Alexandrite is a rare and valuable gemstone that changes color depending on the type of lighting. The price of alexandrite varies greatly depending on the quality factors such as color change, clarity, cut, carat weight and source location. A 1 carat alexandrite can range in price from around $1,000 per carat for lower quality stones to over $20,000 per carat for very fine gems.
What is Alexandrite?
Alexandrite is a variety of chrysoberyl that displays a color change from green in daylight to red under incandescent light. This unique optical phenomenon makes alexandrite a highly prized gem. Natural alexandrite is only found in a few locations worldwide, principally Russia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, India, and Brazil. The rarity of this gem contributes to its high value.
The color change from bluish green to purplish red is most prized in alexandrite. Stones that display a strong change of color, along with good clarity and a pleasing cut, are the most valuable. The more subtle the color change, the lower the value per carat.
Alexandrite Quality Factors
Several key factors determine the value and price per carat of alexandrite:
The most important quality factor for alexandrite is the distinctiveness of the color change from green to red. Stones that display a vivid color change command the highest prices. The more subtle the change between green and red hues, the lower the per carat value.
As with other gemstones, the clarity rating of alexandrite affects value. Stones that are flawless or internally flawless (IF) are most rare and valuable. Inclusions and blemishes will decrease the per carat price.
Well-cut alexandrite displays excellent brilliance, fire and light performance. The quality of the cut greatly impacts value. Superior cutting maximizes the color change of alexandrite. A poorly cut stone will have less dramatic color shift and be less valuable.
Bigger is generally better when it comes to alexandrite carat weight. All else being equal, a 1 carat stone will be worth more than a 0.50 carat stone of similar quality. However, cut, clarity and color factors still take priority over carat size.
The source mine of alexandrite also affects value. Russian alexandrite, especially from the Ural Mountains, is considered the most desirable and commands higher per carat prices. Alexandrite from Sri Lanka is also highly valued. Stones from lesser known sources tend to have lower valuations.
With all of these quality factors affecting price, there can be a wide range in per carat valuations of alexandrite. Some general pricing guidelines for 1 carat stones:
Low Quality – $1,000 to $3,000 per carat
Alexandrite in this lower price range will display a visible but subtle color change. Stones will likely have noticeable inclusions, inferior cutting and less vivid color change. The country source may also be unknown or less desirable.
Average Quality – $3,000 to $7,000 per carat
Slightly better quality 1 carat alexandrite in this price bracket will show good color change and reasonable clarity. Cutting and source location will also be more favorable over lower grade material.
High Quality – $7,000 to $15,000 per carat
Top grade alexandrite in the 1 carat size exhibit vivid color shift, few inclusions, excellent cutting and known source locations like Russia or Sri Lanka. This category represents gems suitable for fine jewelry.
Very Fine Quality – Over $15,000 per carat
The finest alexandrite displays phenomenal color change, exceptional clarity (IF), ideal cut and premium sources. Gems with perfect green to red shift and no visible flaws exceed $20,000 per carat. These rare alexandrites are found in exclusive jewelry and collections.
1 Carat Alexandrite Price Examples
Based on the above alexandrite pricing guidelines, here are real-world price examples of 1 carat stones:
|1 carat, faint color change, included, fair cut||$2,500 per carat – $2,500 total|
|1 carat, moderate color change, lightly included, good cut||$5,000 per carat – $5,000 total|
|1 carat, strong color change, VVS clarity, very good cut||$10,000 per carat – $10,000 total|
|1 carat, vivid color change, IF clarity, excellent cut||$25,000 per carat – $25,000 total|
These examples illustrate how factors like color change, clarity, cut quality and source impact the market price of a 1 carat alexandrite. Superior quality gems sell for multiple times more than lower grade stones on a per carat basis.
Factors That May Increase Value
Certain characteristics can further increase the value of alexandrite beyond the normal pricing factors:
- Natural Gemstones – Synthetic lab-grown alexandrite is more affordable but natural gems always command higher pricing for their rarity.
- Untreated – Alexandrite that is untreated and unenhanced is more prized over treated stones.
- Russian Origin – Russian alexandrite, especially from the Ural Mountains, carries the most cachet and value premium.
- Historic Stones – Alexandrite with important provenance, like Russian gems from the 19th century, have added collectability.
- Unique Hues – Rare shades like greenish-blue to purple or teal to burgundy are more valuable.
These special attributes can mean premium pricing for exceptional alexandrite specimens well above the normal range. Provenance and unusual colors add to the rarity.
Large Sized Alexandrite
The per carat price of alexandrite increases progressively for larger stones. As size increases, high quality material becomes exponentially more rare and valuable. Some price examples of larger alexandrite:
|Alexandrite Size||Price Range|
|5 carats||$50,000 – $500,000|
|10 carats||$250,000 – $1,000,000+|
|20 carats||$1,000,000 – $5,000,000+|
Larger alexandrites over 5 carats very quickly reach six and seven figure price levels due to their utmost rarity. A 5 carat stone could be $100,000 while a 20 carat may list for $2 million or more at auction. These giant gems are truly world-class treasures.
Where to Buy Alexandrite
For purchasing alexandrite, these are some reputable options:
- Online Dealers – Trusted online sellers have extensive inventories of certified alexandrite and offer secure purchasing.
- Jewelry Stores – High-end jewelers, especially those specializing in estate jewelry, carry select alexandrite.
- Auction Houses – The major auctioneers like Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams sell investment-grade alexandrite.
- Gem Shows – Dealers bring fine alexandrite to trade shows like Tucson Gem & Mineral Show.
Always request a lab certificate from a respected grading lab like GIA or AGL to verify authenticity. An accredited gemologist appraisal is also recommended for very valuable stones.
Alexandrite Investment Potential
Due to its rarity and prestige, alexandrite can be considered a colored gemstone investment:
- Very limited supply of fine quality material puts upward pressure on prices.
- Increasing popularity and demand for alexandrite, especially in China.
- Top colored gems have historically appreciated in value over decades.
- Alexandrite has outperformed many stock market benchmarks.
- Large investment-grade stones over 5 carats offer most upside potential.
However, the gemstone market is less liquid than stocks or bonds. Alexandrite requires more specialized knowledge to trade at maximum value. Consult a qualified appraiser on the investment merits of specific alexandrite gems.
Alexandrite Engagement Rings
The color-changing properties of alexandrite make it a truly unique choice for engagement rings. Here are some considerations for alexandrite engagement rings:
- Select stones with vibrant color change – this is the most alluring feature.
- Choose platinum or white gold settings to maximize color pop.
- Consider rose gold mounting to complement reddish hues.
- Surround center stone with white diamonds or moissanite for brilliance.
- Cushion, oval and emerald cuts optimize alexandrite color play.
- Purchase GIA certified center stone for added confidence.
- Work with experienced jeweler familiar with custom alexandrite rings.
A one carat alexandrite of fine quality in an engagement ring setting could range from $7,000 to $20,000+ depending on the band and side stones. The mesmerizing dual color makes alexandrite a truly exceptional choice for bridal jewelry.
In summary, a one carat alexandrite can vary greatly in price from around $1,000 per carat for lower quality material to over $20,000 per carat for exceptional gems. Factors like strong color change, high clarity, fine cutting and Russian origin drive the highest values. Alexandrite has rare characteristics and limited supply that make it one of the most captivating and valuable colored gemstones. With proper selection and setting, it is a unique choice for engagement rings and other fine jewelry.