It is no secret that alexandrites are one of the rarest gemstones in the world. Long prized for their color-changing ability, it is even rarer to find an alexandrite with strong color-changing intensity and of significant size. However, the few that have been found are quite notable and can be found in many prominent private collections and museums.
The Whitney Alexandrite
The Whitney Alexandrite is 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, of whom the alexandrite was named.
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 for 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, where sadly it was removed following Sauer’s passing away. Since then, the whereabouts of the massive alexandrite is unknown. Museum staff are either unaware of the alexandrite’s existence or refuse to discuss it.
Outside of Russia, the most prestigious alexandrite mines are in Brazil. While many of the Brazilian deposits have dwindled in recent years, the 1980s were a booming era for alexandrites in Brazil. Some of the world’s finest alexandrites were mined in Brazil during this time, 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 remains one of the largest consumer markets for alexandrites today. In fact, the world’s largest faceted alexandrite belongs to a private collector in Japan. This gemstone weighs an astronomical 141.92 carats, with dimensions of 34.42 x 27.38 x 15.00mm. While little else is known about this alexandrite (or its owner) it is estimated to be valued at over $100 million!