Thursday, May 21, 2009
You may have never met, but let me introduce you to one of the most expensive gemstones commercially available – Alexandrite. Not only can top quality alexandrite sell for over $100,000 a carat.
This beauty is remarkable for its seemingly magical colour changing capabilities - especially higher end stones - from an emerald green to a plum red.
A variety of chrysoberyl, (derived the Greek chrysos and beryllos meaning 'a gold-white spar' and not to be confused with beryl - those are emeralds and aquamarines to name a few) alexandrite is the result of a small scale replacement of aluminum by chromium oxide, a process which results in its stunning colour change. Green by daylight and red by incandescent - it's like having two stones in one.
This stone apparently acquired its name when Finnish mineralogist Nils Gustaf Nordenskiol discovered the gem upon the sixteenth birthday of the future Tsar, Alexander II of Russia.
The most stunning examples still come from Russia, specifically the Ural Mountains... but don't be fooled the fakers still run rife. Some lab-grown (synthetic) stones are actually corundum lanced with various chemicals such as vanadium or colour-changing spinel. Like always folks, if one of the most expensive stones is selling for a super deal..... too good to be true.
Recently we had a beautiful 1.05ct. alexandrite come through the shop, and honestly... what photos can't capture. As the stone dazzles, flecks of red, green, and plum compete for your attention in the most breath-taking way.
Between you and me... diamonds are soooo boring in comparison!