From the depths of St Petersburg’s vaults, in one of the richest collections of jewelry of the last 300 years, and the wonderful object’s d’art created by Peter Carl Fabergé, one gemstone stands out among all the Russian Tsars’ treasures, shrouded in mystery and lore; this is alexandrite.
Alexandrite is a chromium colored variety of chrysoberyl, one of the group that also includes cat’s eye. It is very rare and now only found in deposits in Brazil, Madagascar, Tanzania and Sri Lanka. Clean stones are seldom over 3 carats. They are exceptionally valuable and really only collected by true connoisseurs.
This fascinating gemstone is closely linked to Imperial Russia’s last years. It was actually named in honor of Alexander II after its discovery in emerald mines in the Ural Mountains in April 1834, on the very day the future Tsar came of age. Alexandrite’s most magical feature is that it changes from a brilliant green in daylight to a beautiful red in artificial light, amazingly representing Imperial Russia’s colors. This color-change can be so distinct that it really has been attributed to magic. Certainly it fired everyone’s imagination as the only stone that possessed both Royal colors at the same time. And alexandrite’s mystique is magnified by the fact that its green/red color-change has actually been named the “Alexandrite Effect”.
But alexandrite is not exclusive to Romanov princesses. Its fascinating duality, said to bring its owner good fortune and love, will suit itself to any one of us; chameleon like it will change its color with the light to suit the wearer’s enigmatic nature. DM