Too Big to Be True Alexandrite?

by Emily
(Duluth, MN)

I was handed down an 'alexandrite' ring from a relative in the UK. She was given the ring maybe 40 yrs ago from her mother in law.. Very simple setting.. Just the one stone all by its self.

Here's the thing.. It's quite large! Roughly the size of a large blueberry.. For lack of a better example..I can send pictures, but the clarity to the naked eye is pretty good, the color changes are like a weird (kinda ugly-reminds me of when a bunch of watercolors blend together and it's what the end result may be...) blue green color..(with like a kaleidoscope look of colors make this color up..) and it then turns to like this purplish red color..kind of pretty but not a vibrant purple..

I was lead to believe this ring was real and it was originally supposed to be willed to me upon their death but certain circumstances caused them to give it to me early.. So it was quite a to-do within my family for me to get this ring! I don't know of any places here in my town that can authenticate it and I am too afraid to just pop it in the mail off to GIA in CA!! God only knows if/what I get back!lol

So I am just looking to see how I can tell if it's real.. Like I had mentioned I can send photos if they'd help.. Just can't with this post-using my iPhone and assuming I can't upload them from this.. Will have to use a computer if pics are needed...

Thank you for any help you can give!!:) Emily

Hi Emily,

The only way you can ever know if the ring handed down to you contains a genuine alexandrite is to have the ring evaluated by a certified gemologist. So, here are some tips which can help you to decide if your ring may indeed be a real alexandrite ring and where to go for an evaluation.

Alexandrite is quite rare, and even rarer in the size you mentioned. An eye clean alexandrite of that size could possibly be worth well over $50,000 and even more than $100,000 if it has great color change characteristics.

Alexandrite has always been a very highly valued and rare gemstone, and for a genuine gemstone ring of that value most families keep a receipt and/or recall where the ring was purchased. If the ring did not come with a receipt or some type of story of where the ring was purchased – that would make me a little concerned about the authenticity of the gemstone.

A ring of this value too would have to be purchased by a person that was financially well off – if the mother in law who initially handed down this ring was from a well to do family, then it is possible you could have a real alexandrite ring on your hands (pun intended!). But, if her family was not financially set, it probably is not real alexandrite.

The workmanship and materials of the ring can also provide a clue as to the authenticity of the gemstone. Alexandrite is so precious that real alexandrite rings are usually created with either platinum or 22K/18K gold. A ring though made with 9K, 10K or 14K gold or silver most likely does not contain a real alexandrite gemstone.

Keep in mind too that a real alexandrite has to exhibit a certain type of color change to be classified as an alexandrite – otherwise it is just a color change chrysoberyl gemstone. Alexandrite color changes usually have to range from shades of blue green, green or light yellow green in the sunlight to shades of orange red, red or purple red under incandescent light.

There should be a clear difference between the color displays under sunlight vs. incandescent light. The ‘bunch of watercolors’ description you mentioned does remind me of chrysoberyl (also a rare gemstone but not valued as highly as alexandrite), but it’s difficult to say for sure without seeing how the gemstone appears in person under different lights.

Taking these points into consideration though, will only offer a few clues about the authenticity of the ring. To find out for sure if your ring holds a true alexandrite, you must have the gemstone evaluated by a gemologist.

I can understand your concerns for mailing the ring to a laboratory – you can be rest assured though that the Gemological Institute of America is one of the most well known and respected gemological laboratories in the world. BUT – I have to admit that I would not feel comfortable sending an item like that through the mail.

You could always use the services of a secure courier service instead – but you may also want to search for a certified gemologist located in Minneapolis.

I would recommend visiting the American Gem Society and using the ‘Find a Jeweler’ tool to locate an AGS certified gemologist in Minneapolis. I know that is about a 2.5 hour drive from where you are, but that is the only way to obtain a true answer to your question.

Call a few gemologists and ask them if they can authenticate your alexandrite ring, and then schedule an appointment so you can bring the ring in and be present while the ring is being checked. One more thing – an appraisal by a certified gemologist will also come in handy if you need to insure the ring.

I hope this info helps – we would love to hear the conclusion of this mystery, so if you do have the ring evaluated write back and let us know how it turned out!


Suzanne Gardner
Everything Wedding Rings

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Large Alexandrite Gemstone

by Chantal

I have inherited a large alexandrite pendant, set in gold, from my mother. It is 40-50 years old. I have no idea of its value. My mother has an extensive collection of amazing jewelry. She is sure all her stones are real but after reading about alexandrites, I realize large stones are extremely rare...mine is 2cm by 1.5cm. I may have an amazingly beautiful fake or a treasure.

Hello Chantal,

That is quite an impressive stone! But as you mentioned, it is very rare to find alexandrite in that size.

If your mother had passed downs some type of history with the gemstone - like where she purchased it or even a receipt - it could help you to determine if the gemstone is real or not.

Alexandrite has always been a precious and rare gemstone, so even when your mother purchased it a real alexandrite stone like that would probably have been priced in the tens of thousands of dollars range.

The only way to know is to take the gemstone to a reputable gemologist for an evaluation. If it is real, it could be worth well over $50,000 dollars - but it could also be a color change chrysoberyl gemstone (still of value but considerably less than alexandrite) or even cut colored glass. It is possible that it could be a different type of gemstone too - such as an amethyst, garnet, or a rubellite tourmaline.

Either way, I hope you can have the stone evaluated and appraised. It really is quite beautiful!

Thank-you for sharing your pics, and do contact us again if you ever find out what type of gemstone it is.

Suzanne Gardner

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