NOTE : If you would like only the gemstone(s), and not the setting, we can dismount the gemstone and offer you the gemstone(s) without the setting. Just let us know, and yes, well discount the price by the cost of the setting. 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 are three very beautiful, brilliant, rare, natural green (color change) alexandrite gemstones from the Ural Mountains of Russia.All three gemstones were hand crafted and faceted by a 19th century Russian artisan, part of an 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 marquise-cut center stone gemstone is not absolutely flawless. However to the unaided eye of the casual admirer eye it is clean and without discernible blemish. If you have very sharp vision and scrutinize the gemstone intently, you may be able to just barely discern one or two blemishes composed of colorless crystalline material. Specifically, if you examine the gemstone under a jeweler's loupe (or in the accompanying photo enlargements), you can see from some angles of view a blemish which looks perhaps like a very fine scratch but is actually a very thin seam of colorless crystalline material. There is also a finely dispersed, faint sprinkling of the same colorless crystalline material throughout which again, cannot be discerned with the naked eye, but can be made out with a loupe or in these photo enlargements. It is not at all uncommon for natural alexandrite to have very fine colorless crystalline material within the gemstone, and this gemstone is no exception, as it is obvious from looking at these photo enlargements that this gemstone possesses a few blemishes composed of such colorless crystalline material. Again, this is not really discernible with the unaided eye, and to make up for it, the gemstone is a nice medium green with good color change qualities.
The two accent stones are likewise handcrafted natural alexandrite gemstones from the Ural Mountains of Russia. They were as well hand crafted and faceted by a 19th century Russian artisan. The faceted cut is a coarse precursor to what eventually became known in the industry as a brilliant cut round, the contemporary finish generally given to round diamonds.
Though we're not trying to intimate that the two accent stones are absolutely flawless, to the eye at least the gemstones are clean and without discernible blemish. All three gemstones are greenwhen they are so inclined, at least. The color under most lighting conditions is the classic alexandrite green, reminiscent of both peridot and emerald. However under strong white light, the stones magically transform themselves into a hue ranging from rose-violet to violet-blue. No matter what light source we used to image these gemstones, whether scanner or camera, they turned color.In hand, under most lighting conditions, they are most assuredly green. 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 scanner turned this precious gemstone a rose-violet, a decent digital camera showed the color as violet-blue. All of these pictures are of the same gemstone! 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. The green images were produced using a filter which suppresses the normal color change so as to show you the normal color of the gemstones.
But the remaining images which were produced with a high definition scanner and a high quality Nikon digital camera give more detail and show you what the gemstones look like when fully illuminated. These are gorgeous gemstones, full of fire and sparkle, vibrant, and possessing good clarity and color. They are truly special little gemstones, quite rare. For those who do not know, 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 inferior alexandrite have been found outside of the Ural Mountains in recent years. Given the rarity of the gemstone, and the enormous demand, reasonably good specimens 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. The setting is of contemporary origin.
It is a high quality setting manufactured by one of the USAs 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. 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. As might be expected under magnification the gemstones show the unmistakable, hallmark characteristics of having been hand crafted.
The coarseness of the 19th century finish is considered appealing to most gemstone aficionados, and is not considered a detriment, or detract from the value of such gemstones. 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 todays computer controlled machine produced gemstones that approach flawlessness in a perfect finish, the cut and finish of handcrafted gemstones like these is the legacy of an artisan who lived two centuries ago. Handcrafted though they may be the gemstones has great luster and sparkle, and to the eye is completely transparent.
However none of the three are absolutely flawless. The two accent stones are to the without discernible blemish. The blemishes the center marquise-cut gemstone possesses are are virtually invisible to the naked eye, and to use trade jargon the gemstone can be characterized as "near eye clean" to the stingy, uncharitable critic, or even eye clean to the casual admirer. However magnified as it is in the accompanying photo enlargements you can see slight blemishes within the stone. Of course much the same may said about almost any natural gemstone, and in particular with regard to natural alexandrite.
An absolutely flawless gemstone simply is not the rule in nature. Most absolutely flawless gemstones will upon close examination be revealed to be synthetic. You might also notice under magnification occasional irregularities in the cut and finish. Naturally these characteristics are not only expected of hand-finished gemstones, you must also consider that two centuries ago the mining techniques prevalent did not allow the ultra deep mining operations which are so common today.Keep in mind that two centuries ago mankind was more or less limited to surface deposits or near surface deposits of gemstones. Higher quality gemstones which today are routinely mined from beneath hundreds of meters, even kilometers beneath the earth's surface, were simply inaccessible then. It is precisely for these reasons antique 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. For most, the unique nature and character of antique gemstones such as this more than makes up for minor blemishes within and cutting imperfections inherent in antique, handcrafted gemstones which by and large, 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 terrorists 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 owners fortune and social position. 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. 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. 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. 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, in recent years newly-mined alexandrite has 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 (and only recently) afforded such treatment. The treatment is a recent development, and was not used on gemstones produced in the nineteenth century. 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. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers.
Please ask for a rate quotation. We travel to Russia each year seeking antique gemstones and jewelry from one of the globes most prolific gemstone producing and cutting centers, the area between Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg, Russia.From all corners of Siberia, as well as from India, Ceylon, Burma and Siam, gemstones have for centuries gone to Yekaterinburg where they have been cut and incorporated into the fabulous jewelry for which the Czars and the royal families of Europe were famous for. My wife grew up and received a university education in the Southern Urals of Russia, just a few hours away from the mountains of Siberia, where alexandrite, diamond, emerald, sapphire, chrysoberyl, topaz, demantoid garnet, and many other rare and precious gemstones are produced. Though perhaps difficult to find in the USA, antique gemstones are commonly unmounted from old, broken settings the gold reused the gemstones recut and reset. Before these gorgeous antique gemstones are recut, we try to acquire the best of them in their original, antique, hand-finished state most of them centuries old.
We believe that the work created by these long-gone master artisans is worth protecting and preserving rather than destroying this heritage of antique gemstones by recutting the original work out of existence. That by preserving their work, in a sense, we are preserving their lives and the legacy they left for modern times.
Far better to appreciate their craft than to destroy it with modern cutting. Not everyone agrees fully 95% or more of the antique gemstones which come into these marketplaces are recut, and the heritage of the past lost.Our interest in the fabulous history of Russian gemstones and the fabulous jewelry of the Czars led to further education and contacts in India, Ceylon, and Siam, other ancient centers of gemstone production and finishing. We have a number of helpers (family members, friends, and colleagues) in Russia and in India who act as eyes and ears for us year-round, and in reciprocity we donate a portion of our revenues to support educational institutions in Russia and India. These are always offered clearly labeled as contemporary, and not antiques just to avoid confusion. The item "Ring Alexandrite Antique 19thC Russia Natural ¼ct+ Color-Change Genuine Handcut" is in sale since Thursday, July 20, 2017. This item is in the category "Jewelry & Watches\Vintage & Antique Jewelry\Fine\Victorian, Edwardian 1837-1910\Rings". The seller is "ancientgifts" and is located in Lummi Island, Washington. This item can be shipped worldwide.