Anyone thinking of Russian Gemstones will more than likely think of those beautifully decorated Faberge Eggs that have become so valuable and sought after over the years. These ornate eggs are made up of many individual types of stones that are found right across Russia.
Rarity and Beauty
One of the rarest and most striking examples of Russian stones is Alexandrite. Named after Tsar Alexander II, the first Russian Alexandrite crystals were excavated in 1834 and because of its ability to show as both red and green – the colours of Imperialist Russia – it was quickly adopted as the national stone.
The scarcity of Alexandrite combined with its almost unique beauty makes it so valuable and so desirable. It appears bluish green in daylight and turns to a delicate red as the light begins to fade and this charming and striking characteristic means that it is one of the most famous of all Russian gemstones.
These days, the supply of Alexandrite in Russia is almost exhausted. It was thought that the stone was unique to this country but in the mid 1980’s, quantities were uncovered in Brazil. While this is good news for stocks of Alexandrite, maybe a little of the mystery has gone after its discovery on another continent.
Diamond Mining is big business in Russia and at Mirna, the country boasts the largest open pit diamond mine in the world.
There are other vast mines across the country and they can be found in abundance in Siberia. Russian blue diamonds are among the most sought after with their dazzling beauty. You can read more in our article about Russian diamonds.
Unakite isn’t widely known outside of the United States where it was first discovered in the Unakas Mountains of North Carolina. It is fairly abundant in the US but it is also mined in much smaller quantities in Russia, where its distinctive mottled green colour is used in many forms of jewellery.
Russian Unakite can also be found in large individual blocks which are suitable for carving and as a result, Unakite animals are a popular souvenir for many who visit the country. Paperweights are another popular item that can be derived from the precious stone.
Many more to Discover
Amazonite is another precious gemstone that originated almost exclusively from Russia. Originally found in the Ilmen Mountains near Chelyabinsk, this is a striking green stone with a bright, almost fluorescent hue.
It is extremely delicate so while it is made into jewellery, it is notoriously difficult to cut and can fracture very easily. It is typical therefore to buy Amazonite in its natural crystal state and it is associated with many healing properties. Above all, the stone is believed to be incredibly calming and that alone makes it popular amongst gemstone buyers.
All over Russia, there are many fine examples of quartz and jade that sit alongside some of the rarer gemstones that have been featured here. Russian gemstones were rather indirectly brought to the public’s attention by those striking Faberge crystal eggs but there are some beautiful examples across the country that are well worth exploring.