Need to Know

Purchasing Alexandrite over the internet can be simple. The seller should disclose the Origin of the stone, the Color and Strength of color-changeCut, Size, Weight, Clarity, any Treatment and if the stone is a Natural, not synthetic or lab created stone. Look for size as it relates to carat weight. For example:

Round Alexandrite:

2.0mm = .05 carat +/-
2.5mm = .08 – .09 carat
3.0mm = .15 carat +/-

Oval Alexandrite:

3mm X 2mm= .10 carat +/-
4mm X 3mm= .35 carat +/-
5mm X 4mm= .50 carat +/-

Check out the Clarity. Know that larger stones (over one carat) almost always have small inclusions and stones over 2.5 carats always have inclusions (unless they are over $100,000 and certified). Heirlooms most possibly are synthetic: look out for large carat weight with few, if any inclusions.

Check out color-change. Check to see that the pictures shown are taken in natural light and not filtered or photoshopped. If the pictures are taken in ideal lighting conditions with special light boxes etc, chances are most likely the gem will not appear the same color once it is seen in natural conditions. Also, note that different types of monitors (flat screen, CRT etc.) and different brands of monitors will show colors slightly differently and that settings are set subjectively (such as brightness and contrast). Therefore, carefully read the written description of the color and color-change.

See if there is Certification by an independent lab or a Certificate of Authenticity offered by the seller. Several countries, such as India, have Governmental Regulatory Agencies that will certify the gems.

Know the seller and the seller’s reputation. Call or email the seller to see if questions are answered knowledgebly and promptly. Read testimonials. Check that the seller is a member of professional organizations in the gem and/jewelry industry.

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Natural vs Created or Lab

In viewing natural Alexandrite in daylight it should be a green or bluish-green coloration; the closer to emerald green the better. In warm incandescent light, candlelight or tungsten light the color should change to a reddish-purple, purple, or bluish lavender. The closer the color is to a fine ruby the better the gemstone.

The chemical composition of Alexandrite, for those interested is:

Formula:BeAl2O4
Color: Green/blue daylight and fluorescent light
Luster: Vitreous
Hardness: 8.5 on the Mohs’s scale

Natural alexandrite is a reflective gem and when scratched across a surface (please don’t try this with your gem) it will leave a white streak. Be wary of so-called “natural alexandrite” that are amethyst or pinkish in daylight and change to a purply color in incandescent light. These are NOT natural mined Alexandrite. Also seen are synthetics that are blue or grayish blue in daylight and change to a purply color.

Natural Alexandrite typically have inclusions which can be better seen under magnification. Normal inclusions can include tiny crystals that look like black spots in the interior of the gem, veil like silky threads throughout a the whole or portion of the gem, or even what may look like tiny elongated tubes. Also seen at times in natural Alexandrite are fissures that resemble white or clear lines that look like a crack in the gem.

Besides color differences, any stone that has what resembles air bubbles throughout is a synthetic or created stone. A dusty like appearance within the stone that appears as a dull layer in one level is another indication of synthetic alexandrite. Streaks that travel in the same direction with one end rounded are typical of created alexandrite. Strong color banding that can be easily seen if a gem is placed on its side on a sheet of white paper (look for lighter and darker coloration in layers or bands) is still another indication of created or synthetic alexandrite.

In the last two or three years color change crysoberyl has been sold as Alexandrite. The color may change from green to yellow or bluish to brick brown. Color change crysoberyl is NOT Alexandrite. The parameters of color within Natural Alexandrite are limited to the colors listed earlier in this article.

Lab grown Alexandrite is also being sold as Natural Alexandrite or even Natural Russian Alexandrite when the lab is located in the USSR. Although a competent lab or gemologist can tell whether the stone is lab grown or natural mined, the differences are too minute for the consumer, so one has to be very careful.

The bottom line is: know the seller’s reputation. Khazargems has a wide variety of Natural Alexandrite mined from the earth- no lab, synthetic or color change crysoberyls are ever sold by us.

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Viewing Color Change

When you view the color and color change of an Alexandrite, it should conform to these standards.

  • It should be green in sunlight and fluorescent light.
  • It should be purple, red, or reddish-Purple in soft incandescent light. A low-lit room is the best place to see the color change. Light from a candle will also show the purple color change. Very, very infrequently an alexandrite will exhibit a change to a more reddish color- reddish-Violet, Violet-red etc. These gems command a great premium in price.
  • Mixed light will produce either a grayer color as the green and purple mix or flashes of the green, purple, and sometimes red or yellow. Strong color-change stones will usually show the red/purple color in mixed lighting
  • Rotate the stone to get the color from all facets and to look for ‘flash’ (blazes of color that show in the body of the stone). Ruby-red and hot-Pink flash and sparkle is the most desirable and most rare.
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How To Buy An Alexandrite

 

When it comes to a color-change Gemstone there is more to learn than Color-Cut-Clarity-Carats, or the 4-C’s as they are commonly known. Gemstones that change color depending on the light they are seen in (also called Phenomenal Gems), are judged by different standards than other gems.

Learn about the history and beauty of these most desirable of gems and how the experts grade them. Learn how to buy Alexandrite on the Net or at your neigborhood jewelry store.


Color  Changing Gems And Chemical Composition Of Alexandrite

In the world of gemstones, there are those special and rare few gems that exhibit a mysterious change of color dependent on the light they are shown in. These gems are called color-change or Phenomenal gems. Although color-change tanzanites, sapphires, quartz, spinels, crysoberyls, garnets, tourmalines, and fluorite (to name a few) occasionally can be found there is only one known gem that always has a color change: Alexandrite.

Alexandrite is the only gem that has a standard and that standard states the gem must change from green in daylight to purple or reddish purple (the more red the better) in incandescent light or candlelight.

Color-change in other gems run a gamut of colors: from purple to pink in Amethyst, purple to blue or even green in Tanzanite, green to red or yellow in Garnet, green to yellow or orange or blue in Tourmaline; the changes and colors run the spectrum of the rainbow. Alexandrite is the only gem that has a standard and states the gem must change from green in daylight to rich ruby red or violet/purple in incandescent light or candlelight.

Chemical Composition Of Alexandrite And Color-Change Chrysoberyl

Alexandrite is a specific type of color change chrysoberyl. The chemical composition of chrysoberyl and color change chrysoberyl is BeAl2O4. Chrysoberyl is in the Class called Oxides. The crystal system is orthombic and the crystals themself are commonly twinned which results in a triangular shaped crystal or a crystal within a crystal. While I could list all the known properties of chrysobery the most important issue is that Natural Alexandrite, which is chrysoberyl has at least one important difference between itself, normal chrysoberyl and color change crysoberyl. In Natural Alexandrite there is a replacement of some of the alumina in the molecular structure by chromic oxide causing Natural Alexandrite’s specific coloration. Color change chrysoberyl does NOT have this replacement.


 

Color

The color of a GIA Type 2 gemstone is of paramount importance. The more pure the color (hue), the less a difference cut, clarity and carat weight have on the beauty and value of the stone.

Color is subjective; however in colored gemstones there is a standard that is considered the appropriate and most beautiful color for that gem. In color-change gemstones, of which Alexandrite is the only one in nature in which 100% of the stones change color; the Standard states the gem must show as bluish green or Emerald green in daylight or fluorescent light and red or purple in incandescent or candlelight.

The color and strength (percentage) of color-change is another important factor. Most gemologists refer to the strength of the color-change by percentage (with 100% being ideal and stones below 30% not considered) or terminology (weak, moderate, strong). Alexandrite with 100% color-change will show completed color-change on every axis of the gem– all the facets will change color. Looking down through the table of the gem, if half the facets change color the gem is classified as a 50% change, if three-quarters change color it is a 75% color-change etc.

Color is described in gems through: Hue– the exact color in the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet); Intensity or Saturation– the brightness or dullness of the color; Tone– how light or dark the stone is (how much black or white is present); Distribution– the evenness of color throughout the stone (Zoning). When reading a description of the color of a gem if there are mixed hues, the predominant hue is Capitalized and the lesser hue is shown in lower case. For example: bluish-Green; Green is the predominant color and blue is the lesser (underlying) color.

Note that in the last few years, unknowing or unscrupulous sellers are marketing color-change chrysoberyl as Alexandrite. Although Alexandrite is a specific form of chrysoberyl with both having a chemical composition of BeAl2O4, it is the very small replacement of alumina in chrysoberyl by chromic oxide that causes the alexandrite’s characteristic and standard coloration.


 

Carat

Gems have been standardized in weight since 1913. All gems (except pearls and coral) are weighed in Carats. One carat equals 200 milligrams (1/5 of a gram). The Carat is a unit of weight- not size! A rule of thumb: multiply the gram weight of a stone by 5 and you will have the carat weight (example: 0.06 grams=0.30 carats).

Gems have different densities. If you take a one carat ruby and compare it to a one carat emerald there will be a difference in size because ruby is denser than emerald. Therefore, the ruby will be smaller than the emerald even though both WEIGH the same and therefore have the same carat weight.

For each type of gemstone- sizes (in millimeters) will yield specific weights (carats). To reference Natural Alexandrite, for example: round stones of determined mm (millimeters) will always fall into a very small range of carat weights such as a 2mm= .05 carats, 2.5mm= .08 or .09 carats. Any large deviation from the referenced sizes would mean that the stone was either cut shallow (example: 2.5mm= 0.4 carats) or deep (example: 2.5mm= .14 carats). If a stone is cut too shallow the color will be washed out or too light, and if a stone is cut too deep the stone will appear too dark).

Mining of gem quality alexandrite is extremely rare in sizes over .25 carat. Stones that are less than .50 carats can sell for thousands of dollars. Stones over one carat usually cost in the tens of thousands of dollars for fine quality, while stones over three carats, that are naturally mined, can cost close to $100,000.


 

Clarity

Clarity can be described as the degree of absence of inclusions (foreign particles, bubbles, fissures etc. in a stone). Alexandrite is a Type 2 GIA gemstone, which means that the norm is for a stone to have minor inclusion (silk, negative crystals, fissures etc). A clean faceted Alexandrite up to a carat in size is rare and above one carat is extremely rare. Therefore, a VVS Alexandrite (which is the highest classification) is described as: Very Very Slightly Included – Minor inclusions.


 

Cut

Alexandrite is found in several shapes with oval facet being the most common (and having the least waste material after cutting). Round has the most waste after cutting which renders the stones a premium in price. More alexandrites are now being cut in other shapes such as, pear, cushion, emerald, fan, baguette and fancy cuts.

Most alexandrite are native cut- that is, they are cut and faceted in the country in which they are mined by craftsmen that have been trained from father to son over many generations. The cutting and faceting is all done by hand and not by machine.


Alexandrite Prices

Natural Alexandrite Prices of all origins as of May 1, 2008 as reported by the International Gem Society are as follows:

Top Red/Green (90%-100% Color Change)
0-0.5 carat
$2,500 to $6,000/ct+
0.5-1 carat
$5,000 to $15,000/ct+
1 carat and up
up to $1,000,000/ct
Medium Red/Green (70%-89% Color Change)
0-0.5 carat
$1,500 to $6,000/ct
0.5-1 carat
$1,500 to $9,000/ct
1 carat and up
up to $60,000/ct
Slight Red/Green (30%-69% Color Change)
0.5-1 carat
$100 to $2,500/ct
1 carat and up
up to $6,000/ct
Cabochons – Strong Red/Green
0.3-1.5 carat
$500 to $2,500/ct
1.5 carat and up
up to $30,000/ct
Cat’s Eye – Strong Red/Green
All Sizes
$1,500 to $5,000/ct

Top Red/Green does not mean that the alexexandrite changes from Ruby Red to Green. It is well known that 99.99% of all alexandrite do not exhibit such a color change. Rather, the well known coloration is Purple/Green. The more Red in the gem in warm incandescent lighting the more valuable the stone.

Other Coloration in Alexandrite: Any color change that is not Green/Purple. The daylight coloration must be a shade of green, and the incandescent coloration a varient of red/purple such as rust, brownish, orangey.

Retail price is determined not only by the value of the gemstone or jewelry itself but also by market strength, geographical location, and other factors including, but not limited to; cut, proportioning, color-change, finish.


Imitations

True synthetic Alexandrite have been lab grown in Russia from Corundum for the past ten to twelve years. These stones are being marketed in some quarters as Russian Alexandrite, Natural Alexandrite, and even Natural Russian Alexandrite. As early as 1907 or 1908 synthetic Alexandrite were created from synthetic color-change sapphires colored by vanadium. Since these stones have been in circulation for several generations it is entirely possible for families to think that an heirloom Alexandrite is a true natural, mined, Alexandrite. Visitors to foreign countries buy heirloom Alexandrite thinking it is natural when, in fact, many times it is a cheap synthetic sapphire worth only a few dollars.

Hopefully this article has answered a few of your questions and you now have a better undestanding of what is important and how to buy Alexandrite.

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Color And Gemstones

Color is in the eye of the beholder. People see color differently depending on many factors including eye color, geographic location, atmospheric conditions, time of day and altitude. We will take the most common differences and explain how they affect the way we see color in gemstones.

Purkinje Shift

The Purkinje Shift is the name of the phenomena that states the human eye has the ability to perceive color according to the amount of light that hits it.

Dimmer light fires more of the blue wave length which means that blues will seem more vivid, while more intense light will fire more of the red wave lengths which makes red more vivid. So: blue sapphires are better seen in dimmer light and red rubies in brighter light. Alexandrite, having a Refractive Index (RI) between that of Emerald and Ruby, shows its green coloration best in bright, indirect light and the Red/Purple coloration best under dim incandescent light with warmer tones.

But wait- a second factor that affects how we see color is that different eye coloration (blue, brown, hazel etc) significantly sees color in differing spectral hues. Blue eyes can differentiate over 30% more hues than dark color eyes. Therefore, when a seller in Asia with dark eyes picks out a gem and describes its hue, a buyer in a European country who might have lighter or blue eyes will see the same gem in a different hue. Add in the retail buyer and the difference in perception of color can be even further from the original described hue.

A third factor in seeing coloration in gemstones is atmospheric condition. Hot, high, dry and sunny locations (such as Jaipur, India) shows intense coloration; and cool, low, humid and cloudy locations (such as the coast of Thailand) show coloration as darker and drabber.

Most agents send photographs of their gems to their purchaser. And most sellers take pictures and list the pictures on their websites or in eBay or in a paper advertisement. Another factor to color is the fact is that a camera ‘sees’ light and color as static and that computer monitors have different settings and basic color differences. This does not allow the color of a gem such as alexandrite (that has three axis and shows color a bit differently according to the axis) to be seen as ‘true’. Many color-change gems also will show part of the color change in a photograph if the photographer is not careful to filter out extraneous light sources.

So what can you, as a buyer do? If possible, look at the gem in person, rather than in a picture. If that is not possible, know your seller and check out the written description of the color of the gem and see how much it differs from the photo. You can email the seller and ask for a more detailed description of the color. It is important to remember that personal preference is primary if the gem is to be worn and enjoyed. In natural alexandrite, the standard for color is an intense Emerald Green in daylight and a change to rich Purple in incandescent or candle light- the more red tones in it the better.

At the present time, bluish-Green seems to be the most popular daylight color with a change to rich Purple the most popular incandescent coloration.

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Invest In Gemstones

Alexandrite has a history filled with my mystique and intrigue. One of the most rare of gems that are found on our planet, the value of fine quality natural Alexandrite keeps increasing in value each year. New deposits of this awesome gem have been found in India, Brazil, and several other countries. However, due to mining conditions and the natural inclusions usually found in Alexandrite, quality gems are still rare and hard to find. Khazargems, with family and close friendships around the world, is able to make available this gem for investment and personal enjoyment. Untreated colored gemstones also continue to increase in value as fewer and fewer gem quality stones are being found. Many mines have been overworked for years and are producing limited quantities of gem quality stones. Others have closed altogether due to natural disasters and being completly worked out.

Color-change gemstones are the rarest of gems. These gems display one color in daylight and fluorescent light and a different color in soft incandescent light and candlelight. Alexandrite, a form of crysoberyl, is the only natural gemstone to always have a color-change although there are other colored gemstones that can be found (although very rarely) with color-change.

Because of the scarcity of new deposits of high quality gemstone rough, lesser quality stones are being treated in new ways to bring them up to the look that people love and desire. Unfortunately, treated gemstones can become brittle and/or lose their color and luster due to time, climate, and other conditions. To the untrained eye, many new methods of gemstone treatment are difficult to detect. Even treatments that are permanent tend to decrease the value of a gemstone.

When buying a gemstone for investment, a gift, or for your own personal adornment, it is important to understand the four C’s- Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carats. Once these are known and you determine the amount of money you want to invest, go for quality rather than size. A smaller, high quality gemstone will increase more in value than a larger, lower qualtiy one of the same type.

Khazargems sells only 1st grade (top quality) natural Alexandrite and other colored gemstones. Your purchase will truly be an investment as well as a wonder of nature.

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Before Purchasing

So you have picked out your Alexandrite and are anxiously awaiting its arrival to your home. When you receive the parcel you excitedly open it expecting….

Different gem labs grade clarity in colored gemstones differently. Khazargems uses the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) Colored Gemstone Grading Scale. According to the GIA – perhaps the world’s best known and trusted Gem Association and Lab, there are THREE different charts for grading colored gemstones (and Diamonds). Perhaps the one that most jewelers are familiar with is the Type 1 Gemstone Chart, which includes the grading of Diamonds. The Chart that a gemstone is graded in is dependent on the physical characteristics of the majority of a particular gemstone; such as Alexandrite being graded as a Type 2.. The charts and the gemstones that fit into each are as follows:

GIA Type 1 Clarity Chart

VVSVery Very Slightly Included – Minute to not detectable
VSVery Slightly Included – minor
SI1Slightly Included – NOTICEABLE to obvious
SI2Slightly Included 2 – OBVIOUS to noticeable
I1Included 1 – Prominent – moderate effect on appearance or durability
I2Included 2 – Prominent – severe effect on appearance & durability
I3Included 3 – Prominent – severe effect on beauty, transparency & durability
Type 1 Gemstones are gemstones that are normally found to be clean.  This includes gems such as Amethyst, Aquamarine, Blue Topaz, Citrine, Kunzite, Tanzanite, Yellow Beryl, Yellow Chrysoberyl, Diamond.

GIA Type 2 Clarity Chart

VVSVery Very Slightly Included – Minor inclusions
VSVery Slightly Included – NOTICEABLE to Obvious
SI1Slightly Included – Noticeable to OBVIOUS
SI2Slightly Included 2 – Obvious to Prominent
I1Included 1 – Prominent – moderate effect on appearance or durability
I2Included 2 – Prominent – severe effect on appearance & durability
I3Included 3 – Prominent – severe effect on beauty, transparency & durability
Type 2 Colored Gemstones by their nature have natural inclusions. (Inclusions are the norm) This includes gems such as Andalusite, Crysoberyl, Alexandrite, Corundum (i.e. Sapphire and Ruby), Garnet, Peridot, Quartz, Amethyst, Citrine, Ametrine, Spinel, Tourmaline, Zircon.

GIA Type 3 Clarity Chart

VVSVery Very Slightly Included – NOTICEABLE to obvious
VSVery Slightly Included – Noticeable to OBVIOUS
SI1Slightly Included – OBVIOUS to prominent
SI2Slightly Included 2 – Obvious to PROMINENT
I1Included 1 – Prominent – considerable effect on appearance or durability
I2Included 2 – Prominent – severe effect on transparency or durability
I3Included 3 – Prominent – severe effect on beauty, transparency & durability
DeclassStones not transparent because of inclusions
Type 3 Colored Gemstones by their nature have many natural inclusions. (Heavily Included is the norm) This includes gems such as Emerald, red Beryl, Rubellite Tourmaline.

Other labs grade gemstone clarity as: Fine, Good, Fair, Poor; or Eye clean, Slightly Included, Moderately Included, Included. Some labs even describe clarity as: Transparent, Translucent, or Opaque.

Khazargems uses the GIA grading because it is more descriptive and has more divisions in the grading.

EXPLANATION OF COLOR IN GEMSTONES

It is difficult to describe coloration so that it means the same to all individuals. Even the pictures that we take are a) static- that is the light reflected through one plane because the gem is not moving, and b) monitors show color differently depending on the brand and how the brightness and other adjustments are set. Coloration in an Alexandrite is the gem’s MOST IMPORTANT characteristic in both the daylight coloration and the color change coloration. Khazargems describes color through:

 

Color is described in gems through:

  • Hue – the exact color in the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet); Intensity or Saturation- the brightness or dullness of the color.
  • Tone – how light or dark the stone is (how much black or white is present).
  • Distribution – the evenness of color throughout the stone (Zoning).

When reading a description of the color of a gem if there are mixed hues, the predominant hue is Capitalized and the lesser hue is lower case. For example: bluish-Green; Green is the predominant color and blue is the lesser (underlying) color.

 

Alexandrite is a Phenomenal Gem that is a gemstone that naturally displays a different color depending on the wavelengths of the light passing through the stone. The strength of the color change and the coloration of Alexandrite are the MOST IMPORTANT characteristics of this gem. Khazargems grades color change on the following scale:

 

Color is described by Hue. Where there are mixed hues, the predominant hue is Capitalized and the lesser hue is lower case. For example: bluish-GreenGreen is the predominant color and blue is the lesser (underlying) color. 

 

Color-change % approximately translates to:

95%Vivid – Easily Changes, Extremely Strong
75%Strong – Changes Easily
50%Moderate – Apparent Color Change
30%Weak – Subtle Color Change

 

BRILLIANCE in a gemstone is described by the amount, or percentage, of white light that reflects and refracts from a gemstone while looking down at the table (the top) of the gem from above. The greater the brilliance the more alive the gem appears. This is different from Sparkle, which is the myriad sparks of color that are seen when a gem is rotated in light.

 

Brilliance is described by the amount, or percentage, of light that reflects and refracts from a gemstone while looking down at the table of the gem from above. The greater the brilliance the more alive the gem appears. 

 

Brilliance (Approximatel)y Translates To:

ExcellentFull brilliance throughout the gem.
FineBrilliance through 90% of the gem.
GoodBrilliance through 70% of the gem.
FairBrilliance primarily on the edge of the gem.
PoorBrilliance seen only in strong light.

  

WINDOWING – most Alexandrite are cut by native gem cutters that have been taught from father to son for generations. Since Alexandrite is such a rare gemstone and is found in smaller crystal size, the rough is cut with the least waste to create the largest gemstone possible. A majority of Alexandrite that is faceted in the Oval shape will have windows where the faceting under the gem does not reflect the light back up to viewer in a dispersal pattern. In the following gems windowing can be viewed in the center of the stone:

Large Window

Medium Window

Small Window

Alexandrite that have beautifully saturated coloration and strong color change with little or no windowing command a premium in pricing since a piece of rough that can be faceted into a One Carat Oval Alexandrite with windowing will generally be about 0.65 carat to 0.75 carat if cut without windowing.

Size – The Alexandrite you receive is NOT going to be the size you see on your computer monitor. Khazargems takes pictures of the gemstone or jewelry next to a millimeter ruler to help you see the size. Khazargems also gives the dimensions of the gem inmillimeters (mm). Millimeters are not inches! One inch equals 25.5mm. A gemstone that is 8mm x 6.5mm will equal 5/16 inches x 1/4 inches approximately. We measure in millimeters because it is the common measurement of all major gem labs and mines for gemstones.

Viewing YOUR Alexaxdrite – Now that you know what to expect when you open your parcel to view your Alexandrite, also know that to show the best GREEN color, take the gem outside and view it. To see the best color change look under low wattage incandescent lighting (not the “blue” bright white bulbs). Rotate your Alexandrite to get the most impact from all the facets and axis.

Mixed lighting sources can create mixed coloration from greenish bluish grey to purple gray lavender with flashes of red, violet, blue, green.

Experiment and you will find that your Alexandrite has its own unique identity depending on the light it is in and how it is viewed. These are your Alexandrite’s identifying characteristics and are individual to each stone. Enjoy your incredible wonder of nature!!!

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An Historical History Of Alexandrite

Formed millions of years ago when the earth was a molten mass, one of the most rare of gems, natural Alexandrite has a mysterious and sinuous history woven through the mystique of explorers, czars, princesses and emperors.

Hidden for millennium deep within the earth’s crust, Alexandrite first came to light in the 19th century. Discovered by a now unknown farmer in the outposts of the Urals, a single glowing green crystal was found under the roots of a stunted tree. This crystal was thought to be an emerald- queen of the empire’s jewels. Other glowing crystals were discovered in the same region and hidden in the Empress Ekaterina’s private jewel vaults. Unknown to her, a lowly caretaker of the royal vaults sold some of these glowing crystals at a high price to a visiting German Prince who had them cut and set into magnificent settings for his wife, the Princess. The Princess bejeweled herself with her Alexandrite ring, Alexandrite earrings, natural Alexandrite and white gold tiara, and a many Alexandrite and diamond bejeweled necklace. All the Alexandrite gemstones were set in glorious settings.

On a later date in the middle of the 19th century, the Princess, wearing her Alexandrite jewelry, and the Empress met at a grand ball. Happenstance declared itself as the Empress admired the breathtaking jewels of the Princess, and the Princess declared they were from Russia, with love, from the Prince. It was noticed, that in the torchlight, the jewels glowed a purple red.

Seething with anger that these glowing jewels were not hers, the Empress sent envoys to her Royal Jewel Vaults and discovered more of these gems hidden away in the recesses of the vault. The caretaker was imprisoned and executed, the rest of the ‘Emerald’s were brought out to light where it was discovered that they too changed from a cool, Mediterranean blue-green in the light of the day, to a hot, smoldering purple red in torchlight.

Alexander Nikolayevich (1818-1881) became Emperor of all Imperial Russia in the middle of the 19th century suceeding Ekaterina. His sweeping reforms earned him the love of the people and the hate of the nobility. Alexander sold Alaska and the Aleutian Islands to the United States and by doing so earned the enmity of revolutionary students- one of whom threw a bomb that mortally wounded the Czar.

Born in the middle 1800’s, Nils Adolf Erik Nordenskjold was a Finnish-Swedish mineralogist and world famous explorer of the Northeast Passage. He collected rare and unusual minerals from Finland and Russia. Forced from his homeland, Finland, for his political views, he explored the Artic for the Swedish and pushed far into northern icey waters. During the last ten years of his life he wrote profusely about his travels and finds. It was at this time, late in the 19th century and the cusp of the 20th century, that he classified the mysterious color changing gem from Russia and named it after the Emperor he admired and who had died for the cause of his country: Czar Alexander II.

Steeped in mystery, Alexandrite continues to mystify and capture the attention of royalty, scientists, gemologists, and gem lovers alike. Pushed through alluvial molten rock over tens of thousands of years Alexandrite contains iron and titanium as well as the elements of chromium and beryllium: a combination of chemical elements that had not been found together before. Alexandrite’s unique optical qualities as well as its hardness (8.5 Mohs) has made it the most sought after gem in the world.

Natural Alexandrite is still making its mark in history: Alexandrite is the Birthstone of June, placed in the crowns of Royalty around the world, is attributed to health and strength, and is the colors of Imperial Russia. Alexandrite is now mined in India, Brazil, Africa and the far east and the alexandrite of each mine has its own unique characteristics.

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