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Some major recent developments in alexandrite laser research are reviewed. Emphasis is placed on key material characteristics, and their relationship to laser performance. Alexandrite's favorable thermomechanical properties and high capacity for energy storage have led to laser performance levels that, in certain areas, exceed those of established solid-state laser sources. Here we review performance achievements for a variety of pulsed and CW laser configurations including single-mode, multimode, and mode-locked resonators, high-power amplifiers, and zig-zag slabs. In these configurations, operating performance levels have been demonstrated that are comparable to those of older, more familiar solid-state laser technologies. Alexandrite's broad tunability offers additional advantages. Together with nonlinear frequency conversion processes, alexandrite lasers provide high-brightness output over most of the UV, visible, and near IR.