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Need feedback on natural 1.31 ct Alexandrite!

Gemstonesrock

Shiny_Rock
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My trusty PSers (esp @LD @the_mother_thing @chrono @lovedogs @Bron357 @Voodoo Child @LilAlex ):

Help me with honest feedback on this 1.31 ct natural, unheated Alexandrite I have just put on hold. A reputable local jeweler in the Bay Area (Joe Escobar Diamonds in California's Silicon Valley) showed me this stone in person. I have loved Alexandrite since learning about it 20 years ago and have recently been on the hunt to mark a significant birthday next year. The Alex does not currently have a certificate so I assume it would be prudent to pay for a GIA certificate? I am guessing it's from India based on its main color. Honestly I do not care what country the Alex is from, but it needs to be natural and unheated. Dimensions are 7.85mm x 5.42mm x 3.33mm.

I was very pleased when I saw the Alex in person and am leaning towards pulling the trigger, but I really want your honest feedback as I don't want to have any regrets- I am planning to buy only one Alexandrite. I love the main daylight color- it's a stunning bluish green and not dark. No brown or grey tones. It is spread-y for its carat weight. A lot of other Alexandrites are on the deep side to retain color and look small for the carat weight. I saw a 3ct Alex side by side with this one and it sadly did not appear much bigger due its being cut so deep. I also appreciate that this stone is eye clean and not overly included. (You can see the inclusions in the high magnification photos I'm attaching.)

In my mind, I wanted a nice color change across the whole stone where you see a noticeable change from the main color. I feel satisfied with a medium bluish green color shifting to a light purple-red or light purple color as long as it's across the whole stone. But am I being naiive? Is an Alex only valuable if the color change is to a deeper purple-red or deeper purple color? The final photo shows the Alexandrite's color change to light purple-red in mixed lighting. That photo shows the color change only on the sides because the stone is not under full incandescent lighting. In person, the jeweler showed me the stone under an incandescent penlight and I saw the whole stone change to the light purple-red color. I have asked them for a photo under full incandescent light to confirm what I saw and will update this thread when I get that. Assuming that the color change is across the whole stone, what do you think? This 1.31 Alex appears quite fairly priced at $5,500 given my research on Multicolor and Pala Gems- see links at bottom for reference stones on their site. My budget was $6,000. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP! I have a couple of days to decide with my hold, and there is another interested party.

Other reference stones
1) Multicolor 1.75 ct Alex $8,750 (strong color change to light purple-red, a little larger stone, significantly higher price): https://www.multicolour.com/detail/?74696058

2) Multicolor .71 ct Alex $5,650 (strong color change to medium purple-red, much smaller stone, similar price): https://www.multicolour.com/detail/?-1659355419

3) Pala Gems 1.26 Alex $9,450 (awaiting info on color change, equivalent size stone, significantly higher price): 3) https://palagems.myshopify.com/collections/alexandrite/products/22706


PHOTOS OF 1.31 CT ALEXANDRITE

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IMG_6620.jpg
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alexanderite-1.JPG
 
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Hello there! The price sounds great... I do like the color in daylight. You mentioned that the color change is more pronounced and evenly distributed under full incandescent in person, so that's good. The only thing that irks me is the window (folks must be so tired of hearing PSers talk about windows and modifiers... lol). But everyone has a different tolerance for cut quality, etc. And the more rare the gem, the more we have to compromise with those things. I do love the cushion shape though.
 

Voodoo Child

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I think it’s a beautiful looking stone, especially in the daylight. What matters most though is what YOU think. To be honest, while the color change is cool, there isn’t a lot of incandescent light these days, so the opportunities to show off a strong color change are rare. Remember, most people have never heard of Alexandrite and don’t know about it’s color changing properties. 99.9% of people will look at that stone and say it’s beautiful. Don’t get caught up in searching for a “perfect” stone that goes from green to red, is eye clean, and was personally owned by the Romanovs. Enjoy the fact that you own a rare piece of nature! I would strongly encourage you to predicate any sale on the stone being sent to GIA or AGL and receiving a good report. Best of luck to you!
 

lovedogs

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I'm guessing the lower price is because it's less red and more purple than the MC options (at least thats what it looks like to me). Joe Escobar is very reputable, but I would make purchase contingent on results from GIA matching what they say.

I think if you love it, then go for it! But make sure you csn get a full refund if it comes back from GIA as heated/enhanced, etc, as that should change the asking price
 

Bron357

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Looks lovely.
Always get a lab report.
Unfortunately there is man made material that is extremely close to natural so you really need a report to be 100% sure.
 

chrono

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Outdoor colour is beautiful. Would love to be able to see it under full incandescent but the mixed lighting colour is better than most Alexandrites I've seen. Not too murky / muddy in colouration. I would spring for a simple AGL brief (less expensive than GIA).

As for the cut, it looks like a shallow stone so I see a tilt window but not a true window. I'm ok with that since it's not that bad and the colour is too good to pass up based on that alone.
 

Gemstonesrock

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Updating with a photo of the 1.31 Alex under incandescent light in a darkened room- not a great photo unfortunately. In my original post you can see in the last photo under mixed lighting that the color change exhibited by the stone Alex is light red-purple when viewed in person. I did not see brown.

At least in this photo you can see there is color change across the whole stone. Joe Escobar Diamonds said they had great difficulty capturing the color change accurately. They do not specialize in selling Alexandrites by any means so I am guessing they are not expert in taking color change photos and don't have a special lightbox with standardized lights set up for this. I've asked the jeweler to try to take another photo. Does this affect your thoughts on the stone? Screen Shot 2022-06-24 at 1.30.30 PM.png
 
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Gemstonesrock

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I think it’s a beautiful looking stone, especially in the daylight. What matters most though is what YOU think. To be honest, while the color change is cool, there isn’t a lot of incandescent light these days, so the opportunities to show off a strong color change are rare. Remember, most people have never heard of Alexandrite and don’t know about it’s color changing properties. 99.9% of people will look at that stone and say it’s beautiful. Don’t get caught up in searching for a “perfect” stone that goes from green to red, is eye clean, and was personally owned by the Romanovs. Enjoy the fact that you own a rare piece of nature! I would strongly encourage you to predicate any sale on the stone being sent to GIA or AGL and receiving a good report. Best of luck to you!

@Voodoo Child I had been thinking the same thing about the opportunities to see the color change being rare. I think the most important factor is loving the daylight main color. Do you think an AGL brief is enough or if it's important to go for the full report?
 

Gemstonesrock

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I'm guessing the lower price is because it's less red and more purple than the MC options (at least thats what it looks like to me). Joe Escobar is very reputable, but I would make purchase contingent on results from GIA matching what they say.

I think if you love it, then go for it! But make sure you csn get a full refund if it comes back from GIA as heated/enhanced, etc, as that should change the asking price

I think you are right that the fair price is due to the color change. I actually think it's because the color change is not as intense as it could be. I am okay with the color change being to a light red purple but color change needs to be across whole stone. I like your advice on making purchase contingent on a GIA or AGL report verifying dimensions, carat weight, and that stone is unheated and natural.
 

Gemstonesrock

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Outdoor colour is beautiful. Would love to be able to see it under full incandescent but the mixed lighting colour is better than most Alexandrites I've seen. Not too murky / muddy in colouration. I would spring for a simple AGL brief (less expensive than GIA).

As for the cut, it looks like a shallow stone so I see a tilt window but not a true window. I'm ok with that since it's not that bad and the colour is too good to pass up based on that alone.

Thanks! Yes the outdoor color is really quite lovely. I think you are right that it is a tilt window because of the stone being shallower. Do you think the AGL brief is sufficient and don't need that fuller report?
 

minousbijoux

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It makes sense to get a full AGL report also because they will provide the very important metric for alexandrites, which is the percent color change. If possible, you want a stone that has a strong change in its colorways (with both colors being colors you like with strong saturation), and a total - 100% - color change. If the stone has the colorways you describe and 100% of the stone changes color, I'd say it's an excellent buy at that price.
 

Gemstonesrock

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It makes sense to get a full AGL report also because they will provide the very important metric for alexandrites, which is the percent color change. If possible, you want a stone that has a strong change in its colorways (with both colors being colors you like with strong saturation), and a total - 100% - color change. If the stone has the colorways you describe and 100% of the stone changes color, I'd say it's an excellent buy at that price.

Thank you- I appreciate the guidance!
 

LilAlex

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Alex owner -- hence the handle. I bought mine for the outstanding (= cool) color change but I don't think that was the best idea. In retrospect, I would rather have one that is beautiful in daylight, even at the expense of a more modest/sub-total ( << 100% distribution) color change. I like yours. Mine is cooler :cool2:; yours is prettier, more wearable, and better suited to jewelry, imo. The incandescent color for yours is not super-attractive, imo, but it is unmistakably alex-like. Consider that it will almost never see that kind of light anyway. (I think our home is down to its last few "Edison-style" light bulbs.) Also, yours is a good size, ct-wise, and fairly spread as you point out. I say go for it.
 

chrono

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I am the odd one out who would be satisfied with a simple AGL brief. I can see the colour change myself and getting more information would be a fun bonus (origin, colour change %, colour quality) and would not impact my decision to purchase other than knowing it is real and untreated.
 
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Alex owner -- hence the handle. I bought mine for the outstanding (= cool) color change but I don't think that was the best idea. In retrospect, I would rather have one that is beautiful in daylight, even at the expense of a more modest/sub-total ( << 100% distribution) color change. I like yours. Mine is cooler :cool2:; yours is prettier, more wearable, and better suited to jewelry, imo. The incandescent color for yours is not super-attractive, imo, but it is unmistakably alex-like. Consider that it will almost never see that kind of light anyway. (I think our home is down to its last few "Edison-style" light bulbs.) Also, yours is a good size, ct-wise, and fairly spread as you point out. I say go for it.

ITA with this ^. I'm in the vast minority of collectors who are not a big fan of alexandrite. I've tried to love it over the years, especially since it's my birthstone. But my issue is that, though a stone may have 100% color change, which is no doubt a wonder of nature, it is oftentimes an unremarkable color in both daylight and incandescent light. So, like you said, if hunting for an alex, I would be most concerned with the properties it demonstrates in daylight. Is it an actual color you find pleasing and would want to own? The color change would be secondary for me. But for the prices this gem commands, I would need to be fully satisfied with the stone. I also understand why others collect it mostly for the cool phenomena. Anyway, my two beans.
 

T L

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ITA with this ^. I'm in the vast minority of collectors who are not a big fan of alexandrite. I've tried to love it over the years, especially since it's my birthstone. But my issue is that, though a stone may have 100% color change, which is no doubt a wonder of nature, it is oftentimes an unremarkable color in both daylight and incandescent light. So, like you said, if hunting for an alex, I would be most concerned with the properties it demonstrates in daylight. Is it an actual color you find pleasing and would want to own? The color change would be secondary for me. But for the prices this gem commands, I would need to be fully satisfied with the stone. I also understand why others collect it mostly for the cool phenomena. Anyway, my two beans.

There are alexandrite that exhibit beautiful color change both ways, and with no special lighting, but they are rare and extremely expensive. @LD has a video where she walked in and out of daylight with her Alex, and the color change was clearly evident and attractive. The problem with alexandrite is that you have to spend a literal fortune to get such a stone, and mediocre gems, are super pricey as a result. Also, in mixed lighting, they can look muddy.
 
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There are alexandrite that exhibit beautiful color change both ways, and with no special lighting, but they are rare and extremely expensive. @LD has a video where she walked in and out of daylight with her Alex, and the color change was clearly evident and attractive. The problem with alexandrite is that you have to spend a literal fortune to get such a stone, and mediocre gems, are super pricey as a result. Also, in mixed lighting, they can look muddy.

Well said! And now I have to check out LD's stone!!
 

Voodoo Child

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@Voodoo Child I had been thinking the same thing about the opportunities to see the color change being rare. I think the most important factor is loving the daylight main color. Do you think an AGL brief is enough or if it's important to go for the full report?

AGL is the gold standard for colored stones, however, I felt perfectly comfortable buying my wife’s stone with a GIA report. I’m not knocking people who choose AGL, but I really don’t care about percent of color change. To me, that’s just adding another number for people to obsess over and potentially feel insecure about. My wife’s stone is perfectly imperfect, and we’re both ok with that.
 

marymm

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OP, are you often outdoors? When outdoors, would you be wearing this Alexandrite ring? At 8.5 mohs it is relatively hard, but if you're outdoors hiking or gardening or playing tennis, you'd likely not wear the ring ...

Incandescent lighting is almost obsolete these days -- what is the lighting environment in your home (and workplace if applicable)? How does the Alex look under LED / CFL / halogen / spotlights?

FWIW, in my opinion, I think the outdoor color is pleasant but not outstanding, the color in incandescent light is irrelevant, the window does detract from the stone's impact but would not stop me from buying if I loved the stone otherwise, and I would want to confirm for myself that the inclusions are not readily visible (my standard is more stringent than most: nothing visible 6" away top and sides).

If I were to buy an Alex, I would spring for the full AGL -- the color change phenomenon is the major draw for an Alex and I would want that documented for my own knowledge and records.

If you are drawn to the stone, perhaps you could purchase it and inspect it at home in the various environments so you can see how it performs and its colors. Hopefully you have (or Joe Escobar may provide) a temp ring holder so you can get a sense of it on your finger. If you like it, confirm with Joe Escobar you would like to keep it pending the GIA/AGL report confirming it is natural and untreated. Make sure it is written down that Joe Escobar will refund you in full should the report indicate it is not earth-mined and/or is treated in any way.
 

Gemstonesrock

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts everyone! The Alexandrite has just been sent off by the jeweler to AGL for the Prestige Origin report which will most likely confirm that it is natural and untreated. The report will also describe country of origin, the main stone color, the incandescent color, the degree of color change and the quality of color change. Since I very much enjoy the stone's main daylight color and am happy with the color change I have seen, I think I will be quite happy to keep this stone if it is indeed verified as natural and untreated.
 

Gemstonesrock

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**UPDATE**

Hi everyone (@LD @the_mother_thing @chrono @lovedogs @Bron357 @Voodoo Child @LilAlex @kenny @Autumn in New England @marymm @minousbijoux @T L) , the Alex just returned from AGL in New York to Joe Escobar Diamonds. I asked for the AGL Prestige Origin Report (see attached). AGL confirmed the stone is natural and untreated and believes it is from Madagascar, not India as I had guessed.

Given that 1) I love the main daylight color, 2) the stone is spread-y for its carat weight, and 3) AGL states that the color change is "Prominent to Strong (80-90%)" and the quality of color change as "Very Good," I am very pleased and will proceed with purchase. I feel the $5,500 price is quite reasonable given all these factors. While a 100% color change is ideal, I am sure that the price would have been double based on what I've seen in my stone search. I was not willing to go there. My goal was to acquire an attractive natural, unheated Alex with pleasing colors and very good color change. This stone meets those criteria and as a bonus, comes right under budget.

AGL obviously follows a set standard for Alexandrite colors. It's interesting that the report says the Alex's color under fluorescent lighting is "green" and that under incandescent lighting it is "brownish pink" (no mention of purple). My eyes definitely register bluish green to light purplish-red. In the end, I am not bothered by the color notes. I suppose what is important is that I am happy with the colors that I see in real life.

Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your thoughts and advice. I don't know what I'd do without you. I will work on designing the ring later this winter after my post-elopement wedding reception and honeymoon in October. Of course I will post in PS about that journey!
 

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minousbijoux

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Well done! I think you could not do better for that price. For an 80-90 percent color change with two colorways that are clearly quite different from one another, that is cut well, and free of significant inclusions, I honestly would expect a much higher price. I think it is a beautiful stone and I'll stop gushing now!
 

LilAlex

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Given that 1) I love the main daylight color, 2) the stone is spread-y for its carat weight, and 3) AGL states that the color change is "Prominent to Strong (80-90%)" and the quality of color change as "Very Good," I am very pleased and will proceed with purchase. I feel the $5,500 price is quite reasonable given all these factors.

Hard to argue with this reasoning! I agree the price seems fair. Congrats and enjoy!
 
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