What is an Alexandrite?

One of the Rarest Gemstones in the world.

Alexandrite by definition is a color-change variety of chrysoberyl

According to GIA, its finest dual colors are a vivid grass green in daylight and fluorescent light, and an intense raspberry red in incandescent light.

Many modern sources frequently use  “emerald by day, ruby by night.”  to romanticize its color.

However, this descriptor is limited to the rarest color it appears in–red.

 

In fact, in terms of rarity, Alexandrite may well outrank nearly all other known gemstones in terms of scarcity.

Most quality Alexandrites are not readily available anywhere.

The more apparent color change, the more valuable the Alexandrite.

While Alexandrites come from many parts of the world, true quality ones share certain characteristics.

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]

Gem Photographer Tino Hammid’s depiction of Alexandrite

The Whitney Alexandrite

 

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]Catalog number G10613, the 17.08-carat Whitney Alexandrite from the National Gem Collection at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

This composite image shows how the gem appears to change color under different light sources: fluorescent on the left and tungsten on the right.
 
The Whitney Alexandrite is a cushion-cut stone originally from the Hematita Mine in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
It was gifted to the National Gem Collection by Coralyn Wright Whitney.
One of the finest Brazilian Alexandrites, The “Whitney Alexandrite” can be found at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Weight: 17.08 carats. Estimated Value: Unknown.

Its finest dual colors are a bluish-green in daylight and fluorescent light, and an intense purple, pink, or red in incandescent light.

Alexandrite: A Long Lost Gem

Of the world’s most prized gems, alexandrite is one of the most recently discovered.

This valuable chrysoberyl variety was first discovered in 1830 by miners in the Ural Mountains of Russia.

Color change is the defining characteristic that distinguishes alexandrite from other chrysoberyl varieties.

While other minerals—can display color change, few show such vivid saturated color change as fine alexandrite.

For this reason, the color-change phenomenon itself is called “the alexandrite effect.”

Russian Origins

Long gone are the days of the Alexandrite from Russia.

Despite getting its name from one of Russia’s historic leaders, it is time to appreciate this stone’s natural beauty over its nostalgic roots.

Although the journey may have begun in Russia, it may have ended there too.

Today, most, if not all, Alexandrites you might see in jewelry do not come from Russia.

This point must be reiterated: Russian Alexandrites are from a time that has passed.

Still curious to see one? Take a trip to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Multicolor Delight

In addition to its Russian association, if you have ever googled Alexandrite, almost inevitably you will find a website describing it as “Emerald by day, Ruby by night.”

However, contrary to this cliché, the reality is that such dramatic color shift is the rarest type you can find according to one lead gemologist at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

Although we often see references to Alexandrite changing from a green to red, in reality this type of color change in Alexandrite is so rare as to be non-existent.

The History Of Alexandrites

In 1834, Finnish Mineralogist Nils Gustaf Nordenskjold, discovered a green stone in what he believed to be an emerald mine in the Ural Mountains of Imperial Russia.

In a fortuitous chain of events, he examined the stone under candlelight, and noticed a sudden change in color.

This could not be the classic emerald he thought he was examining.

The stone also had different mineralogical qualities.

He concluded that the stone was a new species of gemstone.

He named it Alexandrite.

A tribute and honor of the Russian Tzar at the time, Alexandrite’s discovery in Russia had significant cultural impact on the country.

The green and red colors of the stone coincidentally matched the Imperial Russian flag.

 

Ironically, today it is nearly impossible to find any Alexandrites that come from Russia.

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]

Alexander II- Alexandrite Named in his Honor. Image Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Alexandrite Auction History

Notable Alexandrites Sold at Christie’s Auction House

Over the years, some of the largest known Alexandrites have been sold at the Christie’s Auction.

Here are some of the most notable ones:

One of the largest Alexandrites from Brazil sold over 10 years ago.

In October 2007, Magnificent Jewels Auction New York, at a whopping 19.05 carats, The Alexandrite and Diamond Ring sold for $959,400.

That comes out to over $50K Per Carat!  

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]
Brazilian Alexandrite 19.05 carats sold by Christie's Auction House
, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]
Brazilian Alexandrite 15.58 carats sold by Christie's Auction House

One of the most expensive Alexandrites from Sri Lanka was sold for at the Magnificent Jewels New York Auction for $557,000.00.

At 18.23 carats, the price would be just over $30,000 per carat.

The stone included a supplemental letter from the American Gemological Laboratories attesting to the rarity and prestige of the alexandrite.

4 years later, a slightly smaller Alexandrite from Brazil would fetch an even higher price.

In the Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels Auction, an Alexandrite and Diamond Ring weighing 15.58 carats sold for 7,220,000 HKD, the equivalent of $931,000 or just under $60,000 per carat!

In 2017, at 9.99 carats, another Alexandrite from Brazil sold for $313,000.00

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]
Brazilian Alexandrite 9.99 carats sold by Christie's Auction House

The Alexandrite Effect

The phenomenon is seen in quality Alexandrites.

Use the Video below to test yours out!

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]
Alexandrite Color Change Guide by The Rare Gem

Origins

Origins are best left for an independent lab to determine.

Our experience has led us to conclude that color alone can be extremely helpful in ruling out origins.

On the one hand, certain colors can be indicative of where an Alexandrite comes from.

On the other hand, certain colors are good evidence of where it is not from.

For example, a brown color modifier will rule out Brazil as an origin.

Again, this is our opinion only.

Madagascar

Many sources assume that gemstones from the African Continent will always generally have a darker or browner tone.

This presumption ignores the fact that some of the finest Alexandrites produced in the market today have come from Madagascar, and can have a Blue-Green Color under daylight.

Lower quality Alexandrites from Madagascar can have brown dominant colors.

Typically, muddy green color often seen under daylight, will almost always have a brown modifier under incandescent light.

The best quality Alexandrites from Madagascar will always appear green dominant.

The purity of the green is preferably modified with a bluish tone.

The purple will also have pink-purple intensity that rivals top quality Alexandrites from other regions.

 

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]
, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]
, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]
, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]

India

Indian Alexandrites are know for a distinct pure green dominant daylight appearance.

Some of our gemstone mining connections in India have informed us that most Indian Alexandrites coming from the Orissa mine, come in smaller melee sizes ( < 0.5 cts.).

The daylight color usually appears in a richer grassy green hue. The incandescent color is typically not as dramatic in its purple.

In fact, the purple intensity can be described as medium to light in saturation.

Notwithstanding the limited production, an occasional blue-green to rich purple Alexandrite from India will surface.

 

 

Sri Lanka (Ceylon)

Commonly referred to as the “Island of Gems” it is no surprise that the famous exotic country produces Alexandrites.

Alexandrites from Sri Lanka tend to have yellowish-green appearance in daylight.

Ceylon Alexandrites are also usually larger than Alexandrites found in other countries.

Although larger, they won’t typically have strong color change.

The few larger size Alexandrites with strong color change from Sri Lanka remain extraordinarily scarce.

Our experience over time has shown us that distinguishing Madagascar and Ceylon Alexandrites is very difficult.

The reality is that local suppliers source rough alexandrite from Madagascar and cut the material in Sri Lanka.

Once polished, suppliers may lose track of a material’s actual source.

This leaves labs in the best position to determine the origin by making the distinction between Madagascar and Ceylon.

Yellowish-Green Alexandrites from Sri Lanka will often have the same lighter hue modifier under incandescent light.

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]
, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]
, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]
An Alexandrite from Ceylon weighing 29.41 carats
, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]
, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]

Russia

The most prized origin of Alexandrite.

Russian Alexandrites are known to come from the Ural mountains.

Finding gem quality Alexandrite over 1 carat from Russia today is extraordinarily difficult.

The rough that comes from Russia is usually Emerald, and any presence of Alexandrite is usually poor quality. 

Many commentaries refer to Alexandrite as “Emerald by day, Ruby by night,” are likely to be referring to Russian Alexandrites that show such dramatic color change.

Russian Alexandrites with blue-green colors can be confused with any source.

Old cutting, or faceting may lend credit to origin identification.

 An absence of inclusions will also make it difficult for identifying Russian material.

 

We suggest relying on two lab reports to confirm any Alexandrite with Russian Origin.

 

Tanzania

Tanzanian Alexandrites remain elusive.

Labs have difficulties classifying this origin due to its strikingly similar characteristics of both Brazil and Madagascar.

Alexandrites from Tanzania in our experience usually display a lighter Mediterranean Bluish-Green color under daylight. 

Under incandescent light, the Tanzanian Alexandrites that we have seen nearly always show a dramatic color change.

During one of our most recent trips to the country, sources dismissed the notion of finding more Alexandrites in any local mines.

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]

Sample of our own Tanzanian Alexandrites.

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019] 

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]
An Alexandrite from Tanzania
, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]
, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]

Brazil

In the early 1980’s, a significant mine of Alexandrite deposits was discovered in Brazil.

Commonly referred to as the “Hematita” mine, the discovery immediately led to an influx of independent miners to the area.

One can say this was the “Gold Rush” of Alexandrites that quickly dwindled out after 12 weeks of digging (Source: Richard W. Wise, Secrets of The Gemstone Trade, 2016). 

Top quality Brazilian Alexandrites appears rich bluish-green under daylight, and transforms into an intense purple in incandescent light.

Although labs will never rely on appearance alone to classify this origin, once you see a Brazilian Alexandrite, its specific color becomes a unique hue in your color palette.

 

Since the discovery of the deposit, production of  over 1 Carat Quality Size Alexandrites has been nearly extinct.

 

Those in the trade know that a gemstone’s desire is sometimes inextricably tied to its origin.

Blue Sapphires have Kashmir.

Rubies have Burma.

And Paraiba Tourmalines have Brazil.

One could argue that for Alexandrites this would be Russia, but the truth is that the current most exceptional looking Alexandrites are from Brazil.

From a strictly color-change point of view, you be the judge of whether the Russian Alexandrite or Brazilian Alexandrite is more impressive.

Unlike its “green to red” folktale Russian counterpart, the Brazilian Alexandrite displays an awesome bluish-green color under white light, and magically changes to a deep rich purple under incandescent light.

The Brazilian Alexandrite has yet to be fully appreciated by the gem world.

This is probably due to its exorbitant price.

Good-quality, carat-size Alexandrites from Brazil can exceed Diamond carat-size equivalents.

The current major Alexandrite sources include: Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Tanzania, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and India.

However, it appears that quality Alexandrite is becoming more and more difficult to find everywhere.

Additionally, like the Russian Alexandrite, the Brazilian Alexandrite has already steadily declined in quality production.

While origin can seem important in buying an Alexandrite, labs will likely charge extra for this determination.

It may be worth the additional fee for someone claiming an Alexandrite is from Brazil, or Russia.

However, a reputable lab report is essential for truly identifying the stone as natural without any treatments.

Classifying Alexandrites

The original reference to qualify an Alexandrite, as a Chrysoberyl that changes from green to red, is far too restrictive.

“A more apt description would indicate something like ‘greenish’ in fluorescent light and ‘reddish’ under incandescent light,” says Christopher Smith of American Gemological Laboratories (AGL).

“Even though the full range of colors possible is more expansive than that.”

Christian Dunaigre, who currently manages his own gem laboratory in Thailand as well as one of the only on-site mobile gem testing services, also believes finding an Alexandrite with a “pure ruby red” color is nearly impossible.

Moreover, Mr. Dunaigre thinks most Alexandrites have modifiers and seldom have pure changes that are limited to one hue.

Although anecdotal, you can probably go to any gem trade show and ask to see an Alexandrite lab report (commonly referred to as a “certificate”) of any type and discover this yourself.

Gem identification reports almost never limit themselves to just one color when describing the color shift under white (daylight) light and incandescent light (lamp yellow light).

Common examples include:

Bluish Green to Purple,

Green to Greyish-Purple,

Green to Purplish Red,

Green to Purplish Pink,

Yellowish-Green to Brownish Purple,

and many other 2 to 1 and 1 to 2 type color changes.

My doubts about finding a purely red Alexandrite were even further solidified by Gübelin’s own Dr. Anna Malsy.

Dr. Malsy has written extensively about colored gemstones, and has published a thorough article discussing how to identify the difference between synthetic Alexandrites and genuine Alexandrites.

She described seeing “purple, reddish-purple or purplish-red” Alexandrites, but hardly ever seeing purely red ones.

Like Diamonds, there are additional C’s that can be used in guiding yourself to Alexandrite.

 

Besides Clarity, Carat, and Cut, you also have color Change (instead of just color) and Classification (Lab Classification).

Ideal Lighting Conditions

The best way to look at an Alexandrite is under two different lighting conditions:

1. White/daylight to see the first color (ideally green with a blue/ brown/yellow modifier).

The Lab Manual Harmonisation Committee (LMHC) suggests the daylight corresponding to a range between “5500K to 6500K.”

2. Yellow/warm light to see the second color change (red, purple, pink with various possible modifiers such as brown, yellow, orange).

LMHC suggest comparison of incandescent light corrresponding to a range between “2700K and 3600K.”

Lab Classification of Alexandrite

Ultimately, this determination of what is an Alexandrite is best suited for a lab.

Accordingly, some of industry’s leading labs have defined Alexandrite as follows:

American Gemological Laboratories (AGL): Chrysoberyl where the dominant hue distinctly changes under different lighting conditions.

**Color-Shift as opposed to Color-Change: Chrysoberyl (not classified as alexandrite) that displays a more subtle modification to its color under different lighting conditions.

Christian Dunaigre (C.D.): A chromium bearing colour-change Chrysoberyl (colour- change: main hue in daylight differs from that seen in incandescent light).

Gemological Institute of America (GIA): Any color change (not shift) makes Chrysoberyl into Alexandrite.

GemResearch Swiss Lab (GRS): Alexandrite: a chromium bearing colour-change Chrysoberyl.

Gübelin Gem Lab (GUB): It is a variety of gem Chrysoberyl, which changes its main hue from daylight to incandescent light.

The color-change is mainly caused by Chromium.

The common thread among these definitions is the display of a color changing over a color shifting.

In essence, Alexandrite is the color-change variety of Chrysoberyl.

Color change is the defining characteristic that distinguishes Alexandrite from other Chrysoberyl varieties.

It appears to be easy for labs to classify Alexandrite when the color change is readily apparent.

It becomes more of a dilemma when the color shift falls short of change.

This begs the question as to whether the stone is in fact Alexandrite or just Chrysoberyl—the latter being less valuable.

Ask any collector, and the Alexandrite title automatically carries more allure than simply Chrysoberyl.

Perhaps labs should start adding a quantitative description to the Alexandrite.

American Gemological Laboratories is already there.

While AGL GemBriefs™ lab reports describe the Alexandrite’s degree of color change as: weak, moderate, strong, prominent, a more comprehensive AGL Prestige Gemstone Report™ includes color change percentage as well (see sample report depicted below).

A lab report that includes a degree of color change arguably conveys more information than just having hue descriptions.

Does that give the ultimate owner a more comprehensive picture of what their Alexandrite looks like?

It’s hard to say.

Color-change intensity is not an exact science.

At the end of the day, what matter most is confidence that the Alexandrite gemstone enthusiasts are getting is one that qualifies as Alexandrite and not Chrysoberyl.

And this becomes likely with both higher color-change percentages and/or drastic hue changes.

Identifying the origin of Alexandrites is very difficult.

While certain color associations may be evidence of certain origins, no particular color alone will be determinative of origin.

Labs often need a combination of evidence, chemical composition tests, and other types of expensive equipment, to come to a conclusion about origin.

Although not full proof, a combination of these things and previously reported data will lead them to draw a conclusion.

Sometimes, labs will work closely with mine owners for rough samples for their own data banks. It’s no surprise that samples directly from the mine will make identification easier.

Gem Labs (Certificates)

WHAT IS A GEM LAB?

gemological lab is an institution, organization, or company (which could be for profit, or non-profit), that generates reports on loose gemstones and/or mounted jewelry.

The purpose of a gemstone lab report is to ensure that the authenticity is verified, and the quality of a gemstone is evaluated and characterized.

Lab Reports typically disclose the following details:

  • Weight (usually in carats)
  • Shape description
  • Measurements
  • Color description
  • Treatment (if applicable)
  • Gem Species/Gem Variety
  • A Photo of the gemstone
  • Origin (likely at an additional fee)

 

TRADE TIP:  Lab reports are commonly referred to as“certificates” among members of the trade.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: ALL LAB REPORTS ARE PROVIDED ON THE BASIS OF OPINION MADE AT THE TIME THE GEM WAS SUBMITTED. Therefore, while reports are reliable, Gem Labs relieve themselves on liability for mistakes.

While lab reports seem to be quite detailed, the most important piece of information to look for is: Enhancement or Treatment.

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]

When a stone is “treated,” it means that some type of method was utilized in order to enhance a gemstone’s appearance – whether that be for better color (more saturation) or better clarity (less visible inclusions).

 TRADE TIP:  Most colored-stone sellers have a legal obligation to disclose any treatment to clients.

The American Gem Trade Association is well-known in the gemstone and jewelry industries for maintaining and educating the highest ethical standards in colored gemstones.

Although there are many types of treatments, the most valuable gemstones will always be ones that are free from any. As a rule of thumb, any gemstone that is enhanced will be less valuable than an equivalent one that is untreated.

Since the inception of The Rare Gem LLC, we have prided ourselves on gathering only Natural Alexandrites, that is, without any type of treatment whatsoever. All the Alexandrites in our collection have been, and continue to be completely natural.

So, which labs are reliable and should be used?

The Rare Gem LLC believes that every gemstone should be backed by at least one reputable independent lab. We further emphasize that high-quality, investment-grade gemstones should include at least 2 independent lab reports. This provides confidence at the highest level.

We strongly believe that American Gemological Laboratories (AGL) is the most reputable independent and trustworthy labs that a gemstone collector can use. Both Christie’s and Sotheby’s Auction houses consistently rely on AGL for the most important gemstone condition reports. This fact alone lends credence to the quality of their analysis.

In addition to AGL, we prefer labs affiliated with the Lab Manual Harmonization Committee (LMHC) that maintain American branches*. However, credibility should be given to all members as well. The member labs include:

CGL Laboratory (Japan)

CISGEM Laboratory (Italy)

DSEF German Gem Lab (Germany)

GIA Laboratory (USA and Thailand) *

GIT – Gem Testing Laboratory (Thailand)

Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd (Switzerland)*

Swiss Gemmological Institute(Switzerland)

Although not a LMHC member, we feel confident that GemResearch Swisslab (GRS) are reliable and reputable labs for identification and treatment purposes for Alexandrites. The lab itself is well recognized in Asia, and maintains an office in New York.

Lastly, SSEF is an important lab that must be mentioned. The Rare Gem does not use SSEF often due to their infrequent presence in the US.

***Disclaimer: It is in the buyers’ best interest to investigate each lab and do their due diligence prior to purchasing an expensive gemstone, for their own peace of mind.***

AGL, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]

AGL has a reputation as the premier colored-stone lab in the U.S. Headed by Christopher Smith today, many auction houses emphasize the need for an AGL lab report for any listings. The integrity, authenticity, and expertise of this laboratory is well respected in the gemstone industry.

 

 

GIA, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]

GIA is the arguably the most well-recognized lab for diamonds. Besides creating the Four Cs for diamond grading, established in 1931, GIA’s motto is the “world’s foremost authority” on diamonds, colored stones, and pearls. GIA is also a non-profit organization, allowing it to pursue leading research and education on all gem and jewelry related matters. In 2019, GIA announced that it will start identifying Alexandrite origins. GIA reports are known for their beautiful presentation, and are nearly universal in their recognition., Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]

GRS

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019] GRS is among the most internationally recognized labs in the industry. With emphasis on the European and Asian clientele, many collectors see GRS as the standard. Directed by Dr. Adolf Peretti, many of the color description terms used in the industry today have been coined by this lab, such as “Royal Blue” Sapphires, or “Pigeon Blood” Rubies. Today, GRS is a trusted leaders in color classification and color nomenclature. Most recently, GRS opened a New York based branch, further stretching its reputation and presence across the globe.

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]

Gübelin

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]

Established in 1923, Gϋbelin Gem Lab Ltd. is highly respected in the gemstone industry, and considered the premier laboratory in Europe. Many of the world’s leading gemologists began their careers at Gübelin. Gübelin’s reports have also been historically associated with famous auction houses, and personal jewels for royal families.

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]
An Alexandrite Gemmological Report by Gubelin

 

 

What Makes A Stone Rare?

We believe that every gemstone’s degree of rarity depends on two critically connected elements:  Availability & Market Desirability. At all times, this concept of market desirability must be considered through a lens of an informed collector.

For example, an informed collector knows:

  • Marketing can influence a person to want anything.

  • Jewelry that is beautiful and fashionable does not translate into true value.

  • Just because a gemstone is very limited in availability, does not mean it will be desirable if it looks ugly.

Availability defined:

The degree in which a gemstone can be readily obtained.

Market Desirability defined:

The characteristics that a gemstone possess that are desired by an informed collector. 

The rare characteristics include:

  1. Treatment. Is the stone Untreated or Treated. Simply put: did it come from the earth naturally or was it enhanced  through a foreign process? Being Natural →Most important factor = More Rare
  2. Size. The bigger it is, the more difficult it is to find. Carat Weight ⇑ = More Rare
  3. Origin.  Exotic parts of the world are known for specific gemstones and fetch more $ = More Rare
  4. Clarity.  Stones without any eye visible inclusions will be worth more than ones that have  blemishes and interior obscurities. Clean looking gems = More Rare
  5. Cutting. The stone’s superficial brilliance and shine= Stones are sometimes cut in a way that maximizes light reflection= More Rare
  6. Shape. Smallest factor in rarity, still- odd or fancy shapes can give an additional layer of uniqueness  making it= More Rare

The Most Rare Stones will always have:

Low Availability  + High market desirability 

Examples of how Availability and Market Desirability interact

Example 1:

A round shape white diamond, 1.05 ct., with an F color grade ,an SI2 clarity grade, and a Triple Excellent Cut, white diamond is highly desirable in the market (high market desirability).

However, finding another round diamond with similar characteristics is easy.

Additionally, the origin of where it came from is likely untraceable.

This would make it even easier to be replaced

. Therefore, a white diamond has high availability + high market desirability.

Example 2:

An oval shape Tanzanite gemstone, over 3 carats, with intense purple color, and no eye visible inclusions, has market desirability because of its exotic origin (only found in Tanzania).

All these rare characteristics might make a novice collector assume it is very rare.

However, while Tanzanites are sought after, there is an abundance of availability, moving it towards the bottom of the Rarity Pyramid.

Therefore, tanzanite also has high availability + high market desirability .

The Rarity Pyramid is our graphic guide to some of the most and least common gemstones based on their availability.

Obviously, economic forces will always be an X factor on market desirability.

We believe educated collectors will have to use their own judgment to determine which of the rare characteristics is the most important when deciding on beginning a collection.

6 Rarity Characteristics

1.Untreated v. Treated

Once you have a reliable lab report, you now have a better road map to do research online.

With the proper lab report in hand, you should now analyze each element.

We suggest focusing on treatment after the gemstone has been identified.

Treatments will often include a notation paragraph on whether it is synthetic or lab created under the treatment heading of the report.

Sometimes the paragraph will be towards the bottom, so be cautious not to miss it!

Additionally, the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) is a wonderful place to look up any treatment.

The AGTA’ standard for treatment disclosure was even adopted by the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA).

Bottom Line: The most rare gemstones will always be ones that are “natural.” (free from any enhancements).

2. Carat Weight (SIZE)

In the world of rarity, size is crucial.

The average person who may not know anything about gemstones will no doubt understand that a bigger gemstone is more valuable.

As sizes move from 0.99 cts. to 1 ct, prices will change substantially.

While each gemstone varies, consideration must be given for differences between 2 to 3 carats. 4 to 5 carats, and moving upwards.

You will often see 20 Carat + sizes in museums.

Bottom Line: The more a gemstone weighs, the more rare it will be.

3. Origin

Origin is probably the least known element of rarity.

Two gemstones that share identical attributes of size, weight, shape and appearance can potentially have two completely different values based on what country they came from.

Part of the reason for the difference in value comes from the scarcity associated with certain territories.

For example, although rubies are often seen in the market, a ruby from Burma is highly prized.

This is because Burma is considered a unique type of origin for this particular gemstone.

Today, many people might not realize that a family ring might come from an exotic country that is desired by collectors.

Some gemstones will not be affected by their origin at all.

One of the biggest differences between a gemstone and a diamond is the ability to trace where they come from.

Diamonds fall short of this unique quality.

Within the trade, dealers will often use origin as a way to convey an additional layer of value.

More often than not, particular origins will only be accepted by certain laboratories with the highest reputation for accuracy.

Bottom Line: Origin is only important for certain gemstones. However, for those gemstones that it is important, the effect on rarity can be exponential.

4. Clarity

For what they lack in origin, diamonds have been useful in contributing to the understanding of clarity.

While colored stones usually put little emphasis on what the precise clarity of a gemstone is, it is still worth knowing the differences between “IF” (internally flawless)  and “I1” levels of clarity.

According to GIA, there are 11 clarity grades: Flawless (F), Internally Flawless (IF), two categories of Very, Very Slightly Included (VVSI or VVS2), two categories of Slightly Included (SI1 or SI2), and three categories of Included (I1, I2, or I3).

For the purposes of colored stones, its easier to describe the stone as either: loupe clean (that is, under the loupe- no inclusions are visible), eye clean (under the loupe some inclusions are visible, but are difficult to see with the naked eye), & included (this usually means the stone has visible inclusions that can be seen with your eyes).

The presence of inclusions adds character to a gemstone.

It is only when these inclusions rise to a level of detracting attention away from the gem’s beauty that it becomes an issue to be avoided.

Bottom Line: Loupe clean and eye clean gemstones will always be dramatically more rare than ones that are visibly included.

5. Cutting

The cutting of a  gemstone dramatically effects how the gemstone appears. When a gemstone first makes its way from mine to market, a lot of emphasis is placed on maximizing the carat weight.

The person who makes the initial investment in rough (uncut gemstone material) will always make more money when the stone weighs more.

A stone that weighs more will fetch a higher per carat price. As a result of this, some gemstones might have their beauty slightly compromised.

The most valuable and rare gemstones are cut in a way that maximizes both weight, and luster.

Luster comes from well proportioned gem. Light is better able to reflect throughout the gemstone and appear brilliant.

A poorly cut gemstone might allow light to fall through the middle.

This description, usually described as a “window” gives a transparent look that is typically may or may not be attractive to some people.

Another type of poor cutting is what the trade calls “heaviness.”

A stone that is “heavy” has a longer bottom.

The heavy stone is cut in a way that prevents it from looking proportional.

This might also happen because the cutter may look at a piece of rough and determine that the color is concentrated at at certain area of the stone.

In this scenario, cutting the gemstone proportionally might have an adverse effect of diluting or even worse, removing the color altogether.

Cutting can also alter whether the stone’s weight is presented in the most efficient way.

For example, a 5 carat stone with a very heavy bottom, may look like it is only 3 carats in size because the diameter is the same as well proportioned 3 carat stone with great cutting.

In this example, the “face” of the stone is small.

This is opposite of what some may call “spready,” which is another way of saying that the stone looks much bigger than it actually is.

The opposite example of above, where a 2 carat stone is cut in a way that it looks like its 3 carats when mounted in jewelry.

Again, bad cutting can cause the face of the stone to look much smaller than the actual weight it has.

Bottom Line: Rarity will go up when the stone is cut in away that maximizes shine, distributes weight evenly.

6. Shape

The shape of the stone has the least effect on the rarity.

However, certain shapes have historically been less desirable.

Pear Shapes, Marquis and Round might be popular shapes for smaller sizes.

However, gemstones over 5 Carats are not commonly cut in these shapes.

This is due to the low demand for fancy shapes.

Ovals, Cushions, & Emerald Cuts are more desirable when it comes to large sizes.

Bottom Line: A unique cut can become more or less desirable because of demand. Popularity of a particular shape at any time might lead to it becoming limited in availability.

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]New Collectors

The Rare Gem Collection’s goal is to bring recognition to the fact that Alexandrite is one of the rarest gemstones that exists in the world.

Sotheby’s and Christie’s have historically sold Alexandrites in excess of $50,000 per carat.

While most people dream of owning an Alexandrite, we wish to make that reality come true by offering a natural alexandrite every so often to our fans.

Each Alexandrite listed will be supported by a reputable lab.

Each Alexandrite is guaranteed to be natural.

Why Us?

The internet is flooded with claims of rarity when it comes to gemstones and jewelry.

Self supplied appraisals further create an illusion of value. An educated consumer should do as much research as possible when deciding what gemstone is right for them.

Fortunately, we’ve been privileged with the opportunity to explore the world to buy and sell all types of gemstones.

Some being rare, and others quite common.

Nevertheless, there will never be a definitive authority on what is the rarest gemstone.

So why the Rare Gem?

We understand that the decision to acquire any colored gemstone should not be taken lightly.

We take our AGTA and I.C.A. Memberships seriously, and believe in going beyond obligatory ethical disclosure.

We believe in educating the consumer immediately as we ourselves garner exclusive gem trade related information.

Our philosophy is fully informed-educated disclosure.

That is, giving you and explaining to you information in plain english.

Besides giving you information, we emphasize gathering as much information as possible.

Never rely on someone’s own assessment of any gemstone.

We pride ourselves on using independent third party labs of the highest reputation to provide objective gem data.

We will never give self-serving “certificates.”

Why Vespertine Alexandrite over other Alexandrites?

Our experience over time has made us conclude that every single Alexandrite comes from a difficult hunt of its own.

We believe having an Alexandrite, is the ultimate way of owning rarity.

When it comes to gemstones and jewelry, people wish to own something really unique and beautiful.

While aesthetically pleasant, a truly rare gem comes from its internal characteristics of being irreplaceable.

A truly rare gem is found through a journey.

A journey to exotic origins.

Origin  is one detail that distinguishes a gemstone’s uniqueness over diamonds.

Carat weight, color, shape, subtle imperfections and Origin create intimate fingerprints of identity that make certain gemstones worthy of collection.

The reality is that very few gemstones rise to this level of being a collectible.

While every Alexandrite with quality color change is in fact collection worthy.

, Ultimate Alexandrite Gemstone Guide [UPDATED 2019]

We guarantee each Vespertine Alexandrite to be one-of-a-kind.

Each year we cap the amount of Vespertine Alexandrites we release.

We stand by a promise of rarity in its purest form.

Our lifetime return policy guarantees that an identical alexandrite with identical origin, weight, clarity, and type of color change will not be found elsewhere.

Rest assured that each Vespertine Alexandrite isunique in its own right, and is confidentially supported by two internationally recognized reputable laboratories.

In 2019, we will release only a limited number of these Vespertine Alexandrites.

Become part of our first legacy, and own rarity that will be cherished for generations.