Alexandrite

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Chrysoberyl forms as a result of pegmatitic processes. Melting in the Earth's crust produces relatively low-density molten magma which can rise upwards towards the surface. As the main magma body cools, water originally present in low concentrations became more concentrated in the molten rock because it could not be incorporated into the crystallization of solid minerals. The remnant magma thus becomes richer in water, and also in rare elements that similarly do not fit in the crystal structures of major rock-forming minerals. The water extends the temperature range downwards before the magma becomes completely solid, allowing concentration of rare elements to proceed so far that they produce their own distinctive minerals. The resulting rock is igneous in appearance but formed at a low temperature from a water-rich melt, with large crystals of the common minerals such as quartz and feldspar, but also with elevated concentrations of rare elements such as beryllium, lithium, or niobium, often forming their own minerals; this is called a pegmatite. The high water content of the magma made it possible for the crystals to grow quickly, so pegmatite crystals are often quite large, which increases the likelihood of gem specimens forming.

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