All Things Bright and Beautiful

Perhaps I have not mentioned my secret passion before now in this external monologue. It is a fancy I've cultivated slowly, quietly - but in private corners my mind is ablaze with the brilliance of precious gems.

They captivate me. Embarassingly, it is a predictable and stereotypically feminine (and vain) thing to be in the thrall of what are essentially shiny rocks. But I can't help myself! I simply cannot learn enough about them - their formation, chemical composition, crystalline structure, history, origin, varieties, cuts, evaluation of their value, the various treatments they may be subjected to, their synthetic impostors, everything.

I'm not kidding. I would seriously consider becoming a graduate gemologist as an alternate career path. So serious, in fact, that I've familiarized myself with the requirements for earning the appropriate certifications.

Unfortunately, gem connisseurship is an expensive and exclusive habit. Once again, my champagne tastes and my Mac-and-Cheese budget are in stark opposition. But that doesn't stop me from looking, now, does it?

Predictably, I was immediately attracted to two of the rarest, most expensive gems on the market - Alexandrite and Tanzanite. Both are relatively recent discoveries.

Alexandrite was discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 1834 and is named after the czar Alexander II. It is notable in that it changes color based on the type of light it is exposed to. In daylight, it is green, but in incandescent light, it turns red or purplish-red. Excellent Alexandrites are "emeralds by day, rubies by night"! That picture at the top is of ONE Alexandrite, under different lighting conditions. Of course, I desperately want one. I could buy a car for the cost of an "okay" unset Alexandrite under 2 carats.

Tanzanite, named after its country of origin, Tanzania, was discovered only in 1967. It's amazing color could be described as a rich, deep sapphire blue with an incandescent purple cast. Really, you should just go look at it - it's incredible. It's also incredibly expensive.

I'm just completely amazed that this stuff comes out of the ground. I can't quite get my brain around that.