Predicting or exporting product URLs with variants

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We're generating a set of products offline, with a standard set of half a dozen variant SKUs. Each variant SKU is a combination of several variant options (size+colour).

When we upload them, we can predict the URL to the product page, based on the handle that we generated. If the shopper selects the various options using the drop-down menus, the URL in the browser address bar changes to show a "variant" parameter, e.g. "?variant=12345". But this variant parameter doesn't seem to bear any relationship to the variant SKU - in fact it seems to be unique to each combination of product+options.

In some circumstances we want to able to link directly to a particular variant of a product. As I said, we can predict the URL to the basic version of the product page; but how can we predict the URL to a particular variant?

Or if we can't calculate this, I hoped that we could export the products to get the list of the variant parameters for each product. But when I do this, I just get back the variant SKUs we fed in; not Shopify's variant ids.

Is there any way to either predict the variant parameter; or to export the products with their variant parameters?

thanks in advance,