Complementing colors lend brilliance to any ensemble. Beautifully crafted from rhodium over 14K gold, this ring boasts three segments of green alexandrite with black rhodium accents.
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One of the most fascinating gemstones throughout history is alexandrite. With a hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs Scale, it is a type of chrysoberyl that appears to be different colors, depending on whether it is viewed in natural or artificial light. Alexandrite appears to be red when seen in incandescent light, while appearing blue to green when seen in fluorescent light or daylight. The more dramatic and complete the shift from red to green, without the bleeding of brown from one color to the next, the more rare and valuable the stone.
Alexandrite has a distinguished and glamorous past. In 1830, it was discovered in an emerald mine in the Ural Mountains of Czarist Russia. Since the stone reflected the old Russian imperial colors of red and green, it was named in honor of Czar Alexander II on his birthday and supposedly brought good luck.
As it was well-loved by the Russian master jewelers, alexandrite can be found in jewels of the period. Master gemologist George Kunz of Tiffany was a fan of the stone and the company produced many rings featuring fine alexandrite in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Some Victorian jewelry from England features sets of small alexandrite, as well.
Alexandrite is extremely rare in fine qualities. The original source in Russia's Ural Mountains has long since closed after producing for only a few decades, and only a few stones can be found on the market today. Alexandrite with a certificate of Russian origin is still particularly valued in the trade. Some alexandrite is found in Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Brazil, but very little shows a dramatic color change.
For many years, alexandrite was almost impossible to find because there was so little available. Then in 1987, a new find of alexandrite was made in Brazil at a locality called Hematita. The Hematita alexandrite shows a striking and attractive color change from raspberry red to bluish green. Although alexandrite remains extremely rare and expensive, the production of a limited amount of new material means a new generation of jewelers and collectors has been exposed to this beautiful gemstone, creating an upsurge in popularity and demand. It is now even celebrated as the traditional 55th wedding anniversary stone. But because of the rarity of this gemstone, large sizes command very high premiums.