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One of the most fascinating gemstones throughout history is alexandrite: a gem variety of the mineral chrysoberyl that actually changes colour from green in daylight to red in incandescent light. The first time you see it, it is hard to believe your eyes! Gems that show special optical effects are known as phenomenal stones. Alexandrite has a distinguished and glamorous past: it was discovered in 1830 in Czarist Russia. Since the old Russian imperial colours are red and green it was named after Czar Alexander II on the occasion of his coming of age. Alexandrite can be found in jewels of the period as it was well loved by the Russian master jewelers. Alexandrite is a remarkable gem. It is one of the finest color change stones in nature, resembling fine emerald or ruby, depending on the light source. It is so rare, that most people have never seen one. Yet, when the modern list of birthstones was assembled, it was listed as June’s birthstone. Alexandrite has a distinguished and glamorous past. It was first discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 1830. The Russian imperial colors ware red and green, so it made quite a hit. It was named after Czar Alexander II’s at his coming of age ceremony. The original source closed after only a few decades of mining. Today they have been reopened, but only produce a few carats a year. In 1987, a new find of alexandrite was made in Brazil. Later, alexandrite discoveries were made in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Myanmar, and Zimbabwe. However, none of these sites produces as rich and vivid a color change as the original Russian source.

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