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Russian Handcrafted Natural Tanzanian Purple - Pink Color Change Alexandrite 925 #62059

Cost: $ 169.99

High Quality Genuine Natural Russian Handcrafted Tanzanian Purple to Pink Color Change Faceted Round Cut Alexandrite Precious Gemstone.  Contemporary High Quality Sterling Silver Ring (Size 7 – Resizing Available).

CLASSIFICATION:  Round Cut Faceted Alexandrite Gemstone.

ORIGIN:  Tanzania; Handcrafted in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

SIZE:  Diameter:  3mm.  Thickness (Depth):  2 1/2mm.  All measurements approximate.

WEIGHT:  Approximately 0.19 carats.

NOTE:  Resizing is available.  If you would prefer a different setting style, odds are we have many different setting styles available which would fit this stone(s) which could be substituted for no or very little additional cost.  14kt solid gold settings are also available. Write us for pictures and prices. 

NOTE:  If you would like only the gemstone, and not the setting, we can dismount the gemstone and offer you the gemstone without the setting.  Just let us know, and yes, we’ll discount the price by the cost of the setting.

Beware!  The vast majority of alexandrite offered in the USA is synthetic.  The American Gemological Institute estimates that less than 1 in every 100,000 Americans has ever even seen genuine, natural alexandrite.  Here is a very beautiful, brilliant, rare, natural purple to pink (color change) alexandrite gemstone which originated in Tanzania.  The gemstone was hand crafted and faceted by a Russian artisan, following in the footsteps of a centuries-old heritage renown for the production of the elaborate gemstones and jewelry of the Czars of Medieval, Renaissance, and Victorian Russia.  As you can see in these photo enlargements, the gemstone is absolutely clean to the unaided eye.  Though in a 30x microscope it is possible to discern some small colorless crystals and rutile particles within the gemstone (by the way establishing that it is certainly natural), even in the accompanying photo enlargements it is not possible to discern any blemishes.  The gemstone may be conservatively described as “eye clean”.

The gemstone is purple in color, when it is so inclined, at least.  This is the color you will observe when the gemstone is outdoors or under fluorescent lighting.   However under strong indoor (incandescent) light, indoors for instance, the stone magically transform itself into a bright raspberry-pink hue.  No matter what light source we used to image this gemstone, whether scanner or camera, it turned color.  In hand, out of doors, it is most assuredly purple.  But the charm of these remarkable gemstones, at least in the higher qualities, is the dramatic color change they are capable of.  And true to its reputation, the light of the camera turned this precious gemstone neon pink!  The color depends upon the light source (color spectrum) and intensity/brightness.  This remarkable gemstone is capable of all of those colors, a true chameleon, quite an extraordinary precious gemstone.

This fascinating and colorful gemstone originated in Tanzania, and was hand crafted into this sparkling faceted "trillion" cut gemstone in Yekaterinburg, Russia, the fabled land of the incredibly sophisticated, sumptuous gemstones and jewelry of the Czars.  It is a gorgeous gemstone, full of fire and sparkle`, vibrant, and possessing good clarity and color.  It is truly a special gemstone, quite rare.  The ring setting is of contemporary origin.  It is a high quality setting manufactured by one of the USA’s leading semi-custom mount producers.  It is constructed of solid sterling silver.  We do have the ability to have the ring sent out for resizing if requested.  There are many other ring styles available, if you would like to see them, just contact us, we would be happy to share them with you (email us for pictures).  Most other setting styles in sterling silver are available at no additional cost. Additionally, if preferred, this mounting (as well as a wide variety of ring settings in other appealing styles) are also available in 14kt solid gold.

Most alexandrite, as you might know, generally show green under fluorescent or sun light, then change to red or purple (or some derivative shade) under incandescent or candle light.  However some alexandrite (principally from Tanzania) has been found, as this gemstone, to exhibit a purple color which changes to a vivid, almost neon pink under incandescent lighting.  This gemstone is so clean, and the colors so uncommon and so vivid, that we weren’t entirely confident that it was natural…until we tested it and found unmistakable evidence that it was indeed natural alexandrite (their refractive index, specific gravity, etc., and the presence of minute colorless crystals and rutile particles when examined in a microscope).  It is truly a gorgeous gemstone! 

For those who do not know, Russian alexandrite was only produced for about fifteen years during Czarist (Imperial Russia), in the nineteenth century, before the only known mine of any significance played out.  For over a hundred years the sole source of alexandrite was "recycled" Russian jewelry.  Russian alexandrite is still considered to be the world's best, though very small deposits of alexandrite have been found outside of the Ural Mountains in recent years principally in Brazil, Africa, India and Ceylon.  Though generally inferior to Russian alexandrite, nonetheless there are still some exceptional specimens such as this, which have origins outside Russia.  Given the rarity of the gemstone, and the enormous demand, reasonably good specimens of Alexandrite from anywhere in the world are hard to find.  Flawless or near flawless specimens of any significant size have almost resulted in duels between buyers vying for the privilege of being a selected purchaser.

As might be expected under magnification the gemstone shows the unmistakable, hallmark characteristics of having been hand crafted.  The coarseness of the antique, handcrafted finish is considered desirable to most gemstone aficionados, and is not considered a detriment, or detract from the value of a gemstone.  These characteristics are not only expected of hand-finished gemstones, many believe that such antique hand-crafted gemstones possess much greater character and appeal than today's mass-produced, laser-cut gemstones.  Unlike today’s computer controlled machine produced gemstones that approach flawlessness in a perfect finish, the cut and finish of an antique, handcrafted gemstone such as this is the legacy of an artisan who lived two centuries ago.

Handcrafted though they may be the gemstones possess great luster and sparkle, and to the eye are completely transparent, but one cannot say with absolute certainty that they are absolutely flawless.  True, any blemishes they possess are not visible to the naked eye, and even when magnified as in the accompanying photo enlargements there are no discernible flaws.  However we hesitate to use the word “flawless”, as sooner or later blemishes will show up at higher levels of magnification with almost every antique gemstone of natural origin.  An absolutely flawless gemstone is very rare in nature (and usually turns out to be synthetic).  However to use trade jargon the gemstones can be characterized as "eye clean".

To the eye they are indeed flawless, nonetheless close examination with a jeweler’s loupe will reveal occasional slight irregularities in the faceting and finish.  Of course these characteristics are to be expected of antique, hand-finished gemstones.  It is precisely for these reasons antique, natural gemstones must be appreciated as antiques first, gemstones second. The relatively superlative quality of contemporary gemstones routinely mined from deep beneath the earth's surface today were simply not accessible two centuries ago, or at least, only rarely so.  However for most, the unique nature and character of these antique gemstones more than makes up for any minute blemishes found within the gemstones, as well as the cutting irregularities common to handcrafted gemstones, all of which are by and large (if at all) are only visible under magnification.

ALEXANDRITE HISTORY:  Alexandrite is known as a "color change" gemstone.  It is emerald green in daylight or under fluorescent lighting, and a purplish red or blue under incandescent lighting, candlelight, or twilight.  It belongs to the chrysoberyl family of gems, and one of the most extraordinary types is a cats-eye variety of alexandrite, possessing a remarkably prominent "cat's eye".   Most sources credit the discovery of this very unique gemstone to the year 1830 on the birthday of Prince (and ultimately Czar) Alexander II in the Ural Mountains of Russia, near the city of Ekaterinburg.  In celebration of Prince Alexander's coming-of-age, this remarkable gemstone was named after him.  Alexandrite was popular in Imperial Russia both with the royal family and the wealthy elite, both because of its association with the Czar, and because red and green were the colors of the Russian Empire (and its flag).

However this most rare stone did not bring to Alexander the good fortune it is now generally associated with.  Upon ascending to the throne of Russia, Alexander II began long-awaited reforms, including abolishing serfdom, a deed that earned him the name of “The Liberator”. But a terrorist’s bomb ended his life.   In memoriam of the monarch who passed away so prematurely, many people in Russia started to wear alexandrite jewelry. It was considered to be the symbol of loyalty to the throne and compassion towards the victims of the revolutionary terror, but at the same time, it said a lot about the owner’s fortune and social position. Even in those times, it was quite difficult to buy an alexandrite ring. According to Leskov, “there were people who made quite an effort to find an alexandrite, and more often, they failed than succeeded.”

Alexandrite is well known to be an extremely scarce and very costly gem. The quality of color change with different illumination is the primary basis for its quality and price. According to the Gemstone Institute of America (“GIA”), no more than one person out of 100,000 has ever seen a natural alexandrite gemstone, although synthetic alexandrite is common and widely available.  It is likely that if you read the fine print of 99% of the Alexandrite offered at retail jewelers, you will find it to be "laboratory produced" - synthetic.  If there is a huge color change from a very intense green to a very intense red/purple, you can be 99.9% sure that both the color change and the gemstone itself is synthetic.  The shift in color of natural gemstones is generally much more subtle.  Kind of like the difference in taste between fruit juice and Kool-Aide.  One is subtle and natural, the other brassy and synthetic.

However even as an artificially grown stone, alexandrite often commands a retail price of $300.00 to $500.00 per carat.  Of course, alexandrite can be found in Russian jewelry of the imperial era, as it was well loved by the Russian master jewelers.  Master gemologist George Kunz of Tiffany was a fan of alexandrite, and the company produced many rings featuring fine alexandrite in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, including some set in platinum from the twenties.  Some Victorian jewelry from England featured sets of small alexandrite.  However 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 Russian market today.

In the past few decades some very small deposits of alexandrite have been discovered in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, India, and Mozambique.  However the Brazilian gemstones tend to have washed out colors when cut, and the African and Celanese sources produce very dark, not brightly colored gemstones.  The alexandrite from India tends to be very low quality, with limited color change.  The cut alexandrite originating from Russia is usually "harvested" from vintage jewelry. For over a century this source of "recycled" gemstones from Russia was the only source of Alexandrite, and for many years, alexandrite was almost impossible to find because there was so little available.  Russian Alexandrite remains elusive.  A few specimens are still found from time-to-time in the Ural Mountains of Russia, and are sometimes available as an unset stone, but it is extremely rare in fine qualities.  Stones over 5 carats are almost unknown, though the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., owns a 66 carat specimen, which is believed to be the largest cut alexandrite in existence.

The colors within alexandrite are due to trace amounts of the mineral impurities iron, titanium, and chromium (and rarely vanadium is also present). As is the case with emerald, the chromium element both giveth and taketh away.  While chromium is responsible both for the green color as well as the color change characteristics of alexandrite, chromium also causes alexandrite (like emerald and ruby) to be characterized by fissures and fractures within the gemstone.  Just as emerald is treated under high pressure with oil, alexandrite is  is oftentimes similarly treated under high pressure with a fluxing agent such as resin, wax, or borax.

The tiny crevasses and fractures are then filled with this material under high pressure, and the treatment is generally very difficult to detect outside of the laboratory.   However whereas emerald (and ruby) are routinely treated, alexandrite is only occasionally afforded such treatment.  In Russia alexandrite is thought to bring luck, good fortune and love, and also to allow the wearer to foresee danger.  It is also believed to encourage romance, and to strengthen intuition, creativity, and imagination.  Alexandrite is also believed to be beneficial in the treatment of leukemia.  On the metaphysical plane, alexandrite is believed useful in reinforcing one's self esteem and balancing positive and negative energy.



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