The Russian Czar Alexander II (1818-1881) has the distinction of having his name on this rare gemstone. The very first crystals were discovered in April 1834 in the emerald mines near the Tokovaya River in the Ural Mountains.
The discovery was made on the same day the future Czar of Russia came of age. Because the stone shows both read and green, the principal colors of old Imperial Russia, it became the national stone if Czarist Russia.
George Frederick Kunz (1856-1932), master gemologist for Tiffany’s, produced some beautiful series of rings and platinum ensembles at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 30th century. This lovely stone was also used in Victorian jewelry produced in England.
The distinctive feature about this stone is its ability to change color. In daylight Alexandrite appears green or bluish-green but when brought into incandescent light it will turn to a soft shade of red, purplish-red or raspberry red. Because of its ability to change colors Alexandrite is one of the most valuable gemstones of all!
Scarcity is another reason for its high value. Its formation required specific geological conditions and millions of years to form.
The deposits of Alexandrite in the Urals have been exhausted. Today it is found mainly in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. Minor deposits have been found in Burma, Brazil, Madagascar, and Tasmania.
The largest stone of 1876ct was found in Sri Lanka. The largest cut stone weighs 66ct and is in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.