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Advice: stone for engagement ring

luxroman

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My boyfriend and I are in the process of commissioning a custom-made solitaire engagement ring. We are considering a 5.5mm round shape Alexandrite (0.7/8 carats). Would this be a reasonable size stone for an engagement ring? To be honest we cannot really afford to spend a lot more for it to be bigger (with a fair colour change!), and we are quite excited about the idea of getting an Alexandrite, but we don't want to buy something that will end up disappointing us either... If this is too small of a size, we might as well consider another stone. Do you have any recommendations regarding the size, or even other stones that you believe are interesting? We're also hoping the setting will enhance the stone as much as possible and are putting some more emphasis on getting some beautiful artwork to end up with a nice piece. We thought others' opinions and insights could be very useful before proceeding with our plan!

Many thanks,
Lux
 

Niel

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What is your budget?

Yes I think a 5.5 stone can be lovely
 

theredspinel

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I've got tiny fingers (size 4 ring finger) so a 5mm looks a decent size on me. You've always got the option of adding a diamond (or other stone) halo or double halo even to have an overall larger appreance.
 

luxroman

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We're looking at 900$ for the stone and 700$ for the setting. We've already busted our budget!

Also might be good to note, I do have quite small hands, the ring would be a size 5. So in general we are still looking for something delicate and not very big, with no diamonds though and preferable one stone only.
 

Niel

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luxroman|1451928506|3970455 said:
We're looking at 900$ for the stone and 700$ for the setting. We've already busted our budget!

Also might be good to note, I do have quite small hands, the ring would be a size 5. So in general we are still looking for something delicate and not very big, with no diamonds though and preferable one stone only.

Can I see the alexandrite you got for 1k? Those stones can be very expensive
 

luxroman

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We don't have it yet. Sally from Heart of Water is looking for one for us, but that's the estimated price she gave us (we started another thread previously to make sure she's a reliable seller, and got excellent feedback, so we've decided to trust her!).
 

Acinom

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It's great that you are working with Sally. Beautiful Alexandrites are difficult to find and come with a good pricetag. Perhaps you could consider sapphires as well. I am sure Sally can source these as well.
 

luxroman

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Chrono|1451929121|3970462 said:
Quality alexandrite is very expensive.
http://www.multicolour.com/detail/?330237445

Yes, we're aware. We know we won't have the best quality, but we thought as long as the colours are saturated enough so there's no yellow at all and the colour change is visible, that's ok.
 

chrono

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There are many ways to evaluate the quality and your mentioning of yellow is confusing. Alexandrite is green to red, so I don't know where yellow comes in. There is the "base" colours of green (with a touch of blue) and red (usually more purplish), and how strongly and completely the colours change (strong vs weak). Then there's also the mixed lighting colour to consider; most alexandrites just look muddy (some weird indescribable colour). Alexandrite is a stone that I would recommend seeing in person before buying. Many have ended up feeling very uninspired by its looks, given how expensive those little things cost.
 

Niel

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luxroman|1451930149|3970468 said:
Chrono|1451929121|3970462 said:
Quality alexandrite is very expensive.
http://www.multicolour.com/detail/?330237445

Yes, we're aware. We know we won't have the best quality, but we thought as long as the colours are saturated enough so there's no yellow at all and the colour change is visible, that's ok.


Is it something meaningful? The alexandrite?

I just worry if its not the best, it may not be aesthetically pleasing. And a ring should be equally meaningful AND attractive kwim? It is first and foremost a bauble
 

luxroman

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Our original plan was to buy the following stone: http://www.multicolour.com/detail/?1515408907
However, we realized the colours are too weak, and that the mixed light colour is too yellowish. Sally suggested she could find a more saturated piece with good color change (and that it would cost around 900$). Do you think it might not be good enough? The deal we have with her is that she'll take many pictures and wait for our approval before she makes the purchase. We tried to see some in person, but they seem almost non-existent where we are (Montreal, Canada)!

We wanted an alexandrite because it's the stone from the month we met (June). The other one is pearl, not hard enough for an engagement ring. Our other option was aquamarine because it's a stone that has a certain symbolism in my family, but it's less hard and we ended up preferring something new and unique for us both. If alexandrite turns out to be not such a good idea, we might as well consider a sapphire (blue is my favourite colour after all!)

Thank you all for your good advice!
 

Niel

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luxroman|1451931861|3970481 said:
Our original plan was to buy the following stone: http://www.multicolour.com/detail/?1515408907
However, we realized the colours are too weak, and that the mixed light colour is too yellowish. Sally suggested she could find a more saturated piece with good color change (and that it would cost around 900$). Do you think it might not be good enough? The deal we have with her is that she'll take many pictures and wait for our approval before she makes the purchase. We tried to see some in person, but they seem almost non-existent where we are (Montreal, Canada)!

We wanted an alexandrite because it's the stone from the month we met (June). The other one is pearl, not hard enough for an engagement ring. Our other option was aquamarine because it's a stone that has a certain symbolism in my family, but it's less hard and we ended up preferring something new and unique for us both. If alexandrite turns out to be not such a good idea, we might as well consider a sapphire (blue is my favourite colour after all!)

Thank you all for your good advice!


I feel bad because my goal is not to discourage you. If you're happy with a moderate alexandrite/ color shift chrysoberyl that's of course what you should get. But when you look at your hand, do you want to like what it looks like or like the symbolism (obviously both is best but of that cannot be achieved)


And plus, after he proposes, whatever the stone is will then be given a special meaning. In other words say you got a spinel or a regular chrysoberyl... Once he proposes, then its special becuase its your engagement stone!
You can also consider having something special engraved on the inside. :)

It's really just meant to be something to think about. 1k is a lot for a stone that I fear may not live up to your expectations
 

chrono

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Niel|1451932432|3970482 said:
I feel bad because my goal is not to discourage you. If you're happy with a moderate alexandrite/ color shift chrysoberyl that's of course what you should get. But when you look at your hand, do you want to like what it looks like or like the symbolism (obviously both is best but of that cannot be achieved)

And plus, after he proposes, whatever the stone is will then be given a special meaning. In other words say you got a spinel or a regular chrysoberyl... Once he proposes, then its special becuase its your engagement stone!
You can also consider having something special engraved on the inside. :)

It's really just meant to be something to think about. 1k is a lot for a stone that I fear may not live up to your expectations

Well said, Niel. I had trouble trying to write the same thing.
 

lovedogs

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luxroman|1451931861|3970481 said:
Our original plan was to buy the following stone: http://www.multicolour.com/detail/?1515408907
However, we realized the colours are too weak, and that the mixed light colour is too yellowish. Sally suggested she could find a more saturated piece with good color change (and that it would cost around 900$). Do you think it might not be good enough? The deal we have with her is that she'll take many pictures and wait for our approval before she makes the purchase. We tried to see some in person, but they seem almost non-existent where we are (Montreal, Canada)!

We wanted an alexandrite because it's the stone from the month we met (June). The other one is pearl, not hard enough for an engagement ring. Our other option was aquamarine because it's a stone that has a certain symbolism in my family, but it's less hard and we ended up preferring something new and unique for us both. If alexandrite turns out to be not such a good idea, we might as well consider a sapphire (blue is my favourite colour after all!)

Thank you all for your good advice!

I think maybe you could do a "surprise" alexandrite inside the engagement band itself like this: Hidden_birthstones.jpg


The other option (although I don't want to discourage you from working with Sally since I love her!) might be to look at DavidWein.com (the owner of multicolor if I understand correctly). He has a jewelry website with lots of alexandrite ring options. Here are a few:


1) detail_JW_033_00567_1000x1000_DF.jpg detail_JW_033_00567_1000x1000_DT.jpg


2) detail_JW_033_00580_1000x1000_DF.jpg detail_JW_033_00580_1000x1000_DT.jpg


3) detail_JW_033_00565_1000x1000_DF.jpg detail_JW_033_00565_1000x1000_DT.jpg

4 (the stone is a bit small IMHO, but you could ask about the price of a larger center stone: detail_JW_033_00516_1000x1000_DF.jpg detail_JW_033_00516_1000x1000_DT.jpg



Yet another option would be to have an alexandrite wedding band like some of these (from the same aforementioned website):

1) detail_JW_033_00465_1000x1000_DF.jpg detail_JW_033_00465_1000x1000_DT.jpg

2) detail_JW_033_00387_1000x1000_DF.jpg detail_JW_033_00387_1000x1000_DT.jpg
 

luxroman

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We really appreciate your advice and your efforts in putting it as nicely! Niel, you gave us good food for thought. We are also afraid we'll end up disappointed, and 1k is a lot of money for us, you're right. Thank you also Lovedogs for that last idea and reference. We're now thinking we might as well concentrate on spending in the art of the setting as opposed to the stone. Before we give up, though, Sally showed us this ring she made with a natural alexandrite she purchased as a commision https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1020182676.. The colours do seem very nice. Is is possible Sally might have better prices, as she buys from wholesale gem suppliers and she is based in Asia? Again, we don't know that much about gemstones and have never seen an alexandrite in person...

If we decide to go with another stone, would you recommend an aquamarine or a sapphire (or another blue stone)? We like the light blue colour of aquamarine, but we're aware sapphire is more solid so probably better for an engagement ring. Lastly, would you recommend us to purchase the stone from multicolour.com or to let Sally find it for us (second option is of course easier and probably cheaper)?
 

Niel

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luxroman|1451934769|3970517 said:
We really appreciate your advice and your efforts in putting it as nicely! Niel, you gave us good food for thought. We are also afraid we'll end up disappointed, and 1k is a lot of money for us, you're right. Thank you also Lovedogs for that last idea and reference. We're now thinking we might as well concentrate on spending in the art of the setting as opposed to the stone. Before we give up, though, Sally showed us this ring she made with a natural alexandrite she purchased as a commision https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1020182676...... The colours do seem very nice. Is is possible Sally might have better prices, as she buys from wholesale gem suppliers and she is based in Asia? Again, we don't know that much about gemstones and have never seen an alexandrite in person...

If we decide to go with another stone, would you recommend an aquamarine or a sapphire (or another blue stone)? We like the light blue colour of aquamarine, but we're aware sapphire is more solid so probably better for an engagement ring. Lastly, would you recommend us to purchase the stone from multicolour.com or to let Sally find it for us (second option is of course easier and probably cheaper)?

What's hard is that alexandrite are SO HARD TO photography .

I have a fake one I got for free from somewhere... Anyways, I've tried to take a picture before. Clearly green on my hand and in the picture, purple!
I does look fair in her photos, and I'd never say she's trying to pull one over on anyone, but I can't say that stone looks like that irl, just becuase they're so crafty!

I'd get a light blue sapphire if you're after light blue. Those can be found definitely in your budget and I think make a lovely e ring stone.

May I ask,you said you only want one stone, what setting ideas where you thinking?

Is this the blue you're after?

29778.jpg

29774.jpg
 

luxroman

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We want a setting with beautiful cutwork, something like these:
img_7342.jpg
d79cb5_d57a17b3408c4c318117cbe38bba2c84.jpg
d79cb5_e30d1bc83af04e4abf6b14574e2f46c3.jpg

Or this one, but with a regular sized shank and much smaller stone:
d79cb5_034b6d24b3ae4383b04c6993b52dfaa5_0.jpg
d79cb5_50c16835e1fc412b9dcac16fdaaeeae5.jpg
 

luxroman

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Well we hadn't given much thought to any shade of blue, since we were all for the alexandrite until now... We love the colours that appear on the pictures of the ring by Sally, but we realize the logic and truth in your advice. It's very hard to decide!
But that light blue colour looks mesmerizing, yes, what stone is it?
 

chrono

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My guess is a Montana sapphire.
 

Niel

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luxroman|1451936622|3970552 said:
Well we hadn't given much thought to any shade of blue, since we were all for the alexandrite until now... We love the colours that appear on the pictures of the ring by Sally, but we realize the logic and truth in your advice. It's very hard to decide!
But that light blue colour looks mesmerizing, yes, what stone is it?
Some sapphires from mastercutgems
 

girlyglam

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I thought I'd chime in since I was in a similar situation and currently have an alexandrite e-ring that I love!

We were pretty set on alexandrite for the e-ring. It's my birthstone, and way back when FI and I first met, I mentioned that I had always wanted a natural alexandrite ring. I don't actually remember that, but FI did, and he was set on getting me that for my e-ring. I loved that he remembered and so loved how much he wanted to be thoughtful and give me a stone I always wanted and also give me something different as my e-ring (having a e-ring that was a bit different was always important to me), so I was totally on board! FI was working with a budget though - $2000 for the whole thing - and he has NO ideas about gems, jewelry, etc. I don't know much either, but I knew enough to know how expensive alex can be and how easy it can be to be duped into buying a synthetic. That's when I joined PS (and oops, kind of took over the whole ring project!).

I knew that with his budget, I would not be getting the most high quality, exclusive alex. That being said, I decided I wanted one with at least moderate color change with blue-green to purplish colorways. I also knew that I would not be getting the biggest alex out there. I love rounds, but for the sake of trying to get the most bang for the buck, I expanded my search to ovals as they generally face up bigger. I ended up with a .68ct oval alex (measures about 6.7mm x 4.2mm) with moderate color change from multicolour.com. I had contacted David for pictures on a few different stones before making the purchase, asked him which one had the best color change, and consulted here on PS about a few different stone options. I was a bit concerned as the stone was definitely included in the multicolour.com pictures. However, in person and the way the stone is set, I really can't tell. I believe we paid about $700-$800 for the stone.

We had it set in a diamond halo, custom made from Diamondzone for about another $800. After being on PS a bit longer, I realize that maybe Diamondzone shouldn't have been my first choice in making an e-ring setting (I've read some things on here about DZ setting being light compared to others and maybe not so suitable for everyday wear and tear), but I love the end result and honestly have no concerns about the quality or how it'll hold up. I've never really had "nice" jewelry before, and I literally gasped when I saw it in person. You can see one of the vendor shots in my profile picture.

As for the alex itself, I really feel like we lucked out. It has a beautiful bright green colorway in sunlight/daylight. I'll be honest - the purple colorway doesn't often come out fully, and when it does, it's a dark purple. I don't mind that though - I think the dark purple looks really pretty (but I know it's not considered necessarily desirable when speaking of quality alex). The stone does not have 100% color change so in most indoors/incandescent lights, instead of going fully purple, it's a mix of purple and green. And yes, sometimes in certain lights the purple/green mix isn't the most attractive. But, most of the time, the mix of purple and green actually makes the stone look teal, which I LOVE! It was an unexpected surprise, but one I'm very pleasantly pleased with. I admit that sometimes I do wish I had a stone that a stronger color change (I'd love the see the purple more often!), but for the price we paid, I really really feel like we got a great stone.

I've included a few pictures of my ring below. You can see a bit of the teal I'm talking about, and also the darkness I mention when it's leaning to purple. Honestly though, the pictures don't really fully encompass what it looks like in person. It also appears that I haven't yet been able to capture the beautiful daylight green, but I just realized that the green you see in my profile picture is pretty close. Anyway, I am also a size 5 ring size, and I'm pleased with the size of the stone on my finger. It's not a huge honker, but I feel like it has a good presence while also retaining the delicate, feminine look that I like. So, take this with a grain of salt because I'm not an expert by ANY means, but I feel like if you have your heart set on an alex ring and you're working on a budget, it's certainly possible, BUT you will need to have clear expectations and an understanding of what you're getting/looking for. And also, a bit of luck helps! :) (Honestly, I really feel like I was just lucky that my stone was available at the time that we were looking). You have to know that some things will need to be sacrificed, you have to know what you're willing to sacrifice, and you have to expect and be OK with not having a perfect alex. I gave up a preference for a round for an oval because I wanted to maximize finger coverage (in terms of size, I really wanted to meet at least 6mm in either length or width, though would have considered going down to 5.5mm for the right stone). I knew I couldn't get something with a strong color change, but I really wasn't willing to go below a moderate color change. And I knew I wanted a blue-green to purplish colorway. I was lucky enough to find a stone that encompassed all of those things within my budget. However, if I wasn't able to find a stone that met those, I wouldn't have gone for a lesser quality alex...I probably would have started to look at sapphires (maybe even color change sapphires!). I think sapphires are gorgeous!

This is such an exciting time, and I have no doubt you'll end up with a beautiful ring you love (whether it's an alex or not) Wishing you the very best of luck in the process!!!

img_1971_1.jpg
 

chrono

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Girlyglam,
Thank you for sharing your e-ring journey and pictures. It sounds like you did a thorough research and knew what you would be getting. You even sacrificed the round shape in order to increase your options, and found an alexandrite that you love. That's what PS is all about. Congrats on the engagement and lovely ring. :appl:
 

Niel

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What do you think of cat eye alexandrite?
 

girlyglam

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Chrono|1451953904|3970703 said:
Girlyglam,
Thank you for sharing your e-ring journey and pictures. It sounds like you did a thorough research and knew what you would be getting. You even sacrificed the round shape in order to increase your options, and found an alexandrite that you love. That's what PS is all about. Congrats on the engagement and lovely ring. :appl:

Thank you so much, Chrono! Sometimes I feel a bit shy posting it because I know my stone/ring are not the creme de la creme, but I love it all the same! And PS was such a HUGE help in my research and decision making process. It's because of PS that I could manage my expectations, decide what I could live with, and ultimately find something I love...I really am so grateful to the PS community! :clap:
 

luxroman

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Thank you Girlyglam for sharing your story with such detail!!! It helps to know of someone that was in a similar situation. And congrats on your ring, it is beautiful and unique! ;-)

It's a tough decision to make! I know I need to be flexible, but I must admit I wouldn't be able to give up the round shape (or only for a marquise in a east-west setting, and that would be even harder!) And cat eye alexandrite is not what we're looking for either. For the colour change though, I agree with you. I know we couldn't get the best and far from it, and I'm okay with that. I just want to make sure the colours are nice enough (no yellowish like on the one we were previously looking at on multicolour.com). There' s nothing appropriate on multicolour.com at the moment, but it is encouraging to know it's not irrealistic to find something fair for 1K.

So we're still trying to decide, wishing we could see the alex in person! We might discuss this further with Sally and let her know in advance that if we can't find the right alex we'll go with a light blue sapphire...

Again, thank you all!!! It is true PS is a HUGE help. I'm SO glad I stumbled here! :D
 
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