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  • Photo courtesy: International Colored Gemstone Association

Synthetic Alexandrite Pioneer David Patterson Dies at 89


According to a notice of the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA), David Patterson, a longtime gemstone expert, passed away on 8 April at the age of 89. 


Despite receiving his degree in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University, he could not stop his passion for gemstones. He began to build his own faceting machine and learn the knowledge of gemstones. After gaining the technical know-how of making alexandrite, he founded Creative Crystal in 1970 which introduced its lab-grown alexandrite to the market at the 1972 AGS convention in New Orleans. Patterson was considered as the pioneer of synthetic alexandrite since Creative Crystal was the first company to produce the man-made gemstone. 


In 1975, he started to run hismanufacturing and wholesaling business by setting up Geminex Corp which was however sold to a limited partnership in 1979. Patterson confessed it was pretty difficult to find new market in an interviewed in 2012. “After a few years of selling synthetic alexandrite, we still found some resistance to the product by the retail jeweler,” he said. It was because emeralds and rubies were commonly known to others whereas “at that time alexandrites were rare and appealed to fewer people than the more well-known gems.”  




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