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Alexandrite is one of the most scarce gemstones in the world. Its color changing ability and how rare of a gem it is makes it one of the most sought after gemstones for jewelry. 

With such a rare stone, you may wonder how this gorgeous stone is mined. Here is everything you need to know about how alexandrite is mined. 

The History of Alexandrite

Alexandrite was first discovered in 1833 in the Russian mountains. This rare stone was long thought only to be located in Russia and was even named after the Russian Czar Alexander II.  

Since its discovery, Alexandrite can now be discovered in India, Sri Lanka, and Brazil. This precious stone requires specific environmental conditions that can only be found in these locations. Hence, experts agree that future discoveries of new sites that produce this stone are highly unlikely. 

Alexandrite Mining Sources

Primary Source 

Alexandrite can be mined from two different types of sources, primary and secondary. A primary source is when alexandrite is extracted from the rock it was first formed. This is the most complex method of mining alexandrite. 

Mining from a primary source involves a more complex process to ensure the integrity of the stone. 

Secondary Source

A secondary source refers to mining alexandrite from a location other than the rock it was formed. An alexandrite gem could have moved locations for any number of reasons. 

Most commonly, this type of source can be found in river beds or corroded rock. Secondary sources are known to have moved due to natural causes. This source is significantly easier to mine as the stone has already been removed from the rock it was created. 

How is Alexandrite Mined

Due to how rare alexandrite is, the most common method to mine it is through secondary sources. Alexandrite is often located during the mining process for emeralds due to the similarity in the environment needed to create the stone. 

This is not to say that alexandrite will be located wherever emeralds are formed. The conditions needed to make emeralds help dislodge alexandrite, not create it. 

The Bottom Line

Alexandrite is one of the most scarce gems in the world. Needing a particular environment to form, alexandrite is extremely difficult to locate in its primary source, making it even more valuable. 

The problematic nature of locating this gem has led to secondary sources being the primary method of mining this stone.   

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