Sunday, December 30, 2012

An alexandrite engagement ring Q&A

David Wein Alexandrite Jewelry Making
David Wein Alexandrite Jewelry Making

Peter:  Alexandrite, is it a good stone for an engagement ring?

Lora:  Natural alexandrite is extremely rare, valuable, collectable and an exciting gemstone with a rich heritage and an exotic feature of changing colour. It also represents the birthstone for June.  Alexandrite is a remarkable gemstone featuring all the qualities needed for a perfect engagement or wedding ring: rarity, beauty, durability and history.

I cannot imagine any other stone in my engagement ring. It is the only gem, which has a real nobility and exclusivity feel to it, regardless of the quality (you need to spend a fortune on a top range sapphire or diamond to have this feel).

Peter:  How expensive is the real alexandrite?

Lora:  It is very important to note, that alexandrite value is based on it's quality and size. It means that a mediocre alexandrite can easily sell for less than a fine diamond or sapphire of the same size. Poor quality alexandrite may be found for as little as $300.00 a carat, but decent quality alexandrites, with strong colour change, under 1 carat size  fetch between $3.000 to $15.000 per carat.

Most alexandrite gemstones used for engagementr rings are under one carat, and it is safe to budget $1.500  to $6.000 for an 18K gold engagement ring, with  0.3-0.6cts alexandrite in the center and some diamonds around it.

Peter:  How to buy  alexandrite engagement ring?

Lora: Try  to see a real stone in person at a high-street jeweller first before committing to it, because the colour change feature is very delicate and most people or first time buyers expect too much. However, if the colour change strength is not your main requirement, and you understand that the stone will look greenish in the daylight and purplish in the candlelight, you are ok.  Only a very rare and astronomically expensive stone will be green or red without a spotlight.

Also make sure, that you buy your alexandrite ring from a reputable jeweler. You should always ask for the stone certificate as well as receipt of payment. Stone certificate may cost you little more money but it will provide you a  peace of mind knowing that you are getting  genuine natural alexandrite.

Peter:  Where to buy  alexandrite engagement ring?

Lora: Although it would be next to impossible to find a natural alexandrite piece of  jewelry in your average jewelry shop in the UK or USA,  there are  few safe options:

You can buy  loose alexandrite gemstone from a  gem dealer and ask your jeweller to set it for you or  you can buy or order a bespoke alexandrite jewellery piece from a jewellery brand specialising in it: Mark Henry or David Wein

Peter:  What about Chatham, Verneuil  or Cultured alexandrite?

Lora:  Some antique, estate and vintage jewelry sellers, as well as eBay, Amazon and other online sellers are misleading their customers on purpose or by ignorance  by using the "Verneuil", "Chatham" or "Cultured" designation to describe synthetic alexandrite or synthetic corundum laced with vanadium.

Use of the "Verneuil Alexandrite", "Chatham Alexandrite" or "Cultured Alexandrite" term in the context of a description for sales without including the "lab created" or "synthetic" prefix, is incorrect and deliberately misleading. These stones will show a range of color changes and are usually very clean and available in large sizes but they are synthetic and their resale value is zero.
Synthetic alexandrite may cost up to  $100.00 per carat on a retail level, but it has no resale, investment or emotional value.

And most synthetic alexandrite is not even lab created alexandrites, but synthetic corundum laced with vanadium. True synthetic alexandrite is actually a rarity because it is much easier to create synthetic corundum and synthetic spinel with color change properties that look like alexandrite.

Personally, I would never accept an engagement ring with a synthetic stone in it. Call me prude, but if the stone is fake, so is the proposal and the whole thing is a sham. If money is an issue, there are many alternatives with lower quality, but natural coloured gemstones or diamonds.

David Wein Alexandrite Ring
David Wein  Alexandrite Ring "Valeria"


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