Alexandrite is a member of the Chrysoberyl family of gemstones and is known for its fascinating colour change effect from red to green. It was first discovered in 1834 by the mineralogist Nordenskiöld in the Ural Mountains of Russia when it was initially mistaken for emerald as it had been found very close to an emerald mine. However further detailed examination of the gemstone, and the discovery by candlelight of its extraordinary ability to change colour, resulted in its being declared a new and exciting variety of gem altogether. It is said that the first Alexandrite was discovered on the very day that the young heir to the Russian throne, Tsar Alexander II, turned 16 and came of age. It was therefore only fitting that this new gemstone be named in his honour. Not only was Alexandrite discovered on this auspicious day, but the colours of the gemstone mirrored the colours of Imperial Russia and it wasn’t long before it was heralded as the official gemstone of the Tsars. Further discoveries of Alexandrite were made soon after in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and for many years these two places were the only known sources of this exceptional gemstone.