NOTE: 14kt solid gold settings and other setting styles (studs, lever backs, French hooks, kidney wires, ball/stud dangles, etc., are available upon request, as are sterling silver settings.
NOTE: If you would like only the gemstones, and not the settings, we can dismount the gemstones and offer you the gemstones without the settings. Just let us know, and yes, we’ll discount the price by the cost of the settings.
DETAIL:These are two stunning, brilliant, gorgeous, rare, natural green alexandrite gemstones from the Ural Mountains of Russia; and yes, they are green…when 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 transforms themselves to a pastel rose color with peach undertones, or a pastel blue-violet. 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 these two gemstones a pastel rose-peach. And a decent digital camera shows them as pastel blue-violet. The stones are capable of all of those colors, true chameleons, quite extraordinary precious gemstones. The earring settings are of contemporary origin. They are high quality settings manufactured by one of the USA’s leading semi-custom mount producers. They are constructed of 14kt gold fill. They are not cheap, gold electroplated earrings. They are of genuine 14kt gold fill, designed to last a lifetime. It's a first-class piece of jewelry throughout. We can reset into 14kt solid gold upon request, and there are also many other setting styles available upon request including French hooks, lever backs, kidney wires, ball/stud dangles, etc.
The green images at the top of the page were produced using a filter so as to suppress the color changing characteristics of the gemstones and produce an image of matching color (to show you the normal color of the gemstones). But the remaining bright rose-peach and blue-violet images give more detail and show you what they look like “fully illuminated”. The 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. We matched them as best one can with a pair of antique gemstones. In these 500% images they might not appear perfectly matched – antique gemstones are in a sense like snowflakes – no two are exactly identical – at least, under magnification. But as is the case with snowflakes, in hand, to the unaided eye, these gemstones are very well matched – almost indistinguishable from one another. They are small gemstones, the typical size used for accent ear studs. But they can also be used as accent stones for a larger gemstone in a ring or pendant setting.
They are gorgeous gemstones, full of fire and sparkle, gorgeous, vibrant, possessing exceptional clarity and color. They are truly special little gemstones, quite rare. Under magnification the gemstones show the unmistakable characteristics of having been hand crafted. The coarseness of the 19th century finish is considered appealing to most gemstone collectors, and is not considered a detriment, or detract from the value of a gemstone. These characteristics are not only expected of hand-finished gemstones, most serious collectors consider such gemstones more desirable, possessed of greater character and uniqueness when compared to today's cookie-cutter mass-produced machine-faceted gemstones. Unlike today’s computer controlled machine produced gemstones, the cut and finish of gemstones such as this is the legacy of an artisan who lived two centuries ago.
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 Urals in Russia in recent years. Given the rarity of the gemstone, and the enormous demand, reasonably good specimens are hard to find. Flawless specimens of any significant size have almost resulted in duels between buyers vying for the privilege of being a selected purchaser. Obviously we are hoping that the offering of this matched pair of genuine alexandrite gemstones will not precipitate any duels.
While they are not flawless gemstones, they are eye clean. The color of these gemstones is quite exquisite, a much sought after green which imparts really rich character and great visual appeal. These gemstones have great lustre, and are essentially transparent, but again, they are not entirely flawless. True, the blemishes they possess are virtually invisible to the naked eye, and the gemstones can be characterized, to use trade jargon, as "eye clean". However magnified five times over as they are here, you can see slight blemishes both within the stones and occasional irregularities in the cut and finish.
But 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. Two centuries ago mankind was more or less limited to surface deposits or near surface deposits of semi-precious gemstones. Higher quality gemstones which today are routinely mined from beneath hundreds of meters, even kilometers beneath the earth's surface, were simply inaccessible. So antique gemstone must be appreciated as antiques first, gemstones second. The relatively superlative quality of contemporary gemstones mined from deep beneath the earth's surface were simply not accessible two centuries ago, or at least, only rarely so. But for most, the unique nature and character of these antique gemstones more than makes up for these telltale blemishes.
HISTORY: Most sources credit the discovery of this very unique gemstone to the year 1830 on the birthday of Prince (and ultimately Tzar) Alexander II in the Ural mountains in Russia. 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 Tzar, and because red and green were the colors of the Russian Empire. Alexandrite is known as a "color change" gemstone. It is emerald green in daylight, and a purplish red under artificial lights 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". Alexandrite is well known as a extremely scarce and very costly gem. The quality of color change with different illumination is the primary basis for its quality and price. No more than one person out of 100,000 has ever seen a real 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 jeweler's, you will find it to be "laboratory produced" - synthetic. Even as an artificially grown stone, alexandrite often commands a retail price of $300.00 to $500.00 per carat.
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 features 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 15 years some very small deposits of Alexandrite have been discovered in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, 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 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. Russian Alexandrite remains elusive. 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.
Domestic shipping (insured first class mail) is included in the price shown. Domestic shipping also includes USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site
). Canadian shipments are an extra $3.99 for Insured Air Mail; International shipments are an extra $4.99 for Air Mail (and generally are NOT tracked; trackable shipments are EXTRA). ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per item so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers.
We do NOT recommend uninsured shipments, and expressly disclaim any responsibility for the loss of an uninsured shipment. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily “lost” or misdelivered by postal employees – even in the USA. If you intend to pay via PayPal, please be aware that PayPal Protection Policies REQUIRE insured, trackable shipments, which is INCLUDED in our price. International tracking is at additional cost. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. We will accept whatever payment method you are most comfortable with. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price (less our original shipping costs).
We travel to Russia each year seeking antique gemstones and jewelry from one of the globe’s 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. But if you agree with us that the past is worth protecting, and that past lives and the produce of those lives still matters today, consider buying an antique, hand cut, natural gemstone rather than one of the mass-produced machine cut (often synthetic or “lab produced”) gemstones which dominate the market today.
Our interest in the fabulous history of Russian gemstones and the fabulous jewelry of the Czar’s 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. Occasionally while in Russia, India, Siam, and Ceylon we will also find such good buys on unique contemporary gemstones and jewelry that we will purchase a few pieces to offer to our customers here in America. These are always offered clearly labeled as contemporary, and not antiques – just to avoid confusion. We can set most any antique gemstone you purchase from us in your choice of styles and metals ranging from rings to pendants to earrings and bracelets; in sterling silver, 14kt solid gold, and 14kt gold fill. When you purchase from us, you can count on quick shipping and careful, secure packaging. We would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE."
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