SELL WITH A STORY: ALEXANDRITE
By gemstone standards, alexandrite is a newcomer. What does it matter that it was formed 2 billion years ago? It didn’t exist for us until 1833, when emerald miners in Russia’s Ural Mountains found what looked like an emerald — but not quite. Count Lev Alekseevich Perovski, who managed the Imperial family’s estates (i.e. the mines), was a gemstone connoisseur and sent the “emerald” specimen to the famous Finnish mineralogist, Nils Gustav Nordenskjold (1792-1866).
The Double Take
Nordenskjold quickly realized the Perovski’s specimen was too hard to be emerald. That evening, he looked at it again and was astonished to see it was red like a ruby. After further studying its properties, he named it “diaphanite” which means “two unseen and shown” in reference to the color change. Continue reading