Helen Molesworth, Specialist Jewellery Department, Geneva
'Alexandrite is a magical and enchanting gemstone. In the world of natural gems, it is arguably one of the most intriguing finds. First unearthed in Russia in the 1830s, the mineral astounded geologists with its almost unique optical 'colour-change' property, switching from raspberry-red to emerald-green dependent on incident light. There are some wonderful apocryphal stories behind the discovery of alexandrite whose colours were said to represent the country of its birth. Purportedly found on the day of the coming of age of the young Tsarevitch Alexander II, alexandrite was eponymously named in his honour.
While the original deposits from Russia were a marvel at the time, and are still greatly treasured for their rarity, those more recently unearthed in Brazil are truly sensational. The newer material exhibits a fabulous vivid turquoise-green to deep amethyst-purple colour change, and this necklace is a superbly well-matched group of the finest specimens. Alexandrite is, to me, the most aesthetically beautiful, scientifically interesting, and historically fascinating gemstone; and as a jewel, this is an exceptional collection of such sophisticated gems'