How rare is Alexandrite? It’s very rare to find a stone five carats or more with strong color change. Optimum color ranges from a rich bluish-green in sunlight to a gorgeous red-purple or purple-red under incandescent light. Take a look at the 17.08 carat Whitney Alexandrite now in the Smithsonian.
Gifted to the Smithsonian by Coralyn Wright Whitney, this is one of the finest examples of Alexandrite. Sadly we don’t know much about its history other than the fact that it emerged from the Hematita Mine in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Exactly when, we don’t know. Its remarkable size and color make it almost impossibly rare. Whitney herself was a research professor at the University of Washington. On retirement, she pursued her childhood passion for rock hunting going so far as to get professional degrees from GIA. As you can imagine, she was well aware of this Alexandrite’s value.
The 65.70 Carat Alexandrite
I’ve read in multiple sources that the Natural History Museum in London, England, is home to the 65.70 carat Alexandrite shown on right (accompanied by two smaller stones), one of the largest faceted Alexandrites of Sri Lankan origin. However, I can find no mention of the stone on the Natural History Museum website. It appears a bright olive green in sunlight and a brownish red in the evening. Many Alexandrites from Sri Lanka have less saturation which makes the color change less intense. Regardless, this is a highly valuable stone wherever it resides.
The Largest Faceted Alexandrite in the Guinness World Records
I happened on this record quite by chance. Somewhere in Japan, a wealthy person or fantastically fortunate rock hound owns a faceted Alexandrite weighing 141.92 carats and measuring 34.42 x 27.38 x 15.00 mm (1.35 x 1.07 x 0.59 inches). Keep in mind that the largest Alexandrite to emerge from Russia was 30 carats, and most stones weigh less than a carat. I wish I could find an image of this Alexandrite to share, but I’ve had no luck. We have no idea about the stone’s origin or where and how the owner acquired it. If it has excellent color, its value would exceed $100 million dollars.
Last week I spent a couple of hours in our Diamonds & Gemstones department taking a look at our new Black Box Gemstone® Alexandrites. They’re impressive. We have five stones — oval and cushion — over 2.0 carats (one oval is 3.19 carats) with strong to medium strong color change. We also have sizes close to or larger than 1.0 carat in several shapes including a 1.41 heart-shaped stone.
What would they look like in settings?
I got so caught up looking at the Alexandrite that I decided to digitally set several in flexible 3C designs*. Keep in mind that these images don’t show the actual stone. I used an approximate size and included the stone number. Enjoy!
*We created flexible 3C designs for calibrated sizes. Each setting allows for some size variation, but if the stone’s measurements lie outside that, the design can be modified by our CAD/CAM Services or your CounterSketch® design technology.
Have you created designs for stunning Alexandrites? Please share your story with us.