Alexandrite is so beautiful, so captivating in its color change phenomenon that many people want it. The most beautiful, strongly colored, large-enough-to-see gems are in museums and bank vaults – and the rest cost 2 or 3 digits more than what most can afford. All of this combines to inspire a very developed trade for synthetic alexandrite. Synthetic alexandrite has also been given its own name, to reduce confusion = “Zandrite”
Synthetic Alexandrites are grown in labs – they are “real” alexandrites – chemically and physiologically identical – the only difference is that they are man made instead of mined from the earth. A synthetic alexandrite is like a strawberry that is grown in a massive field by a commercial farmer. A natural alexandrite is like a strawberry you are lucky enough to find in the forest. One is more valuable than the other, but they are both strawberries.
If you own a large (over 2 carats) Alexandrite with beautiful color and strong color change – and you do not have insurance papers for it, it is 99% probable that it is synthetic – no matter what your grandmother told you.