, count how long it takes for the mist to disappear.

If it is a genuine sapphire stone, you will see the condensation disappear in a couple of seconds.

Alternatively, if the stone is not a natural sapphire, it will take longer to disappear.

Sapphire stones can be found just about all over the world. Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, and Afghanistan are places to fine sapphires.

Additionally, sapphire is found in Australia and the African countries Kenya and Nigeria. In the United States, the best place to find sapphire gemstones is in Montana.

On the Mohs hardness scale, the sapphire ranks a 9 out of a 10.

As one of the hardest and strongest gems, sapphire has exceptional abrasion and thermal shock resistance.

People are often attracted to sapphires due to their meaning.

The stone is thought to offer protection from evil, attract abundance, calm one’s mind and strengthen intuition.

What Are the Similarities Between an Alexandrite and a Sapphire Stone?

Even though rare, you can find sapphire stones that give a color-changing vibe to it, which is why people often confuse a sapphire gemstone as an alexandrite.

These rare sapphires exhibit color variations similar to alexandrites.

In terms of their structure, synthetic color-change sapphires are nothing like alexandrite stones.

However, there is a difference between alexandrite and sapphire, a variety of chrysoberyl.

As a result, the color-changing sapphire is more like an alexandrite replica.

How to Tell the Differences Between an Alexandrite and a Sapphire Stone?

Unfortunately, it’s not simple to answer, especially if you’re not a gemologist or have access to the proper testing equipment for identification.

One notable difference is that alexandrite stones exhibit a green-to-purple color change under different lighting conditions.

Also, alexandrite stones have a different chemical ” makeup” than sapphire.

Most color-changing sapphire stones will change from a blue to purple color.

So, finding a sapphire that changes colors from green to red is extremely rare.

However, it’s perfectly normal for an alexandrite stone to switch between these two colors.

Wrapping Up

Identifying a stone’s true nature can be challenging if you don’t have the right tools.

When all else fails, consider taking your stone to a jeweler, a regional rock and minerals show, or contact a local minerals and gems club.

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Alexandrite vs Sapphire