Monday 27 March 2017

Genuine Alexandrite

Many people who have either inherited or bought a ring that is purported to be an Alexandrite OR a Russian Alexandrite end up disappointed. They usually have synthetic corundum laced with vanadium to produce the colour changing properties.

Even from the turn of the century synthetic corundum was used in place of genuine gemstones. The science of imitating Alexandrite has advanced and flux grown Alexandrite is very common. Only 2,000 kilos of rough were mined in the Urals in the 1800s. Much of this was lost in the faceting process, leaving precious few genuine gems.

55.88ct Synthetic Alexandrite
Since the original find in Russia, other sources of Alexandrite have been found in Brazil, India, Madagascar, Tanzania, Australia and Myanmar. None of these finds have been long lived or plentiful. In 1987 in Brazil there was a find at Minas Gerais that lasted all of 4 months.

Synthetic Alexandrite, synthetic Amethyst, synthetic Tanzanite
The value of Alexandrite is primarily in the strength of colour change, the size, the clarity and location (unless verified Russian) doesn’t play a part.

A fine Alexandrite is always going to fetch top dollar and that’s the main reason why the gem is very often mis-sold.