Possible Alexandrite?

  • Pardon me if I am in the wrong place but I stumbled across your page while researching online. I have really enjoyed reading the posts!

    I have inherited a very old gold ring and was told that it may possibly be a genuine alexandrite. I am sharing pictures here of the colors. In natural light it is a blue/teal color (more so with the eye than camera) and indoor lighting it is a purplish color. It is quite beautiful!

    Please advise me as to where I should go to find out if this is a true and genuine alexandrite. I live near the Chicago, IL USA area.
    Would love to hear from you!


  • Hello... thank you for your reply. I hope you are doing well today!

    All I know is that in the late 60's/early 70's a family member exchanged it with another family member, for a ring with diamonds. It has been kept in a safe until recently when I inherited it. I was told the original price was equivalent to the diamond ring which was around $4,000. It is 14k gold.

    I am thinking of getting it reset so I can wear it, the setting is very high. I have a picture of the setting (underneath).
    People are advising me to get it tested before making any changes.

    Thank you.... have a great day! :)

  • Thanks Lizc for the trust placed on our forums. The thread on Alexandrites started on May 21st 2014 by Gemlite generated an extensive discussion, citing alexandrites of different countries of origin that appeared at public auctions conducted by Christie's and Sotheby's over the years, and went on till around the end of August 2014. The discussion brought out the salient features of Alexandrites from source countries such as Russia, Sri Lanka and Brazil and also established a market ranking for alexandrites based on country-of-origin, which goes as :- Russia - Brazil - Sri Lanka - Others. According to this discussion the average price-per-carat value of Russian alexandrites vary between US$50,000-US$70,000. The PPC values of Brazilian alexandrites vary between US$20,000-US$50,000 and those of Sri Lanka alexandrites between US$5,000-US$20,000.

    Studying the images of the colored gemstone you have uploaded, undoubtedly what you are having is a color-change gemstone. There are five main types of color-change gemstones. These are alexandrites, color-change sapphires, color-change garnets, color-change diaspore and color-change fluorite. The occurrence of alexandrites is quite rare but the occurrence of the other four are even rarer.

    It is highly unlikely that your gemstone is a color-change diaspore or a color-change fluorite. Color-change diaspores are a recent discovery from Turkey in the 1990s, but the ring incorporating your color-change gemstone had existed in your family in the late 60s or early 70s. Color-change fluorites have a low hardness on the mohs scale and good cleavage properties and hence their use in jewelry is limited. If at all they are used in jewelry they can be set only on pendants and earrings, which are not subjected to wear and tear like rings and bracelets. Your piece of jewelry is a ring, and hence it is unlikely that the stone set in the ring is a soft fluorite.

    We are now left with three options - alexandrite, color-change sapphire and color-change garnet, whose hardness is respectively 8.5, 9.0, and 6.5-7.5 on the mohs scale, and all of which are used on ring settings. According to you the color change in your gemstone is from a teal blue color in natural daylight to a purple color in indoor lighting. I hope by indoor lighting you mean incandescent lighting and not fluorescent lighting. I have also noticed a brown color associated with the purple color in image 3 you have uploaded. If this is a true brown color associated with the stone in incandescent lighting and not a reflection of its background, the color of the stone in incandescent lighting can best be described as brownish-purple.
    Blue to Purple color change from natural daylight to incandescent light are found in some alexandrites originating from Brazil; rare variety of color-change sapphires and color-change garnets from some countries. Pyrope-spessartite color-change garnet found in the Umba Valley of East Africa change color from greenish-blue in daylight to reddish-purple in incandescent light. Color-change garnets from Bekily, Southern Madagascar change color from blue in natural daylight/fluorescent light to red/purple in incandescent light. Sri Lanka color change garnets change color from blue/green/gray in natural daylight to reddish-purple in incandescent light. Out of the three color-change gemstones - alexandrite, sapphire and garnets - the rarest is the color-change sapphire. The occurrence of alexandrites and color-change garnets are also rare but not so rare as color-change sapphires. Hence, your gemstone Lizc is most probably an alexandrite or color-change garnet and not an extremely rare color-change sapphire. If the gemstone is an alexandrite, based on the color change you have observed (blue to purple), the alexandrite is probably of Brazilian origin, but not from Hematita mine where alexandrites were discovered only in 1987. If there is a tinge of brown in the colors you have observed the alexandrite is most probably of Sri Lankan origin. If the gemstone is a color-change garnet, it can be either from the Umba Valley where gemstone deposits were discovered in the mid 1960s or Sri Lanka the oldest source of gemstones of several varieties including garnets. It cannot be a Bekily color-change garnet where such stones were exploited only in the late 1990s.

  • As a follow-up to my observations above, I personally feel that the gemstone set in your ring is actually an alexandrite of either Brazilian or Sri Lankan origin. The cut employed on the stone is a modified round brilliant-cut. Alexandrites are usually cut as cushion, oval or round shaped stones. The above conclusions are based on information already known to us on the characteristics of color-change gemstones. However, the exact situation will only be revealed after scientific testing by a renowned gem testing laboratory. I am not sure whether such a gem-testing facility is found in Chicago. One of the renowned gem testing laboratories in the United States is the American Gemological Laboratories (AGL) situated in the heart of New York's gem and jewelry district, providing detailed identification and enhancement reports, country-of-origin reports as well as complete colored stone analysis documents. Their offices are situated at 580, 5th Avenue Suite 706 - New York, NY 10036. Phone - 212 . 704 . 0727. You can contact them and find out whether they have a branch office in Chicago, Illinois or any other city nearby. Their working hours are from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday through Friday.

  • Thank you SO much for your detailed information and for making it so simple to understand! I have been overwhelmed with all the information online but you have simplified it. Thank you!

    I will contact the NY office today and find out if they have other locations or at least a referral of where I can go. What is the appropriate price for the testing?

    I will update you as soon as I can.

    Thank you, Lareef... very much :)

  • The price list for gem testing by some renowned gem testing laboratories are given below ;-
    1) American Gemological Laboratories (AGL)
    AGL- Mounted Alexandrite - 0.25 to 2.99 carats US$75 - Gem Brief Report - Standard ID and Enhancement ID report only.
    AGL- All mounted gemstones - 0.25 carat upwards - US$160 - Prestige Gemstone Report - Std. ID and Enhancement report only.
    AGL - All mounted gemstones 0.50 carat to 2.99 carats - US$245 - Std. ID, enhancement and country-of-origin report.
    AGL - All mounted gemstones - 3.00 to 9.99 carats - US$405 - Std. ID, enhancement and country-of-origin report.
    Please note that the cost of testing varies with the size of the stone. Your suspected alexandrite probably weighs between 3.00 to 9.99 carats and hence the report including identification, enhancement and country-of-origin costs US$405.
    2) Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
    GIA - Mounted Alexandrite Jewelry - Single jewelry item - price per stone US$120
    3) Swiss Gemological Institute (SSEF)
    SSEF - Alexandrite 5 to 10 carats - Normal price with country-of-origin - US$1,400 to US$1,800
    SSEF - Alexandrite 5-10 carats - Normal price without country-of-origin - US$690 to US$920
    SSEF - Garnett 5-10 carats - Normal price without country-of-origin - US$290 to US$400
    SSEF - Garnet 5-10 carats - Normal price with country-of-origin - US$580 to US$800
    You may have to pay for alexandrite charges if you are using GIA or SSEF. If your gemstone is found to be a garnet the charges applying for garnets only will be charged and the excess money refunded to you.

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