It is no secret that alexandrites are one of the rarest gemstones in the world. Long prized for their color-changing ability, natural alexandrite is becoming increasingly rare, particularly those with strong color shift and considerable size. However, the few that have been found are quite notable and therefore earned their place in many prominent private collections and museums. We have brought here for you some of those exceptional and famous alexandrite gems.
The Whitney Alexandrite
The Whitney Alexandrite weighs a whopping 17.08 carats and was found in the prestigious Minas Gerais mine in Brazil. It is not only notable for its significant size but also for its dramatic and rich color change – it displays a blue/green color when under sunlight and a purplish-red under incandescent light.
The alexandrite was donated to the Smithsonian National Museum in 2009, by gemologist Coralyn Whitney, whom the alexandrite was named after.
Like many world-famous gemstones, the Sauer Alexandrite is steeped in legend and mystery. Discovered in 1967 in Bahia, Brazil, the Sauer Alexandrite is the world’s largest uncut Alexandrite, weighing at a massive 122,400 carats (or approximately 54 pounds)! Named after its discoverer, jeweler and collector Jules Roger Sauer, the Sauer Alexandrite was put on display in Sauer’s own museum in 1989.
It remained on display until 2017, when sadly it was removed following Sauer’s passing away. Since then, the whereabouts of the massive alexandrite are unknown. The museum staff are either unaware of the alexandrite’s existence or refuse to discuss it.
The Smithsonian’s Alexandrite
A famous alexandrite from Srilanka weighing about 65.7carats is the largest faceted alexandrite. Currently, it resides at the Smithsonian Institution. The majority of alexandrites weigh under one carat. This is why this alexandrite which weighs 65.7 carats, has great significance.
Fun Fact: Alexandrite in Japan
Outside of Russia, the most prestigious alexandrite mines are in Brazil. The 1980s was a booming era for Brazilian alexandrites but the Brazilian deposits have depleted in recent years. Some of the world’s finest alexandrites were mined in Brazil during the ’80s and astonishingly the vast majority of them were sold in Japan. From 1980 to 2000 Japan was the largest market for high-quality Brazilian alexandrites and it remained one of the one of the most significant consumer markets for alexandrites afterwards.