Post Lot Text
On its discovery in the Ural Mountains circa 1830, Alexandrite was known as the Christmas Stone due to its special optical effect of colour change, glowing a rich bluish-green in sunlight and turning a deep raspberry red colour in incandescent or candle light. The discovery of the gem is said to have coincided with the twelfth birthday of the young Tzarevitch, Alexander, and the fact that the colours of the Tsarist Court were also red and green were seen as very favourable signs. It was only natural therefore for the gem to be renamed Alexandrite and it soon became a favourite among the Russian nobility.
By the early 1900s the original source in the Ural Mountains was exhausted. It was only in the late 1980s that new sources of these stones were discovered in Brazil and later in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. Due to its size, pronounced colour change and exceptional clarity, lot 579 is truly a rare example of these phenomenal gems.