Professional Jeweler Archive: Rare Gifts

March 2005

Merchandise | Gemstones

Rare Gifts

B&M Imports will launch a jewelry collection featuring rare alexandrites

By Robert Weldon, G.G.

Alexandrite, a member of the chrysoberyl family, is the poster child for gemstone rarity and has been coveted since it was first discovered near the Takovaya River in Russia’s Ural Mountains in the mid-1800s.

These gems’ color-change phenomenon captivates the imagination of jewelers and consumers, but not enough have been found to establish repeatable collections.

Until now. Recent finds of fine color-change alexandrites at Malacacheta and Hematita in Brazil have excited enthusiasts who had grown used to the small sizes and quantities available sporadically in Sri Lanka, Africa and Madagascar.

At their best, alexandrites are bluish green in daylight or fluorescent light and turn raspberry red under incandescent light. The colors are coincidentally those of old imperial Russia; in fact the gem was named after Czar Alexander II.

Enter Mark Henry Alexandrites

It’s the gems’ characteristics of rarity and beauty that recently caught the attention of jewelry designers at B&M Imports, New York City.

For inspiration, B&M Imports owner Mois Medine drew parallels with his sons, Mark and Henry. “Just like these two kids, alexandrite seems to have a color for each mood,” he says. “Henry is a morning person who loves nature and the color green, while his brother Mark is a night owl with as vibrant a personality as the color red. They are two brothers and best friends.” For Medine, it seemed natural to name the new line of alexandrite jewelry after the equally rare personalities of his sons.

B&M Imports plans to launch the Mark Henry® Alexandrites collection during the JCK Show in Las Vegas this summer, but a limited amount of new material means the line will not be extensive. They add that, because of rarity, alexandrites will remain in the realm of exclusive and expensive.

B&M Imports notes the following characteristics must be taken into consideration when shopping for alexandrite jewelry:

Depth of color change: Alexandrite can exhibit between 5% and 100% color change. Look for deep green and deep red hues.

Clarity: While depth of color change is the most important consideration, cleaner stones are more valuable than highly included ones.

Size: Most alexandrites are about a carat. Prices increase dramatically for larger sizes.

• B&M Imports Inc., New York City; (212) 986-5700.

A selection of alexandrite jewelry from the Mark Henry Alexandrite Collection shown in fluorescent and incandescent light.

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications