Stones by zodiac signs

What is more expensive: diamond or alexandrite?

In Europe, this mineral was considered a symbol of falling in love and at the same time jealousy, which was facilitated by a change in its color: from calm green to the red color of rage. In Sri Lanka, where alexandrite is found in placers, and in India it is called the stone of prosperity, it symbolizes longevity, protects against leprosy, scabies and other diseases, including alcoholism. It supposedly cleanses the blood, strengthens blood vessels, and regulates blood circulation. This is one of the favorite stones of clergy, it stimulates the brain and pacifies the soul. Alexandrite is the most valuable variety of chrysoberyl. In appearance, it is so different from other varieties of chrysoberyl that it seems incredible that they belong to the same mineral. The faint play of light in ordinary daylight and the remarkable change in color observed in artificial light shrouded this dark stone in a shroud of mystery. Alexandrite has a bluish green, grass green, or deep olive green coloration. Ural alexandrites have a bluish-green color, while stones from Ceylon have a deep olive green color. It was named in 1842 in honor of the Russian Tsar Alexander II (then Tsarevich), since the year of the first discovery of the stone in the Urals coincided with his coming of age. But it seems that this mineral was known, but not diagnosed, much earlier, but it was mistaken for another: in the XNUMXth century, a Polovtsian khan was buried in Zaporozhye, on whose ring finger archaeologists discovered a wonderful gold ring with alexandrite. This rarest gemstone in Russia was called a symbol of sadness and loneliness – the widow’s stone. And if a woman decided to wear a ring with alexandrite after the death of a person close to her, then it was recommended to wear it in pairs with a second ring, including any other stone, so that misfortune would not happen. Apparently, the reason for the emergence of these beliefs was the assassination of Alexander II, and in Russia this gem was revered as his stone. After the assassination of the Tsar in 1881, alexandrite came into particular fashion: many monarchists tried to buy it in memory of the Tsar. Moreover, two diamonds were inserted into such rings along with the alexandrite itself, which personified Alexander II himself and the two main acts of his reign: the abolition of serfdom and the establishment of a new legal process. Alexandrite has noticeable pleochroism. The colors violet-red, orange-yellow and emerald green correspond to the lowest, average and highest refractive indices. All of these colors are clearly distinguishable, especially the first and third, and no gemstone phenomenon is more striking than the red and green highlights emitted by faceted alexandrite when light passes through the stone in a particular direction. This is a very rare gem: many jewelers have only heard about its existence. This was also facilitated by the fact that among the Ural miners there was a belief: if alexandrite is found in an emerald mine, all hopes of finding good emeralds are in vain, so the miners were afraid of such meetings and tried not to notice this stone, so as not to “scare off” the emerald. Moreover, it was not valued for a long time. Suffice it to say that the largest alexandrite jewelry crystal was found in the Urals and weighed 532 carats. It was valued at 25 thousand rubles (now it would cost a thousand times more), but there was no buyer, and it was divided into several pieces. The fashion for alexandrite, as you know, came later. An Alexandrite set is always grandma’s most valuable heirloom. However, the harsh reality is this: in Soviet times, people were extremely ignorant in jewelry matters, and also extremely gullible, so very often our elderly relatives were sold banal corundum, and sometimes synthetic ones, at a fabulous price for Soviet times. The fact is that corundums obtained by synthesis often have the so-called alexandrite effect, which makes them similar to the legendary stone. However, do not rush to take your “grandmother’s alexandrite” to an expert gemologist for diagnosis if you value the health of a loved one. Indeed, for several generations of your family, the jewel has been a source of pride and admiration, so let it remain so. After all, it doesn’t matter whether it’s alexandrite or ordinary corundum; in any case, the stone is an integral part of the history of your family, which keeps the warmth of generations. It should also be emphasized that stones that appear on the market under the name “artificial alexandrite” are in fact synthetic corundum or synthetic spinel. A visiting tourist should be very careful when buying alexandrite in Colombo. If he gives in to temptation, he may purchase a charming stone, but at a price much higher than what such synthetic stones are sold for in London. Currently, in jewelry stores in the capital you can find products made from the so-called synthetic alexandrite, which has nothing in common with natural stone. This is a regular ruby ​​with an alexandrite effect, which provides a small admixture of vanadium. In addition to the Hope Chrysoberyl, the British Museum of Natural History houses another, slightly darker, yellowish-green stone weighing 29,35 carats, as well as two exceptionally beautiful alexandrites from Ceylon weighing 43 and 27,5 carats. The stone is found in very small quantities here in the Urals, and abroad – in Brazil, the USA, Zambia, Tanzania, Sri Lanka and Madagascar, but the Ural samples remain unsurpassed in beauty.
So what is the price of this legendary treasure and is it worth starting the hunt for it? Here are some data from international price catalogs for precious stones: alexandrite from the Urals, faceted, with a strong color change effect, pure, weighing 1-3 carats – from 2 to 20 thousand US dollars per carat; the same, slightly fractured, 6 carats – from 6 to 20 thousand dollars per carat. Less pure, also from the Urals – from 1 to 4 thousand dollars per carat. Is it worth paying that kind of money NOT for a diamond? Weird question. The Russian jewelry industry is bursting with an abundance of high-quality diamonds and inserts them into banal jewelry. And alexandrite is a stone-symbol of Russian jewelry history, so Leskov, in his story “Alexandrite,” through the mouth of an old garnet cutter, admires the magic stone. Of course, it’s up to you to decide whether to wear jewelry “pop” or real art. After all, as you know, “girls’ best friends” will remain just friends, but true beauty is eternal. Rice. 1. Alexandrite from the collection www.redkiekamni.ru.

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Diamond is a symbol of eternity and indestructibility. It is considered to be the most valuable and desirable jewelry stone. And a good investment. But it was not always so. And even now colored stones are gaining ground. Larion Kantor, an expert in the field of jewelry stones and founder of the Larion Kantor company, spoke to Esquire about the trends in the modern jewelry market.

“It is quite difficult to unambiguously distribute stones in ascending order of price. The cost of each piece depends on the place of origin, weight, color, inclusions, fluorescence, crystallinity, and cut quality. Two stones of the same size can be similar in appearance, but differ many times in price,” – explains Larion Kantor.

Therefore, some positions from our rating may compete with each other, which does not make them less valuable. It is also impossible to compare stones of different types of the same carat with each other. For example, finding an unheated one-carat ruby ​​on the market may be more difficult than finding a 5-carat Paraiba tourmaline.

As for diamonds, the high cost of this mineral is partly due to a successful PR campaign by De Beers, the world leader in diamond mining and the author of the famous slogan “Diamonds are forever.” It was they who, in the middle of the last century, convinced girls all over the world that diamonds were their best friends. However, in recent years, colored gemstones have begun to regain the title of the most expensive minerals. Which of them are more expensive than diamonds today?

Ruby

A deep red stone with a sparkle inside that flashes in the sunlight with every movement. This is what a Burmese ruby ​​of Pigeon blood color looks like, which has been mined in the Mogok Valley in southeast Asia for many centuries. Today these minerals have become a real rarity. Almost all stones mined in Burma undergo a process of refining, that is, artificially increasing their aesthetic properties. Most often this is heat treatment or filling cracks with lead glass. But it is natural, unrefined rubies that become the object of hunting for collectors and investors. The cost of such a stone weighing 1 carat increased in 2021 from 7,5 to 15 thousand dollars. And specimens weighing more than 3 carats, as a rule, immediately go to auction, where their price can be tens of times higher than the estimate.

The price of Paraiba tourmalines on the market is growing rapidly. In 2021, stones weighing 7-8 carats increased in price from 6 to 15 thousand dollars per carat. It is noteworthy that at this price, Paraiba does not belong to the list of precious stones, the list of which usually includes diamond, alexandrite, sapphire, emerald and ruby. This mineral was one of the first to show the inconsistency of the term “semi-precious,” which modern gemologists refuse to use.

The most expensive and largest Paraiba tourmaline is called Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba. This stone weighing 192 carats became the central element of a necklace by the jewelry house Kaufmann de Suisse, which is estimated at $125 million.

Sapphire

Sapphires are siblings of rubies. These gemstones are the same mineral corundum and differ in the content of impurities responsible for the color of the stone. And if red specimens are considered rubies, the palette of sapphires is incomparably richer: from deep blue to orange-yellow shades.

Among blue sapphires, stones of Kashmir origin in Royal Blue or Cornflower Blue colors are of particular value. “Royal” color stones have a deep, rich blue tint, while “cornflower blue” color is lighter and less intense.

As in the case of rubies, unheated specimens without refining are of particular value. Today the cost of one such 3-carat sapphire reaches $30 thousand per carat. And the most expensive specimen was the Blue Belle of Asia sapphire weighing 392,52 carats. It was sold in 2014 at a Christie’s auction for $17,3 million, which amounted to $44 thousand per carat.

Another sapphire favorite comes from the opposite end of the color palette. The orange-pink corundums, the color of the sunset sky, are called “Padparadscha”, which means “lotus color”. Deposits of these rare stones were discovered in Vietnam, Tanzania, Thailand and Madagascar, but the specimens from Sri Lanka are of the greatest value.

The most expensive item with a Padparadscha sapphire was a ring with a stone of 28,04 carats. It was sold at Christie’s in 2017 for $2 million.

Emerald

This mineral boasts perhaps the largest range of prices for individual stones. The fact is that natural emeralds almost always contain a large number of cracks and are oiled to improve their aesthetic properties. It is becoming more and more difficult to find untreated stones of jewelry or investment quality every year. In addition, as with all precious stones, the color of the stone plays an important role in determining the price. The most valuable are the rich green shade Vivid Green from the Muzo deposit in Colombia. Such stones have quadrupled in price over the year. Thus, a 5-carat emerald has risen in price from 10 to 40 thousand dollars per carat, and individual specimens now significantly exceed this threshold.

The most expensive emerald was the Rockefeller Emerald weighing 18,04 carats. This Colombian emerald without any traces of refining was sold in 2017 at a Christie’s auction for $5,5 million ($305 thousand per carat), exceeding the preliminary estimate by 4 times.

“The price of each of these minerals increases annually by tens or even hundreds of percent, which makes them attractive not only to collectors, but also to investors. And the increasing demand as deposits are depleted shows that the desire to own something truly unique is always in fashion.”, says Larion Kantor.

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