В этой книге — научно-популярном издании о самом русском и самом редком драгоценном камне александрите — вы узнаете о его свойствах, истории открытия, мифах и легендах, с ним связанных. Излагаются сведения об истории уникального природного объекта — Изумрудных копей Урала. В связи с легендами об этом самоцвете приводятся факты из биографии императора Александра II, в честь которого он был назван. Для широкого круга любителей камня, геологов-камнесамоцветчиков, геммологов и ювелиров. This book devoted to the only stone, the rarest, the most beautiful and enigmatic alexandrite, probably the most Russian of all the precious stones, is rather unusual. Even from its name one can judge the volume of the information discussed in this work. Along with practical data, collected so completely probably for the first time and designed for geologists engaged in precious stones, gemologists and jewelers, the book includes vast sections devoted to issues, which are associated with alexandrite only marginally. First of all, this is the chapter devoted to the geological structure, difficult history of the opening and development of the world-known Uralian Emerald Mines, where this rare precious stone was found for the first time. The authors describe in details, using a lot of rare archive documents, a really detective enigma associated with thefts of unique emeralds during first years of production activities, which never leaved in peace many researchers. Besides, they recount about the so-called «khitniks», illegal miners of this stone — Uralian analogs of Columbian «vakero» and «esmeraldero», which are also known in the history of the Uralian Emerald Mines, starting from the first day of their discovery and ending with the present-day criminal chronicles and reports of the Federal Security Service of Russia. Also in the book a reader will find legends and traditions about extraordinary «magic» and «treatment-and-prophylactic» properties assigned to alexandrite and its use as a «talisman» or a «fortunate» stone as well as critical analysis of this information and the influence of real properties of this mineral on the appearance of the legends. In Russia the attitude to the alexandrite is somewhat negative, because it is believed to be a stone of «sorrow and solitude» and a «widows’» stone. The book describes the sources of such attitude and narrates about the contradictoriness of home and foreign policy and the tragic fate of the «godson» of alexandrite — a great tsar-reformer Alexander II, called the Liberator, because it was Alexander II who opened a new page in the history of the Russian State, emancipating serfs from long-term slavery. Information is given on «hunting» for him of radical-socialists, unexampled in the world history, which ended in the death of the emperor as a result of an attempt. It was just this time, when Russia turned off the way of social-economic reforms and became to sink into a long-term bloody abyss of distempers and revolutions. Brief analysis of motives and associations bound with this stone in works both of classics of Russian literature and poetry, and present-day authors is given in an original section devoted to mentioning of alexandrite in literature and art. Including a vast volume of concomitant information, the authors made it their aim to make the book very useful and interesting not only for specialists, but also for stone-lovers and just for inquisitive readers. Specialists reading with interest relevant sections will be able to see various aspects of this unusual precious stone, and for jewelers probably the book will be useful as a food for inspiration and a ground for creating new even more beautiful jewelry… And an untrained reader, reading sections devoted to geology, mineralogy and jeweler’s art, using a small explanatory dictionary of special terms given in the book, will enlarge and enrich essentially his mind. The authors, completing their work, hope that the glory of Russian alexandrite, which is rightfully considered as the best in the world is yet to come.