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Extravagant Alexandrites Sold at Christies and Sotheby's Auctions

Justin Zaroovabeli
December 22, 2023

A gemstone that shifts its colors with the light, steeped in history and adorned by royalty, Alexandrite is a captivating jewel that enchants collectors and connoisseurs alike. In this blog post, we will unveil the allure and mystique of this rare gemstone, explore its fascinating color change, and delve into what the top 10 most expensive Alexandrites ever sold at Christies and Sotheby’s auction houses were.

The Allure of Alexandrites

blue and purple version of the same alexandrite stone
Image Credit: Sotheby's

Alexandrite, a variety of Chrysoberyl, is one of the extremely rare and most valuable gemstones in the world, prized for its unique ability to exhibit color-changing properties. From the moment it was discovered in the Ural mountains in Russia in 1830, Alexandrite has captivated the hearts of collectors and connoisseurs alike, with its rarity and beauty making it as valuable as a blue diamond, a precious gem in its own right.

This legendary gemstone owes its allure to two key factors: its fascinating color shift and its historical significance. We will now explore these aspects in detail, revealing the secrets that make Alexandrites so enchanting.

Alexandrite's Fascinating Color Shift

The most distinguishing feature of Alexandrite is its remarkable capacity to change colors from green to red/purple under varying lighting conditions. Under daylight or fluorescent light, this stunning gemstone exhibits a greenish-blue or teal color, akin to that of an emerald. Conversely, when viewed under incandescent or candlelight, the color of the object changes to a profound purplish-red or a ruby-like tint.

This color-changing property is due to the presence of chromium, the trace element responsible for the color change in Alexandrites. The ability to shift colors, including a dark pink hue, adds to the mystique and desirability of this elusive gemstone, setting it apart from other precious stones and making it highly sought after in the gemstone world.

Historical Significance and Contemporary Elegance

In addition to its mesmerizing color shift, Alexandrite’s rich history adds to its allure. Initially discovered in the emerald mines near the Tokovaya River in Russia’s Ural mountains, Alexandrite soon became associated with the Russian nobility. The stone’s red and green colors mirrored the Old Imperial Russia military colors, making Alexandrite as sought-after as pink diamonds and the famed Rockefeller Emerald. Over the years, the gemstone has remained a symbol of elegance and refinement, making it a popular choice for collectors and connoisseurs.

Today, Alexandrite can be found in various regions around the globe, including Brazil, India, and Madagascar, each with its distinct color and quality characteristics. The rarest and most valuable Alexandrites, however, are still those from Russia, with their unrivaled color change and exquisite beauty. As we explore the world of Alexandrite, it becomes evident that this gemstone’s historical significance and contemporary elegance continue to captivate collectors and gem enthusiasts alike.

Most Expensive Alexandrites Sold at Auction

three different shaped alexandrites

The allure of Alexandrites has led to some staggering prices at auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

We will now delve into the most expensive Alexandrites ever sold at auction, highlighting the astonishing value these gemstones can command and what contributes to their high valuations.

Exploring the World's Most Expensive Alexandrite Auctions

Auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s have witnessed some of the most expensive Alexandrite auctions in history. In 2014, an unmounted 21.41-carat Alexandrite was sold at a Christie’s auction for approximately $1.4 million, setting the record for the most expensive Alexandrite ever sold at auction. Another noteworthy Alexandrite auction took place at Sotheby’s, where a 26-carat Ceylon Alexandrite was sold for 1,325,000 Swiss Francs.

These record-breaking Alexandrite auctions highlight the gemstone’s global appeal and the astronomical prices that collectors are willing to pay for these rare and stunning gemstones. The factors affecting the value of Alexandrites include:

  • Carat weight
  • Color change
  • Color
  • Clarity
  • Cut
  • Origin

Auctioned Alexandrites that Commanded Staggering Prices

Among the most expensive Alexandrites sold at auction are the 7.62-carat Alexandrite from Sri Lanka, the 7.02-carat Alexandrite from Russia, and the 6.54-carat Alexandrite from India. These gemstones commanded astonishing prices due to their rarity, size, and quality.

In addition, the origin of the gemstone plays a significant role in its valuation, with Russian Alexandrites being the most sought-after and valuable.

As we explore the world of Alexandrite auctions, it is clear that these extraordinary gemstones, boasting gem quality, continue to captivate collectors and demand staggering prices, much like the famed Oppenheimer Blue Diamond, the elusive Pink Star Diamond, and the stunning Sunrise Ruby.

Factors Influencing Alexandrite Value

blue oval shaped alexandrite

Understanding the factors that influence Alexandrite’s value is crucial for collectors and connoisseurs looking to invest in these rare and valuable gemstones. We will now provide a comprehensive guide to evaluating Alexandrite’s worth, discussing the factors that influence its value and ways to determine the gemstone’s true worth.

Evaluating Alexandrite's Worth

When evaluating Alexandrite’s worth, it is essential to consider several factors, including:

  • Color change: The gemstone’s color shift is its most unique and desirable characteristic.
  • Clarity: It affects the gemstone’s general appearance and radiance.
  • Cut: The quality of the cut can greatly impact the gemstone’s brilliance and overall beauty.
  • Carat weight: The size of the gemstone can also affect its value.

Considering these factors will help determine the value of an Alexandrite gemstone.

Size and origin are additional factors that can have a considerable influence on Alexandrite’s value. Larger stones are commonly more valuable, as they are scarcer and more impressive. The origin of the stone also plays a significant role in determining its value, as gemstones sourced from specific regions are often highly prized for their unique characteristics and qualities.

Understanding the Influential Factors in Alexandrite Valuation

To better understand the various factors that contribute to an Alexandrite’s value, it is essential to consider the gemstone’s color and clarity, size and cut, and origin and rarity. Color and clarity are two of the most essential elements in assessing the value of an Alexandrite, as they greatly impact the gemstone’s appearance and allure.

The size and cut of an Alexandrite can have a considerable influence on its value, as larger stones are more valuable due to their scarcity and impact. The cut of the stone also influences its value, as a well-cut stone will have greater brilliance and sparkle.

The Role of Auction Houses in the Gemstone Market

pear shaped purple alexandrite

Auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s play a significant role in the gemstone market, influencing the dynamics of the industry and establishing records for the highest prices paid for Alexandrites.

We will now explore the powerhouses in the gemstone market and delve into how auction houses drive the gemstone market dynamics.

Spotlight on Auction Houses: Powerhouses in the Gemstone Market

Auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s are renowned for their influence on gemstone prices and trends. They offer a platform for the buying and selling of high-value gemstones, displaying them to an informed audience. The powerhouses in the gemstone market include the United States, China, India, Japan, and Middle Eastern countries, with notable centers for diamond cutting and jewelry manufacturing located in Surat, India, and Jaipur, India, which is acclaimed for colored gemstone cutting and jewelry production.

These powerhouses have a considerable impact on gemstone prices and trends, establishing the prices of gemstones and determining the trends in the gemstone market. Additionally, they possess the capability to influence the demand for certain gemstones, which can have an effect on the prices of those gemstones.

Bidding Brilliance: How Auction Houses Drive the Gemstone Market Dynamics

Auction houses contribute to the gemstone market dynamics through their meticulous curation and advertisement of remarkable gemstones, creating stories that appeal to prospective purchasers and collectors. Furthermore, they create a vigorous bidding atmosphere, which can escalate the prices of gemstones. Moreover, auction houses provide a definite sale date, giving assurance to vendors, and there is no upper limit on the prices that can be attained through bidding.

The bidding process can have a considerable effect on gemstone values, generating a competitive atmosphere that can drive up prices. Moreover, the fixed sale date provided by auction houses can offer assurance for sellers, and there is no maximum limit on the prices that can be attained through bidding.

As we explore the world of auction houses and the gemstone market, it is clear that these institutions play a crucial role in shaping the industry and its dynamics.

Famous Alexandrite Collections

pink purple alexandite ring with diamonds
Image Credit: Sotheby's

Throughout history, Alexandrites have been collected and admired by royalty and connoisseurs alike. We will now take a journey through the world’s most famous Alexandrite collections, including royal and renowned collections throughout history, and explore Alexandrite collections from around the world.

Royal and Renowned Alexandrite Collections Throughout History

The Russian Alexandrite collections are widely considered to be the most desirable variety of Alexandrite gemstones, with a long-standing association with nobility and renowned for their beauty and rarity.

Another famous Alexandrite collection is the Fabergé Alexandrite collection, crafted by the renowned jewelry maker Fabergé in the late 1800s and early twentieth century. These collections display the beauty and scarcity of Alexandrite gemstones, showcasing the gemstone’s enduring allure and its association with royalty and high society.

Exploring Alexandrite Collections from Around the World

Alexandrite collections from around the world demonstrate the gemstone’s worldwide appeal and lasting fascination. Noteworthy Alexandrite collections found globally include the Rubeus Imperial Alexandrite collection, The Rare Gem collection, and the Russian Alexandrite collection.

These collections showcase the enduring allure of Alexandrite, as collectors and connoisseurs from various regions appreciate the gemstone’s unique color-changing properties and historical significance. As we explore Alexandrite collections from around the world, it becomes evident that this gemstone’s global appeal and mystique continue to captivate the hearts of collectors and gem enthusiasts alike.

Tips for Purchasing Alexandrites at Auction from Rare Gem

pair of alexandrites on a plate

Purchasing Alexandrites at auction can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor, but it's crucial to approach it with knowledge and strategy. At The Rare Gem, we offer valuable tips to ensure a successful acquisition. Firstly, do your research; understanding Alexandrite's quality indicators and historical auction prices will empower you to make informed decisions. Additionally, set a budget and stick to it, as auction excitement can sometimes lead to overspending. Attend previews whenever possible to physically examine the gem, or request detailed photos and certificates. Lastly, be patient and selective; not every stone is the perfect fit. With our guidance and expertise, you can navigate Alexandrite auctions with confidence and secure a cherished gem for your collection.

Smart Bidding Strategies

Developing smart bidding strategies is crucial when purchasing Alexandrites at auction. It is advised to conduct research on the gemstone, comprehend the auction process, and be cognizant of the auction house’s terms and conditions. Subscribing to auction house newsletters, following auction house social media accounts, and researching past auction results can help one monitor auction platforms and analyze price history.

Moreover, collaborating with a gemstone specialist can assist one in making knowledgeable decisions concerning the acquisition of Alexandrites at auction, as they can furnish useful information regarding the present market prices and the excellence of the gemstone. These strategies will ensure collectors get the best value for their investment while acquiring Alexandrites with confidence.

Expert Advice for Acquiring Alexandrites with Confidence

To confidently acquire Alexandrites at auction, it is essential to understand the gemstone’s value and ensure its authenticity. When examining the color, cut, clarity, and pricing of the stone, it is prudent to:

  • Look for reputable sellers who provide certifications
  • Closely inspect the color, cut, clarity, and pricing of the stone
  • Be wary of deals that appear too good to be true

Ultimately, acquiring Alexandrites with confidence requires thorough research, understanding the factors that influence the gemstone’s value, and seeking expert advice. By following these guidelines, collectors can ensure they make informed decisions when purchasing these rare and valuable gemstones at auction.

Frequently Asked Questions

What color of Alexandrite is the most expensive?

The most expensive Alexandrite is the one with red to purplish-red hues in artificial light and green to bluish-green hues in daylight, with strong to moderately strong color saturation.

How much is a high quality alexandrite worth?

High quality Alexandrite is highly sought after and can cost up to $70,000 per carat for stones over 1 carat in size. However, smaller stones can cost around $15,000 per carat, depending on their clarity, degree of color change, origin and other factors.

What causes the color change in Alexandrite?

Alexandrite's color changing properties are a result of its chromium content, which causes the gemstone to appear differently under various lighting conditions.

What are some famous Alexandrite collections?

Some of the most renowned Alexandrite collections include the Russian and Fabergé collections.

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