Abundant alexandrite deposits were first discovered in 1830 in Russia’s Ural Mountains. Those first alexandrites were of very fine quality and displayed vivid hues and dramatic colour change. The gem was named after the young Alexander II, heir apparent to the throne. It caught the country’s attention because its red and green colours mirrored the Imperial Russian flag. The spectacular Ural Mountain deposits didn’t last forever, and now most alexandrite comes from Sri Lanka, East Africa and Brazil. The newer deposits contain some fine-quality stones, but many display less-precise colour change and muddier hues than the nineteenth-century Russian alexandrites. You’ll still find estate jewellery set with some of the famed Ural Mountain alexandrites. They remain the quality standard for this phenomenal gemstone.